How Nutrition and Hair Loss Can Be Related

Why is my hair getting thinner? Am I losing my hair, or my hair is falling out? Why is my hair shedding so much? Oh no, my hair is not growing! My hair is not the same as it used to be.

For most people, these are all scary thoughts. Hair is part of our persona and personality, and it helps us feel confident. People notice your hair when you walk in the room, and you do not want people to think that there is anything wrong or that you are unhealthy because of the way your hair appears.



Fortunately, several identifiable factors can contribute to hair loss. If you suspect that there is a larger issue occurring outside of age, you should go to your primary care physician or hair specialist. Hair is attached to your scalp, which is ultimately attached to the bloodstream. A full physical and work up, including lab work, could answer why your hair is changing.


Age & Genetics

For the most part, hair growth slows down as we get older. Hair is most likely to grow from ages 15-30, and it slows down between ages 40 – 50. Men may notice that their beard hair grows faster after age 50.

Another possibility for hair loss is genetics. Think about other members of your family, or ask if they have had similar concerns or experiences with hair loss. Your hair loss may simply be hereditary.

Age and genetics are two fairly simple explanations for why the amount of hair is decreasing, but there are several other factors to consider as well.


Health Concerns, Factors, and Medication

In addition to age, there could be a multitude of other factors in your life that are causing hair loss. Recent stress or trauma can impact your hair, along with chronic medical conditions. Some chronic medical conditions include malnutrition, congenital heart disease, neuromuscular disease, cancer, and alcoholism. Smoking cigarettes and certain medications can also impact hair growth and loss. As always, consult your doctor to see if any of these factors are impacting your hair growth.


Diets & Nutrition Deficiencies

Age and other miscellaneous factors can play a role in the loss of hair, but it is highly possible that hair loss can be related to nutrition. Age and chronic health conditions are more obvious than nutritional deficiencies, but a quick blood test could help you solve the puzzle of your hair loss.


Crash / Fad Diets and Eating Disorders

A healthy diet is well balanced and contains fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. A crash or fad diet can cause hair loss due to the imbalance of macronutrients. Eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia can also cause hair loss due to the lack of food and nutrients in the body. If hair loss is occurring for one of these reasons, it should normalize once the person is eating a more well-balanced diet and eating all macronutrients.


Vitamin & Mineral Deficiencies

The only way to diagnose a vitamin or mineral deficiency is through a comprehensive physical with bloodwork. If you notice that you are losing your hair, getting blood work done is a great place to start because it will be able to identify if there is a deficiency quickly. If a deficiency is found, your doctor can give you an individualized treatment plan that may include vitamins, nutritional supplements, or injections.

The most common nutritional deficiencies that impact hair growth are iron and vitamin B.  An iron deficiency, also known as anemia, can cause hair to fall out or shed more than normal. B vitamins are especially important for hair because B5 and B12 give strength, shine, and prevent hair loss.

Other vitamins and minerals that could impact hair loss are:

  • Zinc
  • Niacin
  • Fatty acids
  • Selenium
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Folic Acid
  • Amino Acids / Protein
  • Antioxidants

From eating a well-balanced diet, you should be able to get all of these nutrients from your daily food intake. But let’s be honest with ourselves: most people do not always eat the way they are supposed to. For example, you may not like broccoli, or you may be a vegetarian or vegan. That is all completely fine, but you need to make up for what you are not eating in other ways.



In some cases, hair loss is inevitable. There are some small measures you can take in order to try to prevent it as much as possible.

  1. Keep in touch with your doctor and have bloodwork done yearly. It will become easier to identify any major health concerns and also have consistent follow-up on your health.

  2. Take a multivitamin daily. This will help you get several vitamins that you may not always get in your daily meals.

  3. Don’t always heat treat your hair with a blow dryer, curler, or straightener.

  4. If your hair is wet, use a wet brush to brush it.

  5. Deep condition your hair once or twice a month.

Medical intervention may be needed to handle a deficiency or create a more well-balanced diet, and there is nothing wrong with that. We are all on our own health journeys, and we all need different things at different times. But one thing that we all have in common is that investing some time and energy into our hair and giving it some TLC will go a long way. Your hair is your signature, so take care of it and own it!