Imagine you have been working hard and dieting diligently to reduce your calorie intake and burn fuel to achieve your weight loss goals. But suddenly, you start noticing weakened and dead hair and too much shedding on pillows and your hair brush. Sadly, weight loss and hair loss are interconnected and affect many men and women. Read on to learn more!
Look beyond Looks
Working on physical appearance and looks is a big priority for many. We often switch to a strict weight reduction regime and diet plans to achieve that “perfect” look. Although, the right combination of exercises and nutritious food could be a game changer, it’s difficult to maintain the balance.
As an old adage goes, “you are what you eat,” and since our hair is made of protein, it’s important to maintain the levels for strong, healthy hair. Dieting can reduce the intake of essential nutrients. Besides, our body also reroutes them to vital organs before sending them to hair.
Connection between Hair Fall and Weight Loss
Lack of proteins, iron and other nutrients in your diet can leave you malnourished and thus affect your hair growth and condition. Inadequate amount of dietary supplements deprives your hair of the desired nourishment. As a result, your hair becomes weak and brittle. This also leads to hair fall.
Weight loss induced hair fall is also known as telogen effluvium, as per American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. In a normal cycle, you grow almost ½ inch of hair every month for 2 years continuously and then switch to the resting phase, called telogen.
Stress and improper diet can lead to excessive hair loss during the resting phase and slow down the growth rate. Typically, our hair follicles are the most metabolically active but greatly affected by reduced caloric and protein consumption.
To feed your hair follicles, you need ample proteins and calories to maintain adequate hair health. According to hair experts, the more weight you lose, the greater chance of hair fall. Typically, dieters experience hair fall within 3-6 months of dieting. However, you can reverse the side effects after six months of healthy and balanced diet.
Causes of Hair Loss Due to Dieting
Sudden reduction of nutrient consumption leads your hair to prematurely enter the telogen effluvium phase, increasing the amount of hair thinning and shedding. Here are few deficiencies, leading to hair loss, as you go on a diet.
Insufficient consumption of protein has adverse effects on skin, hair and nails as they are primarily made of protein. Lack of protein in your dietary supplements can cause the strands to weaken and break as they become brittle. It also hampers their ability to grow back and are thus essential for hair. Yellow lentils, red meat and fish are a great source of proteins.
It is the most common nutritional deficiency around the globe and a well-known reason for hair loss. However, studies are inconclusive about the amount of iron deficiency that can lead to hair fall. Common causes of iron deficiency are use of malabsorption, intake of H2 blockers and vegan diet. Apples, spinach, and beetroots provide high amounts of iron among other nutrients.
An essential mineral, zinc is important for the health of your skin and hair but the related deficiency is quite uncommon. Aging, gastrointestinal disorders, anorexia, chronic liver infection and renal diseases lead to zinc deficiency. Alcohol consumption and vegetarian diet also cause a lack of minerals in your body. Oysters, red meat and poultry are the greatest sources of zinc in American food.
Vitamin D contributes to hair thickness as it enhances the growth of hair follicles. Therefore, deficiency of vitamin D leads to thin hair and shedding. Autoimmune diseases that reduce vitamin D levels also can cause patchy baldness and patterned hair loss.
How Can You Ensure Optimum Hair Health During Weight Loss Program?
If you’re at risk of developing serious health complications, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, then this might be the time to consider losing weight. Embarking on a new lifestyle of weight loss can help you to reduce various life-threatening conditions but can also expose you to other negative side effects, such as hair loss.
Here are a few things you can do to prevent weakened hair condition as you diet.
- Use a Laser Cap
Laser caps are FDA-cleared medical devices that can naturally stimulate new hair growth on the scalp. These are designed for both men and women and are clinically proven to be safe and effective to use. These caps use low level light therapy to stimulate the scalp tissue and encourage new growth in the hair follicles.
Laser caps are one of the best, safest, and pain-free ways to regrow and strengthen hair on the scalps of men and women.
- Get Right Amount of Protein
It’s the building block of your hair and important for muscle growth and maintenance. With the wrong diet, your hair and body can suffer. The general rule of thumb to find the recommended protein intake level is to multiply your body weight (in lbs.) with 0.36. The total is the gram of protein you require on a daily basis.
You can also start the intake of nutritional supplements to improve the overall health of your hair. Biotin is the most essential supplement you need for strong hair and nails.
- Do Regular Scalp Massages
Massaging increases blood and can create a viable environment for hair growth. You can also use hair conditioning oils such as coconut or olive oil for extra boost. Using soft silicone brushes while shampooing for 15-20 seconds is a highly effective scalp massage that you can do a couple of times per week.
Tips to Reverse the Side Effects (Hair Fall) of Restrictive Diet:
- Eat plenty of spinach, eggs, citrus food, carrots and whole grains
- Use a laser cap
- Increase intake of vital supplements such as Vitamin A, C, E, iron and zinc
- Get 8-hours of sleep
- Consume ample calories to support hair growth
- Use a food calculator to measure the level of calories in a particular dish
- Do not lose more than 2 pounds in a week for healthy weight loss
Your body undergoes serious changes as you enter a weight loss program. Therefore, it is not uncommon to have negative side effects on your hair, nail and skin and you may temporarily suffer from thinning or weak hair.
Hair loss due to dieting can be due to potential nutritional deficiency and therefore, the process should be gradual. You can even consult a doctor to recommend suitable and necessary multivitamins to overcome the loss. There are various other ways to limit or reverse the effects of dieting on your hair such as FDA-cleared laser caps.