Hair thinning is when one experiences mild to moderate hair loss for an extended period of time. Your hair loses its volume and gives the appearance of thinner areas of hair on your head. 

Hair thinning

Hair thinning

This is a concern for most people and many companies such as Manual, a UK company offer treatments to combat this.

A lot of factors contribute to hair loss. Medical conditions, genetics, and the aging process have been highlighted many times in the past. However, not many are aware that your diet can play a big part in it too.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how the lack of (or excess) nutrients may be linked with hair thinning. 

What is a Nutrient Deficiency?

Nutrient deficiency or malnutrition is when your body does not get enough vitamins or minerals needed to sustain itself. You may picture this happening in only the poverty-ridden places in the world, but don’t be surprised that your traditional Western diet can lack certain nutrients as well.

Now, let’s take a look at the nutrients commonly linked to hair loss:

Iron

Iron deficiency is the most common type of nutrient deficiency. Foods rich in iron include beef, chicken liver, and sardines. Contrary to popular belief, vegans and vegetarians aren’t at a higher risk of iron deficiency if their diets are well-balanced with a reasonable portion of whole grains, legumes, and nuts.

Women of reproductive age are more susceptible to iron deficiency due to excessive blood loss during their menstrual cycles. 

Iron is crucial in the process of cell growth. They are a component of an enzyme called ribonucleotide reductase. When iron levels are low, hair follicles may not be able to grow effectively, and the amount of hair you naturally shed every day outpaces the rate in which your hair grows.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A can be found naturally in many of our food sources such as leafy vegetables, eggs, and fish. This vitamin is important in cell growth. Generally speaking, if you follow a Western diet, the risk of vitamin A deficiency is unlikely.

Based on current research, there isn’t solid evidence to state that vitamin A deficiency can cause hair thinning. However, high levels of vitamin A can.

According to hairlossdoctors.com, excessive vitamin A causes hair follicles to “reach the end of the growth phase” quicker and fall off faster than the rate in which the body produces more hair.

Vitamin D

The sunshine vitamin or vitamin D is unique in the sense that it acts similarly to hormones. Currently, research has shown a link between vitamin D deficiency and alopecia areata, a disorder that causes bald patches to form. 

Vitamin D encourages hair follicle growth and your hair growth may be negatively affected when you don’t have enough of it. A natural way to get your daily dose of vitamin D is to be out and about under the sun for 10-30 minutes multiple days a week followed by a diet consisting, fatty fish, egg yolks, mushrooms, and cheese.

During the colder months where there isn’t much daylight, you should consider supplementing yourself with vitamin D, as suggested by the NHS.

Disclaimer

Although there are links between nutrient deficiencies and hair loss, there isn’t a lot of evidence that could directly correlate this to hair loss and the advice here should not be taken as medical advice.  If you are experiencing thinning hair, you should consult your dermatologist as they will assess their patients on a case-by-case basis.