Question: I am currently vegetarian and am thinking of cutting my dairy intake and following a purely plant-based vegan diet. Can going vegan increase my chance of hair loss? My hair is thinning slightly at the temples which I believe is genetic but I wondered if I no longer eat things like eggs, will it make my hair loss worse?
Answer: Hi Sara. Veganism is a big health trend at the moment and, as you are vegetarian already, this should be a fairly easy transition for you diet-wise. However, you are right that by cutting out dairy products from your diet, you can end up lacking in certain nutrients which are necessary for healthy hair.
Not getting enough of certain vitamins and minerals can cause hair loss from a temporary condition called Telogen Effluvium. This leads to the hair shedding from all over the scalp, making it appear thinner, but generally lasts no longer than 12 months.
Despite being a temporary condition, it can, however, trigger or exacerbate Female Pattern Hair Loss in those with a genetic sensitivity. So, as you mention you may already be showing signs of this, it would be wise to take advice as to your specific condition from a hair loss specialist before making any changes to your diet.
The main area of concern with regards potential dietary deficiencies from a vegan diet which could impact your hair, is protein.
Protein is necessary for healthy hair as it keeps it strong and in good condition. It is formed from amino acids which most people get from meat or fish. Vegetarians can get these from dairy products but it is often thought that vegans may have trouble packing enough protein into their diet.
Though, historically, this may have been the case, there are now many plant-based protein-filled foods, as well as those which are specially enriched with added protein. Rich sources of vegan protein include quinoa, pulses, soy and tofu, but it can also be found in lesser amounts in dark green vegetables such as kale.
Whilst it is not a substitute for a balanced and varied diet, taking a dietary supplement can ensure your nutrients levels are kept topped up. Belgravia Hair Vitalics are suitable for vegetarians but do contain vitamin D3 which is derived from the wool of healthy, live sheep, so whether you want to take these depends on how strict a vegan you are. For instance, if you follow a plant-based diet, as opposed to being fully vegan, this is unlikely to be a concern.
Whilst this will can encourage the maintenance of normal healthy hair growth to help with the condition of your hair and its strength, thinning hair caused by androgenic alopecia cannot be cured through any hair vitamins or minerals. There are women’s hair loss treatments available which have produced significant regrowth results in many Belgravia clients and a specialist will be able to advise you as to the most effective course for your condition.
The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.