More evidence has been found that key minerals may play a part in Alopecia Areata, the autoimmune disorder that leads to sudden, patchy hair loss.
Analysing data from 10 previous studies in which 764 people had taken part researchers at the Yuhuangding Hospital in Yantai, China, found that levels of both zinc and selenium were lower in people with Alopecia Areata.
The levels had been ascertained by an analysis of patients’ serum a component of blood which also found there to be no aberration in levels of copper, iron, ferritin or magnesium. The Chinese team drew no concrete conclusions from their findings, but suggested that a deficiency of zinc and selenium may be associated with the susceptibility of Alopecia Areata. They are now recommending targeted studies to see if cases of Alopecia Areata may be improved by “correcting” zinc and selenium levels.
Zinc's role in Alopecia Areata
The part that a zinc deficiency may play in Alopecia Areata has certainly been highlighted before: in 2015 researchers at the Ain Shams University in Cairo discovered that people with the condition could see an increase in the severity of their baldness if they had low levels of serum zinc.
These findings weren’t exactly a shock to medical professionals as zinc is known to play a key role in hair production. All hair follicles need a supply of zinc to produce new hair shafts during the anagen (growth) phase of the hair growth cycle, and shedding is sometimes observed when levels of zinc are low.
However, low levels of zinc do not normally equate to the immediate onset of Alopecia Areata. More commonly, they can trigger a temporary hair loss condition called Telogen Effluvium, as can various other imbalances in a person's diet. As with Alopecia Areata treatment, specialist intervention from a trained professional can provide beneficial results for people with Telogen Effluvium, although many cases will clear up on their own in up to six months.
Zinc’s potential role in Alopecia Areata, however, is only recently starting to come to the fore. Might it be that the mineral could stave off cases of Alopecia Areata, or reduce the severity of each case?
Unfortunately, there’s a catch. As with many things related to hair, a delicate balancing act is at play when it comes to what we put into our bodies. And both selenium and zinc have been listed by experts as being likely to actually cause hair loss when they are taken in too great a quantity.
America’s National Institutes of Health are among those who have said that too much selenium can lead to thinning hair, while the Nutritional Supplements Health Guide says that an excess of zinc can lead to hairloss, too.
Links between vitamins and hair loss
Doctors are regularly finding links between thinning hair and an excess of/deficiency of vitamins and minerals. Recently a lack of vitamin D has been linked with Alopecia Areata, as well as with the genetic condition Female Pattern Hair Loss, too.
Ensuring that your body has the recommended daily intake of everything it needs is certainly a sensible idea, but this is perhaps not the best way to tackle a hair loss condition. What makes more sense is a visit to a specialist hair loss clinic for a diagnosis. Following a conversation with a trained expert that takes into account everything from your lifestyle to your diet, an explanation of and recommendations for a personalised course of the most appropriate products, from clinically-proven hair loss treatments to hair growth boosters, including Belgravia's food supplements, Hair Vitalics.