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Hair Loss and Nutrition

Every part of your life is affected by good health and good nutrition and this includes your hair. We all want to be healthy and happy but sometimes in our pursuit of good health we take steps that can have unforeseen consequences. So many of us diet and exercise trying to look and feel our best without knowing that this can backfire. The relationship between healthy hair and good nutrition is both very complex and very simple at the same time. It’s complicated because we don’t yet know how so many different nutrients and minerals affect our hair growth, and simple because we do know that getting enough of these important nutrients can be enough to regrow our hair. Many people try different diets in their attempt to reach an dieal weight but what you may not know is that some special diets actually require vitamin supplementation in order to maintain your health while you try to follow them. This is very important to consider with specialty, crash and fad diet. These diets and special circumstances like weight loss surgeries can lead to nutritional deficiencies which can lead to hair loss (Prendiville JS & Manfredi LN, 1992). Fortunately when these essential vitamin and minerals are supplemented balding and hair loss can be stopped and reversed (Rushton, 2002).

The hair loss seen with nutritional deficiencies have been documented extensively in medical literature. It has also been shown that people can show remarkable recovery of hair growth and a reversal of baldness with vitamin and mineral supplementation. While hair loss is most apparent with severe dietary abnormalities it can also be seen with even mild nutritional deficiencies. You have have significant nutritional deficits from psychiatric problems like bulimia, anorexia, and many medical conditions and cases when your body is out of its normal balance (including after surgeries or when you are using medications). People can also develop balding and hair loss as a side effect of chemotherapy or systemic diseases (Lurie, 1994). These nutritional deficiencies can also be seen with specific diets like fad diets, the Atkins diet or strict vegetarian diets. This is because diets that strictly limit certain foods can have the side effect of limiting necessary vitamins and minerals. The B vitamins, especially biotin and cyanocobalamin (Matsusue, 1985), which are B7 and B12 and minerals like zinc, copper, iron and selenium, are critical for hair health and it has been proven that patients with hair loss and baldness have lower levels of many of these minerals in their bodies (Abou-Mourad 1979, Rayman, 2000). The problem of hair loss with micronutrient deficiencies is also seen, and seen to be reversible, in people who have been ill and require supplemental calories. A surprising fact that has been well documented and recently brought to light in a study published in september of 2010 by physicians from New Zealand revealed that even people getting clinically formulated diets long term can develop micro-nutrient deficiencies that lead to hair loss (Daniells S. & Hardy G. 2010).

It has also been shown that men who are losing their hair but otherwise seem healthy still show these lower levels of micronutrients compared to healthy haired counterparts (Jin, 1998). In anyone who is suffering from hair loss it is important thing to realize is that these causes of baldness can be reversed with supplementation. Even more important with proper forethought people can avoid nutritional deficiencies entirely. Taking vitamins is a good part of an overall health strategy for everyone. In people who are balding it may also be a key factor in keeping the hair they have and even growing more healthy hair.

There are many dietary supplements made specifically to compliment diets that may leave you with these nutrient deficiencies. There are also supplement formulations including specific nutrients for hair growth. These vitamin supplements ensure that no matter what special diets you chose to follow, you can maintain the right mix of nutrients, vitamins and minerals your hair needs to stay thick and healthy. It has been shown scientifically that repleting necessary nutrients when they are low can reverse hair loss. This is understood by physicians around the world and it is common for a doctor treating a patient with hair loss to test these levels in their balding patients.

There is such a wide verity of causes of hair loss that entire medical texts are dedicated to the topics of alopecia, baldness and their causes and treatments. It is known that people losing their hair have increased anxiety, depression and even increases in the incidence of other medical illnesses (Hawk, 2000). But there are also many cases where hair loss and baldness can be prevented and treated, simply, cheaply and safely. Maintaining good nutrition for your hair will give you a healthier look and it also give you the vitamin and minerals you need for good overall health. If your diet and lifestyle makes it hard to get the nutrients you need, simply add supplements – but only after you consult with your doctor.

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