What You Need to Know About Hair Loss & Diet

Hair follicles are highly active and sensitive. In fact, hair follicle cells are among the most rapidly dividing cells in your body, so it’s no surprise that nutrient deficiencies can negatively affect hair growth.

An iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency in the world and can cause hair loss. This condition is related to a type of hair loss known as telogen effluvium (TE), which is characterized by a disruption in the normal hair growth cycle. This leads to excessive hair shedding and loss. Some studies have shown that people with hair loss tend to have lower iron levels in their blood and hair compared with people who don’t have hair loss.

Vitamin D also plays an important role in hair growth and the health of hair follicles. Research has shown that vitamin D levels are lower in people with hair loss conditions, including female pattern hair loss and an autoimmune skin disease called alopecia areata. Taking vitamin D supplements is believed to promote hair regrowth in some people with this type of hair loss.

Zinc is a mineral that plays important roles in immune function, protein synthesis, cellular division, and more. It’s necessary for hair follicle function and helps protect against hair follicle shrinkage and slowed growth, plus it helps promote hair follicle recovery.

A deficiency of zinc can cause hair loss, and people with certain hair loss conditions tend to have lower zinc levels than people without hair loss. Those conditions include:

  • alopecia areata
  • male pattern hair loss
  • female pattern hair loss
  • telogen effluvium (TE)

Deficiencies in the following nutrients can also be associated with hair loss:

  • copper
  • biotin
  • vitamin B12
  • folate
  • riboflavin

In summary, a deficiency in one or more micronutrients may lead to hair loss. If you’re experiencing hair loss, you may want to be tested for deficiencies in iron, vitamin D, zinc, B vitamins, and copper.