Can changing my diet stop hair loss?
Yes, changing your diet can stop hair loss if the cause is a nutrient deficiency. Deficiencies in the following nutrients can cause or exacerbate hair loss:
Other dietary changes you can make which may be helpful include:
- increasing your protein intake if this is low
- eating foods rich in omega 3
The most common nutrient deficiency in the world, iron deficiency, can cause hair loss. The reason for this is not entirely known, but hair follicle cells are one of the most rapidly dividing cells in the human body, and iron has an important role in catalysing the enzyme needed for DNA production.
Certain people are at a higher risk of iron deficiency, such as:
- menstruating women
- individuals with malabsorption disorders
- vegans and vegetarians
Some research has shown that treating iron deficiency can enhance hair loss treatments. Therefore, increasing your iron intake can prevent iron deficiency and subsequent hair loss. Good dietary sources of iron include:
- lean red meat
- dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and watercress
- fortified cereals and bread
Vitamin D is vital for strong teeth, bones, and hair. It is important in keeping your hair follicles healthy and stimulating hair growth. A small study published in 2020 found that vitamin D and iron levels were significantly lower in people with hair loss.
The best source of vitamin D is sunlight. There are also some dietary sources available, like:
- oily fish
- red meat
- egg yolks
- fortified foods
Increasing protein intake
Protein deficiency is linked to hair loss. That’s because protein is essential for making hair healthy and strong, and a lack of it can cause hair to become dry, brittle, and weak.
You can help to boost your protein intake by eating:
- poultry (chicken and turkey)
- dairy products
Eating foods high in omega-3
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of fat that the body needs to stay healthy. It is an essential nutrient because your body does not make it naturally. Omega-3 is found in the cells that line the scalp and help to keep your hair hydrated, stopping it from becoming weak and brittle.
You can help to increase your omega-3 intake by making sure you eat at least 2 portions of oily fish each week, such as: