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The Connection Between Nutritional Deficiencies and Hair Loss

Nutritional deficiencies can be a cause of hair loss. Most often, diet is the culprit that contributes to alopecia due to lack of essential vitamins or minerals. Underlying medical conditions may also cause nutritional deficiencies that affect hair loss and hair regrowth. Learning more about what the body needs for optimal hair growth can be extremely beneficial. Alopecia due to vitamin or mineral deficiencies can often be corrected, and hair growth can occur as the diet is corrected.

Vitamins and Minerals That are Essential for Healthy Hair


The precise mechanisms by which iron affects hair growth are not fully understood. Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies around the world. It is possible that iron deficiency affects hair growth at the genetic level, interfering with the usually rapid cell division that takes place as hair grows from the follicle.


As with iron, the exact mechanisms involved in hair loss due to zinc deficiency is not clearly understood. Zinc is required for many biochemical reactions that control gene expression. Zinc is also known to play a role in cell replication.


A deficiency of niacin causes the debilitating medical condition known as Pellagra. Hair loss is a common presentation in patients with Pellagra.

Fatty Acids

A deficiency of fatty acids, including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can cause several changes in the hair: lightening of the hair, loss of hair on the scalp and loss of eyebrows.


Protein deficiency is known to cause thinning of the hair and alopecia.

Making healthy changes to your diet can both prevent and reverse the effects of alopecia caused by malnutrition. Any significant change to diet should be made after consulting a dietician or a doctor. Veganism and vegetarianism have been popularized in recent years. Suddenly eliminating meat and increasing vegetables is likely to result in deficiencies of calories, protein, iron and important micronutrients. This combination of deficiencies does cause hair loss.

Avoid Using Supplements to Prevent Hair Loss

Dietary supplements are not advised for treating hair loss and, in fact, taking supplements of vitamin A, vitamin E, and selenium have been identified as a cause of hair loss. Supplements are not regulated by the FDA, and the claims that many brands make about causing healthy hair do not appear to be true. Over supplementation can also cause multiple types of toxicity.

Taking too much of a vitamin or mineral as a supplement to diet can cause overall poor health. It is necessary to work with a team of health and hair loss professionals to determine the cause of hair loss and the cause of any nutritional deficiencies.

The best way to determine the cause of hair loss and which hair loss solution is right for you is to meet privately with a professional Transitions of Wisconsin hair loss specialist. If you’re interested in scheduling a free consultation, contact us today!