5 bad eating habits that can cause hair loss, says dietitian

Several factors can contribute to hair loss, some of which are genetic and others based on lifestyle. While we may not be able to do anything about our inherited traits, our daily lifestyle choices, including our eating habits and vitamin intake, can be changed in ways that help reduce the potential risk of hair loss.

Historically, research has shown a correlation between diet, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and hair loss, noting that when these entities can effectively boost the development and functionality of standard cells, the greater the chance of potentially treat hair loss. That said, there’s still a lot to learn about the exact role diet can play in hair loss and thinning, and even the best diet may not be able to override genetics in all cases. Bad eating habits, however, risk offsetting any effort to improve fine hair lines or restore luscious locks to their former glory.

It is valuable to follow a complete eating plan to support the health of your hair. To help you avoid the bad so you can focus on the good, here are five bad eating habits that can cause hair loss. And for more information on which specific foods to avoid when worried about hair loss, be sure to also read The #1 Worst Food For Hair Loss, Says A Dietitian.

calorie restriction


If you are significantly low on calories on a regular basis, hair loss can be one of the side effects. Calories fuel your body, from daily movement and exercise to the energy needed to grow hair follicles. We all have a base number of calories that we require in a day to meet our minimum needs. If your intake falls far below this, you could be endangering a wide variety of bodily systems. In fact, crash diets and other forms of restrictive eating have been documented to cause side effects such as hair loss. While the relationship between energy intake and hair loss may not be fully understood, a lack of nutrient intake associated with a low-calorie diet may be the cause.

Inadequate dietary protein

When calorie intake is too low to support basic functions and energy needs, protein intake is also likely to be too low. Protein can aid in the repair, growth, and maintenance of body tissues, including hair. This macronutrient also plays a role in fluid and pH balance in the body. Keratin is the main form of protein that provides structure to hair, and the protein you consume through your diet is used to produce this keratin. When dietary protein intake is too low to support hair growth, hair quality may be reduced and hair loss may be more likely to occur.

zinc deficiency

Zinc is a mineral that helps over 100 enzymes perform their functions. It has a role in supporting the immune system, DNA production, tissue repair, and protein building. With such functions, a zinc deficiency can manifest itself in many ways in the body. Alopecia, or hair loss, is a known side effect of zinc deficiency, likely due to zinc’s role in building proteins. Fortunately, in some studies, zinc supplementation after hair loss from a deficiency appears to help regrow hair.

Lack of iron

Another mineral with many functions in the body is iron. The role it is best known for is to support blood health and help red blood cells (RBCs) carry oxygen throughout the body. When an iron deficiency becomes significant enough, it can affect the red blood cells’ ability to properly carry oxygen, and tissues, including hair, can be affected. A 2013 study looked at the relationship between iron deficiency and hair loss, and the results suggested that iron may play a bigger role in female pattern hair loss than male pattern hair loss. While the men in this study also experienced hair loss, less than 23% of them also had low iron levels. This study suggests that a blood iron screening test may be helpful for people experiencing hair loss.


vitamins and supplements

While insufficient intake of calories and nutrients in the diet can lead to hair loss, excessive supplementation could also cause hair loss. Excess consumption of selenium, vitamin A, and vitamin E have been linked to hair loss, as well as other toxicity-related complications. A study that points out this side effect resulting from excessive supplementation also points out that excessive intake of nutritional supplements is not recommended in the absence of deficiency. With this information, it’s best to talk to your doctor and have your blood tested before you start taking supplements in hopes of reducing hair loss.

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