It’s not uncommon to shed up to about 125 hairs a day. But if you’re finding more strands of hair clogging up your brush than usual, it can be extremely disturbing. This can quickly turn to alarm if you notice visible thinning, an expanding part line or balding patches when you look in the mirror.
There are many reasons you may be losing more hair. You may just be in a growth phase, where one strand of hair falls out and a new one grows in its place. But stress, medications hormones and thyroid issues are known to result in an increase in temporary shedding, as well.
But one thing many people often forget to consider when it comes to hair loss is nutritional insufficiencies.
The fact is, nutritional deficiencies can have an enormous impact on both hair structure and hair growth. And while we all like to think we are making healthy food choices, it’s not all that uncommon to run short on certain nutrients that support healthy and vibrant hair.
Are You Deficient in These 3 Nutrients?
These common nutritional deficiencies can result in hair loss:
1. Vitamin D
Vitamin D insufficiency is one of the most widespread nutritional deficiencies here in the U.S. At last count, about 41% of U.S. adults were deficient in this nutrient. That’s bad news for your hair.
Study after study shows that low levels of vitamin D are associated with spot baldness, hair thinning and a disruption of the growth cycle.
Not surprisingly, one study shows that 96.6% of women with female pattern hair loss have are deficient in vitamin D or have an insufficiency. Additionally, the vitamin D levels are observed in patients with the most severe hair loss.
The easiest way to boost vitamin D levels is to expose your skin to the sun for 10 to 20 minutes each day without sunscreen. Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel and salmon are good sources, too. You can also get vitamin D in supplement form. Your best choice is vitamin D3 in the form of cholecalciferol.
Iron deficiency is another common nutritional deficiency. And it is a well-known cause of hair loss. Both men and women who have low levels of this mineral are more likely to suffer from thinning hair than those with normal levels.
Certain beans have an extremely high iron count. A cup of chickpeas, for example, contains 12.5 mg of iron. Lima beans (4.5 mg/cup), navy beans (4.3 mg/cup) and lentils (6.6 mg/cup) are also excellent iron sources.
Other good vegetarian sources of iron include tomatoes, pumpkin seeds and spinach. Beef, chicken, clams and mussels top the list when it comes to animal sources.
Biotin is another nutrient that allows your hair to flourish. On one hand it appears to help improve the appearance of thin and brittle hair. On the other, it may help to activate hair growth. For anyone experiencing hair loss, this is a big deal.
Egg yolks are a top source for biotin. But you can also get more of it by eating organ meats like kidneys and liver. Additionally, nuts, seeds and beans can help boost your stores of biotin.
But if these aren’t your favorite foods, you can always supplement with a quality biotin formula. And for more foods that you can enjoy to help put an end to hair loss, check out our article 7 Foods That May Help Stop Hair Loss.
Assessing the Condition of Your Hair
Counting the hairs in your brush isn’t the easiest way to find out if your hair loss has become a problem. But there is a simple trick that can tell you if you’re losing more hairs than normal.
Just run your fingers through a batch of about 60 hairs and see what is left in your hand. If it is less than eight strands, you’re in good shape. If it is more than that, it’s probably time to take a serious look at your nutrition levels and ramp them up as soon as possible.
Guo EL, et al. Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use. Dermatol Pract Concept. 2017 Jan; 7(1): 1–10.
Forrest KY, et al. Prevalence and correlates of vitamin D deficiency in US adults. Nutr Res. 2011 Jan;31(1):48-54.
Gerkowicz A, et al. The Role of Vitamin D in Non-Scarring Alopecia. Int J Mol Sci. 2017 Dec; 18(12): 2653.
Patel DP, et al. A Review of the Use of Biotin for Hair Loss. Skin Appendage Disord. 2017 Aug;3(3):166-169.
Dana Nicholas is a freelance writer and researcher in the field of natural and alternative healing. She has over 20 years of experience working with many noted health authors and anti-aging professionals, including James Balch, M.D., Dr. Linda Page, “Amazon” John Easterling and Al Sears M.D. Dana’s goal is to keep you up-to-date on information, news and breakthroughs that can have a direct impact on your health, your quality of life… and your lifespan. “I’m absolutely convinced that America’s misguided trust in mainstream medicine – including reliance on the government to regulate our food and medicine supply – is killing us, slowly but surely,” she cautions. “By sharing what I’ve learned throughout the years I hope I can empower others to take control over their own health.”