Losing weight can offer many health benefits. For many people, weight loss can improve their mood, self-esteem, sleep, and mobility. In addition, maintaining a healthy body weight can reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer, lower blood pressure, and improve lung health. However, losing weight can also have various side effects, including thinning hair and hair loss.
The Connection Between Diet and Hair Growth
Hair follicles are highly active and sensitive and are among the most rapidly dividing cells in your body. Therefore, when your body experiences a lack of vitamins or nutrients, hair growth is one of the first bodily functions impacted.
When you have a nutritional deficiency, your body naturally allocates the available resources to functions that are essential for life. For example, hair growth is not necessary to sustain life, so it is often one of the first signs of a nutritional deficiency.
In extreme dieting, the vitamins and nutrients necessary for healthy hair growth may not be available, and hair growth will slow or stop until adequate nutrients are available. Extreme dieting also places tremendous stress on the body, and prolonged stress is also associated with hair loss.
Sudden weight loss and restrictive diets are associated with a hair loss condition known as acute telogen effluvium. Hair loss from acute telogen effluvium usually occurs about three months after a triggering event such as rapid weight loss.
While both the nutritional deficiencies and stress of extreme dieting can lead to hair loss, usually, once your diet returns to normal and your stress levels are reduced, your hair growth will return to normal. It usually takes several months after starting an extreme diet to notice hair issues, and they may last for several months after you correct the dietary issues.
Common Diets That Lead to Hair Loss
Not every diet will lead to hair loss. Typically, you won't have to worry about hair loss unless the goal of your diet is rapid weight loss. However, some of the most common types of diets that lead to thinning hair and hair loss include:
A restrictive diet is a diet that does not contain a group or groups of nutrients. Restrictive diets can deprive your body of the nutrients needed for hair growth and lead to hair loss. In addition to causing nutritional deficiencies, restrictive diets also cause stress, contributing to hair loss issues.
Essential micronutrients, including B vitamins, zinc, omega-3, and iron, are vital for hair growth. Unfortunately, poorly planned calorie-deficient crash diets often deprive your body of essential nutrients and leave your hair with insufficient nutrition to grow properly. Not consuming enough calories can lead to deficiencies in fatty acids, zinc, and protein and can lead to thinning hair and hair loss
Protein Deficient Diet
While a low-calorie diet can help you lose weight, if your diet is protein deficient, it can be harmful and cause hair loss. Protein is an essential nutrient critical in life-supporting processes like tissue repair, digestion, water regulation, and hormone secretion. In addition, proteins are necessary for producing keratin which is vital for hair growth. Since hair growth is not a critical process, when the protein levels in the body go down, the body diverts protein to essential functions, abandoning non-essential processes like hair growth and health.
The Risks of Hair Loss With Extreme Dieting
A variety of factors can trigger hair loss. Extreme dieting is designed to help you shed pounds quickly but can also leave you at risk of nutritional deficiencies. Nutritional deficiencies, stress, and rapid weight loss can all contribute to your thinning hair and hair loss.
Dealing with hair loss can be challenging, often leaving people with more questions than answers. If you are experiencing thinning hair or hair loss and wondering if your dieting habits are the cause, our team can help. Our professional staff can help you determine the cause of your hair issues and provide you with solutions to help you get your healthy, thick, full head of hair back. To learn more about the risks of hair loss associated with extreme dieting and what you can do to protect your hair, contact us today and schedule your FREE initial consultation.