A varied and balanced diet is important for healthy growth and development, but there are certain foods that can cause serious health problems for some people. Eggs, milk, peanuts, seafood, soy and wheat are the main food allergens that can instigate an immune system reaction, but the link between food allergies and hair loss is very weak.
One person in every 100 has a food allergy, according to statistics. In those who are affected, the body thinks it’s being attacked by that food and so sends out an allergic reaction to warn against it. An allergy is different to food intolerance because the latter doesn’t involve the immune system and usually produces different side effects. A rare but severe allergic reaction could lead to anaphylactic shock, but more common symptoms of food allergies include rash, nausea, vomiting, cramping, and diarrhoea.
Losing hair from allergic reactions to food
Sometimes people say they experience hair loss, but hair and scalp specialist Leonora Doclis of The Belgravia Centre says the relationship is remote.
“It is very rare that a person continues to lose hair due to reacting to a one or more food type,” explains Doclis. “And assuming you would never eat a food again once you know you are allergic, the link between a food allergy and continued hair loss is remote.”
If one experiences hair loss that seems coincidental with a food allergy, there may be a number of reasons for this.
Firstly, hormonal imbalances often lead to thinning hair and many food allergy sufferers have related illnesses that can alter hormones, such as thyroid imbalances and adrenal fatigue. Additionally, people with food allergies may not get enough certain vitamins and minerals. If this leads to a deficiency it can affect hair growth. Stress could be another contributing factor, which very often causes temporary hair loss. And finally, some believe there’s a link between food allergies and alopecia areata as they are both autoimmune problems.
“Perhaps if the allergic reaction is really bad, the mode of that reaction could trigger a hair loss condition called alopecia areata, since it is also linked to autoimmune balance,” Doclis said. “Or if the reaction leads to a skin condition that affects the hair follicles.”
Dealing with hair loss and thinning hair
Still, the risk of hair loss as a result of food allergies is fairly minimal. Doclis recommends a good multivitamin supplement to avoid nutritional deficiencies, but you should consult your doctor first. If hair thinning continues, there may be an underlying genetic susceptibility to hair loss. Licensed medical treatments for hair loss can help stabilise shedding and stimulate growth, but you need to get a personal diagnosis and find out which course would work for you.
The relationship between food allergies and hair loss may be there but it is minimal and more than likely an indirect link. If your food allergy is under control but your hair isn’t, maybe you should consider consulting a hair loss specialist to find out how to control excessive thinning or shedding.
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. 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 UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.