Fortunately, the effects of malnutrition on your hair are reversible as long as you regain nutritional stability for 6 months or more. Once the deficiencies are corrected, the hair will grow back, although it may take some time. Drastically restricting your calorie intake means you're probably not getting enough essential nutrients, such as protein, fatty acids, and zinc. These deficiencies, especially if maintained for a period of time, can cause a type of hair loss called telogen effluvium.
The good news is that this condition is generally reversible, so adopting healthier and less restrictive eating habits will allow your hair to grow back. Hair loss affects both men and women and is not limited to any age. Extreme diets, unhealthy foods, and a nutritionally deficient diet can cause hair loss. Hair loss and malnutrition are often an indicator of a serious and invisible mental or physical health problem.
One of the ideal ways to maintain healthy hair is to follow a nutritious diet. Spinach is an excellent source of iron, as well as folic acid, vitamin A and vitamin C, which help nourish hungry hair follicles and help hair grow strong and shiny. Hair loss can also be caused by factors related to diet, such as nutrient deficiencies and the use of supplements (. Research has shown that taking vitamin D supplements promotes hair growth in some people with hair loss related to vitamin D deficiency (1).
If you lose weight very quickly, even after an intensive diet or after bariatric surgery, you can also suffer from hair loss. Drinking shrinks blood vessels and causes liver problems that prevent hormones from doing their job of causing hair to grow on the scalp. Interestingly, the study found that total abstinence from alcohol and increased exercise duration were also associated with hair loss (3). The cells that make up the hair bulb, which is the part of the hair follicle that produces hair, have a high renewal rate, which means that new cells grow and replace old cells at a rapid rate (.
Research suggests that acute hair loss that occurs within 3 months after bariatric surgery is related to the surgery itself (2). Protein restriction can occur in some diets that are very low in calories and cause thinning and hair loss). Other factors that can cause hair loss include micronutrient deficiencies, not consuming enough calories or protein, and taking high doses of certain dietary supplements. Zinc deficiency can cause hair loss, and studies show that people with certain hair loss conditions tend to have lower levels of zinc than people without hair loss.
Researchers are still studying how iron deficiency causes hair loss, but it seems to interrupt hair growth by diverting iron stores in the hair follicle to other areas of the body (. Hair needs amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, to grow properly, so a diet without enough protein can cause hair growth abnormalities, such as hair loss and thin, brittle hair (22, 23, 2). This condition is related to a type of hair loss known as telogen effluvium (TE), a type of hair loss that is characterized by an interruption in the normal hair growth cycle.
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