Nutrition and Its Importance in Hair Loss

In order to stop or treat hair loss, it is necessary to know the cause of hair loss first. Hair loss can be genetic, as well as due to various diseases, nutritional deficiencies, or stress. Even if the diet is effective in stress-induced hair loss, the problem will continue as long as the stress source is not eliminated. The type of hair loss in which food supplements are most effective in hair loss is of course the type of hair loss caused by nutritional deficiency.

For the healthy growth of hair, nutritional factors such as the importance of the foods we eat, the levels of vitamins we consume, healthy nutrition, and the preference of healthy foods may be more important than the creams, shampoos, or treatments we apply to our hair. It is possible to say that the food supplement works at a certain rate, especially if hair loss is not experienced due to a certain disease. In genetic hair loss, it has been observed that a long-term balanced and healthy diet slows down hair loss to a certain extent, even if it does not eliminate it.

Due to the busy working environment, traffic, and fast foods or hormonal foods that have taken their place in the modern diet, many people cannot be fed healthy and regularly. People who are not even aware of this situation in an intense rush, easily pass their meals and unfortunately see the concept of nutrition as “just filling”. Bad habits related to nutrition constitute one of the main causes of anemia and hair loss problems, which are common in young people. When people with intense hair loss notice this, they should first go to the doctor for the necessary tests.

The cause of hair loss can be quickly revealed by a blood test and a doctor’s examination. In this process, balancing your diet and giving weight to foods that may be beneficial for your hair will give positive results. Among the foods that are good against hair loss are green leafy vegetables that are rich in iron. Thinning and loss of hair, which is a characteristic feature of iron deficiency, can be eliminated by regular support from green vegetables. Vitamin e has an important place in the growth and normal growth cycle of the hair. Vitamin E, sulfur, and essential oils, which are abundant in nuts, contribute to the nourishment of the hair.

Walnut, hazelnut, and almond give the hair a natural shine and strengthen the hair. Calcium and protein accelerate hair growth and growth. Thanks to yogurt, which is a rich source of calcium, you can ensure that your hair is nourished. Due to its intense zinc content, seafood such as shrimp, fish, and mussels are included in the balanced diet list. Zinc helps balance hormones while strengthening hair follicles. Carrot, known for its benefits to the eyes, should be consumed in order for the hair follicles to be healthy and robust due to the density of vitamin A protecting the scalp.

Since hair strands are made of protein, protein, and B vitamins that are taken into the body through nutrition or food supplement methods are very important for hair. You should choose to get your protein from lean foods, and the positive effects of soybeans on hair have been the subject of research. Male pattern hair loss is sensitive to nutrition. Animal-based food-based high oil may adversely affect hair follicles by increasing testosterone levels. Unfortunately, there is still no treatment method to stop male pattern hair loss. Male pattern hair loss can be reduced with a carefully prepared diet program containing low fat.

People who cannot succeed in a healthy and balanced diet can get the nutrients necessary for their bodies thanks to food supplements and vitamins. There is an issue that deserves attention and is very underestimated today. Without analyzing what our body needs or not, medicines bought from the pharmacy and used unconsciously can cause more harm than good. A doctor should be consulted before using food supplements. Additional nutritional supplements and vitamins should not be used indiscriminately. Do not forget that the excess of some vitamins in the body also causes hair loss.

The Effect of Nutrition in Hair Loss

Hair loss may occur due to endless reasons such as insufficient and unbalanced nutrition, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, anemia, hormonal imbalances, allergies and fungal infections, some drugs used in diseases such as epilepsy, cancer, familial-hereditary predisposition, hyper or hypothyroid, childbirth, and long anesthesia. surgical operations, stress, frequent perming, straightening, bleaching and dyeing procedures, poor quality care products, tight collections such as braids, ponytails that keep the hair constantly tight, combing, or brushing the hair with frequent combs, chlorine in the pools, etc.

However, regardless of the reason for hair loss; If you can maintain adequate and balanced nutrition for a lifetime, you can preserve most of your hair. As it is known, hair reaches the minerals and nutrients it needs through the blood. Well-nourished hair thickens. So when you feel that your hair is getting thicker, you can understand that you are feeding your hair correctly. I will explain below what should be considered in nutrition against hair loss.

It is reported that more or less work of the thyroid gland plays an important role in hair loss. Therefore, if you have hair loss, you should first go through a thyroid examination. Your job will be easier after your thyroid hormones are balanced. The use of iodized salt is always a healthy way and important for thyroids. When buying table salt, you should especially prefer the ones with the phrase “iodized”.

Anemia is an important cause of hair loss. For this reason, iron, which is a blood-forming mineral, must take an important place in our diet. Frequent and abundant consumption of foods containing iron greatly reduces iron deficiency. Thus, the problem of anemia is overcome and hair loss stops. The foods containing the most iron are:

  • Thyme, mint, basil, cardamom, black pepper, sesame, flax seeds
  • Pine nuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds
  • Red meat (tenderloin, steak, cutlet, skewer, etc.)
  • Tahini, molasses
  • Dry beans, kidney beans, chickpeas
  • Egg

In order for all iron to be absorbed from the intestines, it needs a carrier. This carrier is vitamin C. Vitamin C allows iron to pass into the blood. In other words, vitamin C must be in the environment in order for the journey of iron to pass from the intestines to the blood. Therefore, foods containing iron; Especially when foods such as red meat, eggs, tahini, and molasses are consumed, it is necessary to consume foods that contain plenty of vitamin C. It is not right to eat bran bread with foods with high iron content. Because of the high rate of phytate found in bran prevents iron absorption. For this reason, it may not be right to eat bran bread at every random meal. The foods containing the most vitamin C are:

  • Rosehip, parsley, dill,
  • Green pepper, red pepper, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, red cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, okra, green beans, fresh peas, potatoes
  • Kiwi, strawberry, orange, tangerine, lemon, watermelon, melon, apple, pear

Another reason for poor absorption of iron from the intestines is intestinal parasites. It is necessary to get rid of parasites, as they will be common to every iron taken with food in the intestines and thus cause anemia. Another mineral that plays a role in hair loss is zinc. In cases where zinc deficiency is at a high level, hair loss can be seen. For this reason, it is important to include foods containing zinc in daily diet. Intestinal parasites are common to zinc, just as they are common to every iron we eat. Thus, the importance of cleansing the intestines from parasites is revealed once again.

Just like iron, it is not right to eat bran bread with foods that are high in zinc. The high rate of phytate in bran also prevents zinc absorption. The most zinc-containing foods are:

  • Fishes
  • Mussel
  • Mushroom
  • Almond
  • Walnut

Biotin, one of the B group vitamins, plays an important role in hair loss and even premature hair whitening and nail breakage. Biotin deficiency occurs in individuals who use alcohol frequently and excessively. In other words, hair loss and thinning are much higher in individuals with high alcohol consumption than individuals who do not use alcohol or use it very little. In addition, biotin deficiencies can be observed in individuals who use antibiotics for a long time.

The food that contains the most biotin content is the egg. However, it is important that the egg especially the whites are fully cooked. Because, if the white is not cooked until it solidifies, the avidin protein in the egg white binds the necessary biotin and the metabolism cannot use the biotin. It is important to pay attention to this detail. Never give yourself or your children raw eggs. While it does not matter if the yolk is soft, the white must be solidified.

Biotin is a vitamin that is well known to the intestines because some of this substance is produced by the body itself. But the body’s production is sometimes not enough; In this case, a small supplement to be made from outside in order to prevent hair loss will be sufficient for the biotin requirement. One of the most important nutritional factors of hair loss is protein. Insufficient protein nutrition causes hair strands to become lifeless. As long as the inadequate and unbalanced nutrition continues, these lifeless hair strands cannot regenerate and begin to fall out. For this reason, there is an endless benefit to paying special attention to protein in a sufficient and balanced diet. The most protein-rich foods are:

  • Red meat, chicken, fish
  • Cheese, yogurt, milk, eggs, caviar
  • Chickpeas, lentils, soybeans, mushrooms
  • Peanuts, pumpkin seeds
  • Cumin

Effects such as hair loss, scaling, and dandruff are also observed in individuals who eat excessively fat-free. Therefore, you should be careful not to eat excessively fat-free in your daily diet. It is appropriate to use the healthiest oils, olive oil, and canola oil.

Nutrition Recommendations to Prevent Hair Loss

The foods you eat or do not eat can lie behind problems such as hair loss. The easiest thing to do to make the hair look brighter and more vibrant and prevent hair loss is to feed them from the inside out. A lot of research is done for the sake of capturing the perfect beauty look. Only serious budgets are invested in research and cosmetics for anti-aging products. So, are we not missing something that is actually much more important to be healthy beyond looking beautiful? We can obtain these beauty elements, which are a sign of good general health, such as shining hair, making the skin look more vivid, and growing nails, best by feeding from the inside, not from the outside.

The only way you will feel “natural” about your hair or skin is to nourish it from the inside out as long as you live. Sugar, salt, starch, oil, and processed foods loaded with chemicals make the skin dull and hair neglected. Cells and processes that support strong and vibrant hair, as well as skin, are related to a balanced diet. The foods you eat or do not eat can lie behind problems such as hair loss. For example; While poor nutrition can quickly cause pimples on your skin or dry, pale skin may appear, it may take several months for a nutritional deficiency or improper diet to show its effects on the hair.

At this point, when you start a healthy eating process, it will naturally take longer to get positive results. So, be patient and follow nutritional advice to prevent hair loss. Here you will find a small list of “must-have” foods in your dietary habits to achieve healthy hair and prevent hair loss, as well as foods that cause hair loss, that is, “avoid”.

Recommended Foods to Prevent Hair Loss

  • Foods rich in fatty acids: Omega-3 Fatty Acids nourish both hair strands and follicles, promoting healthy hair growth and the process of hair making it more flexible. In this way, you will encounter problems such as hair loss and hair fractures with less breakage.

Rich Omega-rich foods: Flaxseed, walnuts, salmon, tuna, Brussels sprouts

  • Zinc: It helps to keep your scalp and strands healthy by regulating the levels of testosterone and other hormones in the body, maintaining a balanced production of oil-secreting glands in the scalp, increasing cell formation and repair.

Zinc-rich foods: Chickpeas, wheat germ, oysters, beef, beef liver, steak.

  • Protein: Protein is one of the basic components of hair. Therefore, a lack of protein can lead to premature graying and poor hair health. For shiny hair, high-quality, naturally rich foods should be consumed.

Protein-rich foods: Yogurt, egg yolk, cabbage, peanuts, beans, peas, lentils, red meat, chicken, turkey.

  • Iron: Iron helps deliver critical oxygen and nutrients to the body’s cells, including your scalp. In fact, removing iron deficiency, which can be treated quickly, improves the health of your hair.

Iron-rich foods: Dark green leafy greens (spinach), whole grains, beans, red meat, turkey, egg yolks, oysters, mussels

  • Vitamins A and C: Both vitamins separate Sebum, which is an oily substance that prevents hair loss and holds the hair by triggering the hair follicles. Vitamin C also increases iron production.

Foods rich in vitamins A and C: Swiss chard, spinach, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, zucchini, blueberries.

  • Magnesium: Magnesium deficiency contributes to inflammation, a major cause of hair loss in both men and women.

Magnesium-rich foods: Almonds, spinach, cashews, lentils, brown rice

  • Selenium: It is a trace element that helps the body produce selenoproteins that regulate reproduction, metabolism, DNA synthesis, and immunity, and also stimulates hair follicles to stimulate new cell formation.

Selenium-rich foods: Tuna, shrimp sardines, ham.

Foods Effective Against Hair Loss

Vitamins, minerals, and proteins found in foods reach the hair follicles through blood and protect and strengthen the hair structure. Therefore, if you do not consume enough foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and proteins, this habit can cause your hair to be dry, brittle, and dull, and worse still, it can cause hair loss.

Adequate and balanced nutrition is extremely important for healthy hair. By consuming nutrient-rich foods and avoiding hair-damaging foods such as salt and sugar, you can make your hair thick, shiny, and strong, and even delay the whitening time. Although all healthy foods have an effect on our hair, there are some foods that have special importance with the vitamins and minerals they contain.

  • Mandarin

Thanks to its vitamin C content, tangerine helps to produce collagen that strengthens the capillaries that nourish the hair strands. It also strengthens the hair by increasing the iron absorption in the body. The B vitamins in tangerine also enable hair to grow faster, reduce hair loss, and slow the graying process. For healthy hair, it is useful to consume 2-3 small tangerines every day.

  • Salmon

Salmon is a fish rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Since our body cannot produce these healthy fats by itself, you need to get them from food or supplements. Thanks to Omega 3, hair looks brighter and more vibrant. You can choose to eat salmon twice a week.

  • Yogurt

Yogurt contains pantothenic acid, called vitamin B5. Thanks to this vitamin, it prevents hair thinning and hair loss problems. Vitamin B5 has a protective structure in the scalp by accelerating the blood flow in the scalp. You can consume 2 bowls of yogurt a day.

  • Carrot

Carrots are rich in beta carotene, in other words, vitamin A. Vitamin A is required by the body to make sebum. Sebum is an oily substance created by our hair and provides natural care for a healthy scalp. Dandruff and dry hair can be a problem without sebum. For this reason, do not miss the carrot rich in vitamin A from your salads in winter.

  • Cinnamon

It contributes to the transportation of oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicles thanks to the increase of blood circulation in the body. With this effect, it strengthens and cares for the hair follicles. You can consume cinnamon by adding it to your tea or fruits.

  • Egg

Biotin deficiency in the body causes hair breakage and causes dandruff in the scalp. Egg contains high amounts of biotin. Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin. Eggs are also the best source of protein. In this way, it nourishes the hair that has a protein structure and protects its health. You can consume 1 egg every day.

  • Oat

Oats is a food rich in iron, fiber, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which accelerate hair growth and make it thick and healthy. After cooking the oats with milk, you can add fruits, nuts, and cinnamon and consume it for breakfast.

  • Lentil

Lentils, which contain protein, iron, zinc, and biotin, also contain plenty of folic acids. Folic acid nourishes the structure of red blood cells in the skin and scalp. It ensures that the scalp is saturated with oxygen. Thanks to these properties, it prepares the ground for new hair formation and strengthens the hair. You can consume lentils in your salads or as a pot meal 2-3 times a week.

  • Spinach

Spinach contains vitamin A, iron, beta carotene, folate, and vitamin C. These minerals are very important for the hair and scalp. It moisturizes and strengthens the hair. Iron is an especially important mineral for hair. Iron deficiency in the body is the main cause of hair loss. Spinach is a food rich in iron. When combined with red meat, which is rich in iron, its bio-usefulness increases. For example, spinach with minced meat is a food rich in iron and is the right food choice for those who suffer from hair loss.

  • Nuts

Nuts are foods rich in vitamin E, selenium, and zinc. Thanks to these minerals, they strengthen the hair structure. Cashew provides healthy hair growth with the high biotin it contains. Walnut also prevents hair breakage thanks to the elastin it contains. Especially pistachio is good for baldness problems seen in men. You can consume 2 whole walnuts or 10 cashews/pistachios every day.

Nutrition Tips for Strengthening Hair in Women

I am sure there is no woman who does not want to have shiny, voluminous, and bushy hair. Many factors such as genetic and ethnic origin, hormonal conditions, disease, drug use, frequent use of hair styling tools, seasonal changes, malnutrition, and irregular lifestyle are effective in hair loss in women. It is also possible to say that hair loss can reduce women’s self-confidence and trigger depression and unhappiness. But did you know that nutrition is one of the most important weapons that prevent hair loss in women? I would like to share with you my super diet list that will help you to have strong and vibrant hair while also supporting you to stay fit.

Hair follicles are the structures that make up your hair and allow it to grow back when it is shed. Hair follicles exhibit tremendous cellular activity and have the capacity to rapidly renew itself after the intestinal epithelium and bone marrow in the body. Hair growth occurs in a cycle. The growth process, which lasts for 2–5 years, is followed by a rest phase of about three months in which the hair is shed to replace them. In this cycle, while the hair follicles renew themselves rapidly, general health and adequate nutrient intake are important. The hair growth cycle may be adversely affected, especially due to other external factors such as insufficient intake of micronutrients, aging or disease, and continuous heat application to the hair.

While it is normal for 50-100 hair strands to break per day, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, more than 100 hair strands per day is clinically called hair loss. Common medications used to treat hair loss include a variety of medications that limit the activity and production of androgen, the male hormone. It is also common to use various lotions, shampoos, sprays, and masks to strengthen the hair follicles. Hair loss develops in connection with various diseases and endocrine disorders. Its relationship with metabolic syndrome, hypothyroidism, type 2 diabetes, and the polycystic ovarian syndrome has been shown in studies. For this reason, in order to treat hair loss, first of all, to determine the cause of hair loss and if the hair loss is caused by a disease, that disease should be treated.

Nutrition Therapy Preventing Hair Loss

A quality and balanced diet that includes healthy protein sources and rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants is an integral part of maintaining hair growth and preventing future loss or thinning, as it affects the hair structure, strength, density, weight, and growth. Common nutrient deficiencies that affect hair growth include iron and vitamins A, B, and D. Low levels of zinc, selenium, and biotin minerals in the blood are also associated with hair loss.

Adequate dietary protein can also help improve hair health. Hair fibers are mainly composed of keratin protein, indicating that adequate dietary protein intake is essential for strong, healthy hair. Most of the nutrients required for hair growth are also found in protein-rich foods. For this reason, all varieties of lean red meat containing natural healthy protein (stripped of all-white visible fats), skinless fish, skinless and gel-like oils, turkey and chicken meat, and eggs should be included in the diet in sufficient quantities.

Hair loss is common in populations with iron deficiency anemia. And especially fertile women, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers are at risk of iron deficiency. For this reason, it is of great importance for women to consume sufficient sources of iron mineral for strong hair and to treat if there is an iron deficiency. The iron mineral found in animal sources such as lean red meat, chicken meat, turkey meat, and eggs has high usability for the body. In addition, nutrition should be supplemented with foods such as molasses, dried fruits, dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, hazelnuts, peanuts, and sesame, which are less useful in the body, which are vegetable sources of iron.

Vitamin A is thought to stimulate the growth of hair follicle stem cells. Milk and dairy products, which are sources of vitamin A, eggs and dark green, orange or yellow carrots rich in beta-carotene, vegetables such as winter squash, spinach, broccoli, and fruits such as apricot, peach, and grapefruit must be included in the diet. Vitamin B3 (niacin) deficiency, called pellagra, is commonly caused by alcoholism and intestinal malabsorption and is clinically associated with hair loss. Nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, seeds such as flaxseed, sesame seeds, legumes, chicken, turkey, fish, mushrooms, wheat bran, milk, yogurt, cheese, eggs are good sources of niacin.

Vitamin D primarily plays a role in the regeneration of hair root cells and protects the cells that make up the hair root. Vitamin D is synthesized in the skin with exposure to sunlight, so direct contact of the head, face, hands, arms, feet, and legs with sunlight for half an hour every day in summer supports the production of Vitamin D. Food intake is limited, fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and herring are rich sources of vitamin D. There are also small amounts of vitamin D in cheese, egg yolk, and dairy products.

Zinc aids the functions of other nutrients, and dietary intake is important because the body is not a zinc storehouse. Zinc deficiency has been associated with hair loss and changes in hair structure, but hair loss due to zinc deficiency can be easily reversed with an adequate diet. Among animal proteins, seafood such as fish, oysters, red meat and poultry, yogurt, eggs, cheese and vegetable foods, walnuts, peanuts, and bulgur are the best sources of zinc.

Selenium helps protect against hair follicle formation and damage; Disability is rare in healthy adults living in developed countries. Selenium-rich foods such as seafood and red meat support strong hair. Biotin deficiency is rare as the body can produce it in the gut. No studies show the efficacy of using biotin to address hair loss or loss, but most existing supplements that promise improvement in hair growth contain biotin. Supplementation is not recommended without a diagnosis of biotin deficiency. However, adequate consumption of biotin-rich foods can contribute to hair health. The main dietary sources of biotin are fish, eggs, and nuts.

Insufficient consumption of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids causes hair loss. The balanced consumption of dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids supports the regeneration of the cells in the hair follicle and supports strong hair. The most common dietary sources of unsaturated fatty acids are fats and oily fish. For hair health, you should limit saturated fat intake and make room for eggs, plenty of fresh green leafy vegetables, flax seeds, purslane, Brussels sprouts, and walnuts.

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Savaş Ateş

I'm a hair loss expert. The picture was taken 10 years ago :) I have been losing my hair. So I started to learn everything about hair loss and hair transplants. I contacted a lot of hair transplant doctors. We shared our experiences. I'm writing blog posts for people who have the potential of losing their hair. I give some tips about hair transplants and medical issues too.

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