Hair Loss Due to Dietary Deficiencies

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HAIR LOSS DUE TO DIETARY DEFICIENCIES

Could this person have hair loss due to dietary deficiencies?

Unfortunately dietary considerations in cases of hair loss are completely misunderstood. Most advises are so general that they make no sense at all. Consider this for example : “Eat plenty of green vegetables, drink enough water, have more protein like soy protein, tofu, soy milk, take iron rich food like beetroot, dates & dried foods, silica rich foods like raw oats, potatoes & peppers, wholesome foods like eggs, vitamin E rich food like avocados, nuts & seeds….etc etc.”

Is there anything missing here? Would it not be simpler to just tell the person to eat everything he can lay his hands on?

And most people are even otherwise eating the above items, to the point of becoming fat, and yet develop deficiencies and lose hair which is also referred in American Academy of Dermatology Association. This is because dietary deficiencies do not always result from poor intake but from poor absorption. For example, we find many women patients who are borderline obese but at the same time are quite anemic. Clearly there is no paucity of food here. The defect lies in absorbing the right ingredients. This is why in such cases simply increasing the food intake does not help. Because the body may not absorb the necessary ingredients and instead one may just put on extra weight.

Furthermore, some deficiencies cannot be fulfilled by dietary changes alone. For example, hair loss patients are often found to have Vitamin B8 deficiencies. Vitamin B8 is found in its natural form in bananas. But to get the right quantity one may need to consume 12 bananas on a daily basis! This cannot be obviously followed on a daily basis.

Specific deficiencies do play a role in accelerating the hair loss. There are 3 specific deficiencies which are most common – Iron deficiency, protein deficiency and in cases of strict vegetarians Vitamin B12 deficiency. Identifying a specific deficiency and correcting it, does play an important role in controlling the hair loss.

Apart from dietary supplements, some foods act as healing agents when consumed in high doses. These are typically organic food items which contain elements like inositol, choline etc. Here, however one has to be very careful as these are often prescribed in various combinations and therefore best done under the care of a medical expert.

The solution therefore lies in identifying the specific deficiencies and correcting it, rather than launching into more and more food intake and unnecessary supplementation.