You may wonder if your vegetarian or vegan diet is to blame for your increased hair loss if you’ve observed a change in your hair’s texture or the amount of hair you lose. It’s not as simple as cutting out steak to prevent hair loss on a vegetarian or vegan diet. There is more to hair loss in vegetarians than just a lack of meat, since vitamin and nutritional shortages might play a role. And if you’ve made the decision to go plant-based for moral, ecological, or health reasons, it’s likely you won’t be switching back any time soon, which can make the hair loss all the more upsetting.
Many people find it difficult to give up meat, dairy, and eggs when they make the switch to vegetarianism. On the other hand, these foods are rich in particular nutrients like protein. Vegetarians who are just starting out may be confused about where to find enough protein. If you don’t make up for these nutritional deficiencies, you may get telogen effluvium, a temporary loss of hair. In this article we would be checking out the possible connection between a vegetarian diet and balding.
Nutritional deficiencies, vegetarian diets, and hair health
If you are a vegan or vegetarian and you are experiencing hair loss, there are a lot of factors that you should investigate. The most important is your nutrient intake. When properly prepared, a vegan diet contains the same number of nutrients as a diet consisting of a variety of foods from different food groups. And similarly to consuming an omnivorous diet, consuming unhealthy junk foods puts a person at risk for developing a variety of health concerns. Therefore, if you see that your hair is becoming thinner, you should investigate your nutrition. Your diet, assuming you follow a healthy vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, ought to be on par with that of someone who does not follow either of those lifestyles. Take a look at a few of the items that can contribute to hair loss in vegans and vegetarians:
Fatty acids known as omega 3s are considered to be a necessary type. These nutrients contribute to the maintenance of your body’s health and its normal functions. In addition to this, it helps reduce both cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Omega 3s are most commonly found in fatty fish, which many vegetarians and vegans choose not to consume. It is possible that you will experience hair loss if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet and do not get an enough amount of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are known to help strengthen your hair and follicles, which is why omega-3 fatty acids are so important to the health of your hair. When your body does not have enough omega-3 fatty acids, you may have hair loss. There is a possibility that your hair will become brittle, dry, and weak. It is also possible for it to become thin or to fall out at the root.
To maintain optimal health, iron is yet another crucial element. As an added bonus, it aids the body’s red blood cells in carrying oxygen. Hair loss is one of the symptoms of anemia, which can be caused by a lack of iron in the body. Insufficient numbers of healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin lead to the condition known as anemia. Many vegetarian and vegan diets are iron-deficient because they rely on plant-based meals. Beans, spinach, broccoli, and other plant-based foods are good sources of iron in addition to meat. Lack of iron in the diet can cause hair to thin, become brittle, and lose its luster. In some cases, the root may potentially be dislodged. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, getting adequate iron will help keep your hair follicles and scalp healthy.
Zinc is another essential mineral that the body needs to operate normally. Also, it promotes cellular growth and repair. In addition to thinning hair, skin problems like acne and dandruff can develop when zinc levels drop too low. Those who don’t eat meat may be at a higher risk of zinc deficiency. Foods like red meat, poultry, and fish are good sources of zinc. Seeds, nuts, and legumes are the most common plant-based sources of zinc.
Your body needs protein to function properly, which is a necessary macronutrient. It promotes the growth of hair, skin, and muscle. Although it is commonly found in meat and eggs, protein can also be found in a variety of plant-based diets. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan and don’t consume enough protein, you could lose hair. Hair loss is among the most typical signs of a protein shortage. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you should make sure to obtain adequate protein in your diet because it’s crucial for the integrity and health of your hair follicles and scalp. High-protein vegan foods include:
- Soy (Edamame, tofu, tempeh, soy milk)
- Chia seed
- Cannabis seeds
Hair loss is associated with a number of vitamin deficits such as:
- Vitamin A: Studies have linked telogen effluvium to inadequate vitamin A intake. Beef liver, fish oil, milk, and eggs are all good sources of vitamin A. Carrots, butternut squash, pumpkin, and bell peppers are just a few examples of vitamin A-rich foods that are suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Sweet potatoes and dark green vegetables like kale and spinach are also good sources.
- Vitamin D: The loss of hair in patches due to an immune system disorder termed alopecia areata, as well as male and female pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia), and telogen effluvium, have all been linked to low levels of vitamin D. Dairy and eggs are good sources of vitamin D, thus lacto-ovo vegetarians may get plenty of it through their diet. Soy milks, almond milks, and some juices are fortified with vitamin D, although it may be more difficult for vegans to acquire food sources of this nutrient. In addition, it can be discovered in certain types of mushrooms.
- Vitamin B12: While some research has linked low vitamin B12 levels to hair loss, other studies have failed to find a correlation. Seaweed, sauerkraut, shiitake mushrooms, and spirulina (an edible algae) are all good sources of vitamin B12.
Vegetarian and vegan diets may also be deficient in a number of nutrients. Telogen effluvium and alopecia areata are two forms of hair loss that have been linked to iron deficiency. Even while iron is present in plenty in both plants and animals, the iron in some plant foods is more difficult for the body to absorb, putting vegetarians and vegans at risk for low iron levels. Beans, lentils, nuts, leafy greens, and potato peel are all good sources of iron, as are iron-fortified foods like cereal. People who consume a plant-based diet may also be poor in zinc. Alopecia areata and telogen effluvium may be exacerbated by a lack of zinc. Vegans and vegetarians typically have lower zinc levels than their omnivorous counterparts. Zinc is found in foods such as beans, seeds, nuts, and whole grains.
Vegetarian Hair Loss: Will It Grow Back?
The good news is that if you are losing your hair because you are deficient in certain nutrients, you can regrow it if you treat those deficiencies. It is crucial to consult a healthcare expert and get tests done when necessary to identify any nutrient deficiencies that may be contributing to the shedding of hair. This can be done to determine the cause of the hair loss. Your provider will be able to guide you through the process of deciding how to change your diet. In some instances, correcting a deficiency through food sources alone isn’t adequate, thus doctors may also recommend taking supplements. If you are aware that a nutritional deficiency is the cause of your hair loss but you would still like to see results more quickly, you could try other methods that promote hair growth.
Preventing hair loss on a plant-based diet
Making sure you’re getting enough nutrients is a great strategy to stop hair loss when eating a plant-based diet. To help prevent nutritional deficiencies, eat a wide variety of foods that contain various vitamins and minerals. To monitor your average calorie intake, protein consumption, and the kinds of vitamins and minerals you’re getting from the foods you eat, it might be worthwhile to use an online food diary tool. You don’t have to use it every day, but a few times a week entering your food might help you estimate the nutrients in your diet.
If you’re trying to supplement your diet with certain nutrients, look for:
- Egg yolks, cheese, and mushrooms for dietary vitamin D
- Legumes (such as lentils and chickpeas) and whole grains for protein
- Dairy products, seeds, and legumes for dietary zinc
- Leafy greens and fortified foods (like breakfast cereal) for iron
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