Can a vitamin deficiency cause hair loss? Research suggests it can. Human bodies are fine-tuned machines that require many systems to work together in harmony to function optimally. When one system is out of balance, others are affected. This means that if you're lacking nutrients in one area, it may affect your hair growth.
Many issues can cause hair loss, but one primary cause is nutrient deficiency. It's important to know that vitamin deficiencies can cause hair loss, but they aren't the only cause.
What Causes Hair Loss?
There are many causes for hair loss, but one of the most common reasons is nutrient deficiency. Vitamins and minerals are essential to cell division and replication. When your body doesn't have the nutrients it needs to function correctly, it will manifest in many ways. Hair loss is one of the primary symptoms, but there are many others.
Other Factors That Cause Hair Loss
Genetics: Genetics is often the most significant factor in your hair loss. Many people inherit hair loss from their parents, and the likelihood of hair loss increases as genetics plays a role.
Age: As you age, your hair follicles start to shrink, and your hair grows smaller and smaller. If you're older, you're more likely to experience hair loss.
Hormones: Hormones are vital in the hair cycle. Many hormones in your body affect hair growth. Hormones like testosterone, estrogen, and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) are crucial to hair growth.
Stress: Hair is one of the most sensitive areas of the body. Stress can affect your body in many ways, which can cause hair loss.
Medications: Some medications can cause hair loss. This includes birth control, some antidepressants, chemotherapy drugs, and anti-seizure medications.
Infections: Some infections can cause hair loss. This includes fungal infections, lice, and skin infections.
Trauma: Trauma to the head can cause hair loss. This includes things like burns, cuts, and hair straighteners.
Poor Diet: Diets high in fatty foods like red meat, alcohol, and sugar can cause hair loss. To have a healthier diet, eat more whole foods and plant-based foods.
Poor Hygiene: If you don't wash your hair enough or use the right products, your hair can become unhealthy and fall out.
Vitamin Deficiencies Which Cause Hair Loss
1. Biotin Deficiency
As you may or may not know, Biotin is a B-complex vitamin that helps your body metabolize fats and proteins, maintain healthy skin and hair, and keep your nervous system in good shape.
It’s also pretty useful for your hair; biotin helps your hair follicles grow and thicken and keeps them from breaking. As a result, a Biotin deficiency can cause hair loss. Biotin is also vital in producing keratin, which is the protein that helps give your hair its texture. Keratin can also help prevent hair breakage, and when you have a biotin deficiency, it can lead to dull, brittle hair.
A biotin deficiency can also cause hair loss because it can lead to an increase in the amount of an amino acid called homocysteine in your body. When you have too much homocysteine, it can damage your hair follicles. Your follicles are the small pockets in your scalp where your hair grows; when they’re damaged, your hair can’t grow or grows very slowly.
How to get more Biotin:
Biotin is water-soluble, which means that your body flushes it out of your system pretty quickly. This is why you have to consume Biotin regularly, every day, to get enough of it to have a positive effect.
Foods high in Biotin include avocados, legumes, cauliflower, carrots, peanuts, eggs, and salmon.
2. Iron Deficiency
Iron is a mineral that’s naturally found in a lot of foods, including red meat, eggs, soybeans, and leafy greens. It’s a key component of hemoglobin, which is a protein that carries oxygen in your blood.
The more oxygen your body has, the more energy you have, which is why iron deficiency can be problematic. If you don’t get enough iron in your diet, your hair follicles can start to get tired of working so hard to create hair, resulting in hair loss. Iron is also crucial in the production of keratin, which we’ve already discussed as being very important for hair growth. When you have a deficiency, your keratin production can be halted, leading to hair loss.
Iron deficiency can also cause hair loss due to the buildup of an amino acid called homocysteine in your body. When you have too much of it, your hair follicles can get damaged, and it can cause your hair to fall out.
How to get more iron in your diet:
If you’re experiencing hair loss due to a deficiency, you should increase your iron consumption. You can do this by eating more plant-based foods that are rich in iron — such as spinach, broccoli, raisins, and pumpkin seeds. You can also take iron supplements, just make sure that it’s heme iron. Heme iron is the most absorbable form of iron and can help you to get your levels back to normal.
3. Vitamin A Deficiency
Vitamin A is a nutrient that you get from various foods like vegetables, including spinach and carrots, and fruits like mangoes and broccoli. It’s also found in fish liver oil, eggs, and dairy products. Vitamin A is very important for your body because it helps your eyes adjust to the light, as well as your skin and mucous membranes.
Vitamin A is also significant for growth and repair; it helps your hair growth cycle last as long as it can, and can help prevent hair loss due to breakage. When you don’t get enough vitamin A, it can lead to hair follicle miniaturization — which means that your hair will start to get smaller and smaller until it eventually falls out completely.
Vitamin A is also essential in the creation of keratin and can help prevent hair loss caused by a biotin deficiency. Keratin is a protein that helps keep your hair strong, so if you have a deficiency, your hair can become dry and brittle, eventually leading to hair loss.
How to get more vitamin A in your diet:
If you’re experiencing hair loss due to a deficiency, you should increase your vitamin A consumption. You can do this by eating more carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, mangoes, cantaloupe, and strawberries. You can also take vitamin A supplements, just make sure that you’re taking the right dosage.
4. Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that’s important for the growth and repair of your bones and other tissues in your body. It also helps your body regulate the amount of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium you have.
A vitamin D deficiency can cause hair loss because your body needs vitamin D to produce an important molecule called keratin. Keratin is the protein that helps keep your hair strong and healthy, and it helps keep your hair follicles healthy and happy. Vitamin D deficiency can also cause your hair follicles to shrink, which can lead to balding.
How to get more vitamin D in your diet:
If you’re having trouble getting vitamin D in your diet, you should consider taking supplements. Plant-based foods contain vitamin D, but it’s not always easy to get enough of it this way. If you take a supplement, you can get the vitamin D you need. Other ways to get more vitamin D include regularly getting outside and exposing your skin to the sun and drinking milk, orange juice, or soy milk.
If you’re experiencing hair loss, it can take a toll on your self-esteem. Don’t let it! By addressing the root cause of your hair loss, you can get your hair back. Whether it’s a vitamin deficiency or something else, you should do your best to regain that confidence.
If vitamins aren’t enough, medication might help. Phoenix Health, a telehealth platform just for men, offers Finasteride, a hair loss solution drug that stops hair loss in the majority of men, and when taken long enough, even regrows the lost hair. No camera is required to make an appointment. Take control of your hair today.
This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Your specific circumstances should be discussed with a healthcare provider. All statements of opinion represent the writers' judgement at the time of publication and are subject to change. Phoenix and its affiliates provide no express or implied endorsements of third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products, or services.