There is no doubt that eating a healthy, balanced diet that meets all the recommended daily allowances (RDAs) is vital for strong, healthy hair. As the New Year approaches, many people embark on a new diet and exercise regime to get in shape – but can the wrong diet cause hair loss?
Many people turn to diets which exclude certain food groups. A popular choice in recent years amongst the A-list set is the Atkins diet, which excludes carbohydrates and focuses instead on protein. Even though a certain amount of protein is necessary for healthy hair (which is itself made from keratin, a form of protein), an intake of too much protein at the expense of other essential nutrients could put the hair at risk.
Hair loss can be linked to low iron levels, and if you’ve recently started a new diet such as the Atkins diet, you could be depriving your body of essential nutrients such as Silica and B vitamins, as well as other nutrients found in fruit and grains. High-protein diets are not suited to everyone, and hair loss could be the body’s way of indicating that this sort of diet is not healthy.
Men and women who are suffering from eating disorders can experience thinning hair as a result of not enough nutrients reaching the hair follicles. The two most common eating disorders are anorexia, where food intake is severely limited, and bulimia, where food is eaten but purged before the body can digest it. In either case, there is risk of developing Telogen Effluvium, a hair loss condition that causes some of the hair follicles to stop growing and instead enter the ‘telogen’ or resting phase, where they will stay for about three months before they are shed, or the more persistent Diffuse Hair Loss which lasts for six months or more and is also known as Chronic Telogen Effluvium.
Telogen Effluvium and Chronic Telogen Effluvium are more common in women than in men and are usually caused by the body undergoing major stress. This could be emotional, physical, or physiological, as is the case with an eating disorder. The hair system is one of the body’s ‘non essential’ functions. Therefore, when the body is placed under extreme stress and is deprived of essential energy-forming foods, the hair will sometimes enter telogen stage of the cycle early to allow the body to divert energy elsewhere. In some cases, hairloss will continue until the cause is resolved – for example, switching back to a healthy, balanced diet.
Anyone who has noticed increased shedding or overall thinning of their hair and is concerned about their diet should contact their GP immediately.
The Belgravia Centre
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 diagnostic 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 0800 077 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.