When undergoing a serious change in weight, a lot of people experience an unexpected side effect – hair loss after weight loss. If the process of losing weight was a little too sudden or too extreme, such changes can result in a more active hair loss. While your ultimate goal might be to lose weight, it is important to also be in control of other aspects of your health that you might be sacrificing while pursuing your weight loss goal.
Why do we experience hair loss after weight loss?
Extreme calorie deficit
Over the years, multiple studies have shown that major and sudden weight loss, as well as extremely restrictive diets causes hair loss. The human hair follicle is a gentle and fragile thing, especially during its telogen phase. The relationship between these two factors has been widely studied and researched. In the time periods when you experience a large calorie deficit and rapid weight loss, the body spends less resources towards non-vital processes such as hair growth. So when your body runs on low calories for long enough then you experience a micronutrient deficiency and your hair, skin and nails tend to suffer a lot.
Too much stress
Sometimes, factors such as stress also have a strong influence on your hair growth. For example, a certain degree of hair loss after surgery is a very common side effect of your body going through stress during a major surgery.
According to research, it is one of the biggest factors standing behind hair loss. Stress can lead to triggering various hair diseases, such as for example alopecia, androgenic alopecium or female pattern baldness. Be mindful of your stress levels and your hair will definitely thank you.
Not enough vitamins
Another reason behind your hair loss after rapid weight loss could simply consist in a vitamin deficiency or a nutritional deficiency. When dieting, we tend to cut out a lot of foods that bring us the necessary nutrients and vitamins for our hair growth. For example, some studies have shown that a lack of amino acids in your diet can be responsible for this form of hair loss. In a similar way, if your diet lacks some necessary minerals such as zinc, or if your iron level is low, it will also have a negative impact on the health of your hair. A zinc deficiency, as well as an iron deficiency will both slow down hair regrowth.
In some cases, protein deficiency can be to blame for the decrease in your overall hair health. In one particular study, the research uncovered that low protein intake and extreme calorie deficit were the two main reasons responsible for loss of hair. In addition, low protein intake can make your hair brittle and dry. The recommended daily intake of protein norm is around 56 grams of protein for men and 46 grams of protein for women. So if your daily protein intake level is low or you follow a vegetarian diet, consider adding some more protein into your diet. Protein is arguably the main building block for your hair during its growth phase, or otherwise called anagen phase.
6 tips on how to prevent hair loss after weight loss:
1. Avoid extreme calorie deficits
Large calorie deficits induce a big stress on the human body. In that state of stress, the human body prioritizes certain functions over other ones, which results in poor health for your non-vital systems, such as hair growth. In order to make sure your body is “running” correctly and is not under too much stress, try avoiding diets that restrict your daily calorie intake too severely or too rapidly. For instance, try to stay away from any “crash diets” that you might be tempted to try. Instead, opt for healthy diet plans that are more gentle, even though they might take more time in order for you to achieve your perfect weight. Generally, such dietary practices result in a more sustainable and effective weight loss, as well as healthy hair growth.
2. Add certain foods to your diet to avoid nutrient deficiency
In order to make sure that you still get all the necessary vitamins and nutrients during your weight loss journey, make sure you include a variety of foods into your diet. Specifically for healthy hair, focus on foods that are rich in vitamin B (whole grain, meat, eggs), biotin (fish, seeds, nuts, sweet potatoes), vitamin C (citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppers etc), vitamin D (fish, beef liver, egg yolks etc) and fatty acid.
3. Get good sleep
Another important factor for your overall health and particularly your hair health is good sleep. The expression “beauty sleep” is no coincidence – sleep plays a very important role in regulating your hormone levels and hair regrowth, while lack of sleep may cause you to lose a certain percent of hair. The growth hormones that are produced while you sleep are crucial to your hair growth rates. Additionally, a good restorative sleep is vital for the protein synthesis of the hair, so think twice before you decide to skip a good night’s sleep.
4. Diet under supervision
In order to avoid unpleasant side effects of a quick weight loss, such as hair thinning, it is best to diet under medical supervision and lose weight at a steady pace. Before picking a diet plan, consider consulting with your doctor. Looking at your medical record and running a few tests before starting a diet can help the doctor find you a diet that is best suited for you, as well as uncovering and preventing any future health complications that could be the result of your weight loss journey.
5. Consider taking some supplements
To make your weight loss easier on your body and especially your hair, you could also consider taking additional supplements. The most well-known supplements for improving your hair health are biotin and collagen. Some research suggests that taking biotin supplement will prevent hair thinning, stimulate your hair growth cycle and help your hair grow thicker, as well as stimulating nail growth. To make your hair healthy, another option is collagen supplements, which you can find in various forms – powder, drinks, pills etc. Taking collagen as a dietary supplement will protect your hair follicles from being brittle, ensure healthy growth and improve the health of your skin underneath your hair.
6. Pay attention to your gut health
Another approach people with hair can take in order to improve the overall health of their hair and prevent hair loss after weight loss is to remember to take care of their digestive system. This might sound counterintuitive, but a well-functioning digestive system is not only crucial for your physical health, but also for your mental health. Taking care of your gut health will not only make sure that your hair is getting all the nutrients it needs and stimulate your normal hair growth, but it will also help stabilize your well-being and reduce your levels of stress.
For a list of best foods for your gut health, click here!
Even though it is possible that your increase in hair loss has to do with an extreme diet, it is important to consult your doctor before you start taking any supplements or medications. A doctor will be able to help you figure out if your hair thinning is related to a diet, a deficiency, a medical condition or a genetic disorder, which will help you take a more focused approach to tackling this problem. In addition, remember to consult a health professional if the amount of lost hair keeps growing. A doctor can find the root cause of your issue and prescribe you a treatment for hair. Keep in mind that most cases of hair loss are triggered by certain events and are temporary. Don’t get discouraged on your journey to weight loss and healthy hair!