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You may be wondering can a low carb or keto diet cause hair loss?
A low carb diet reduces the intake of carbohydrates by eliminating foods like rice, pasta, and bread from your diet.
This type of diet can also remove many fruits, whole grains, and vegetables.
Depending on the kind of diet selected, you may decide to eat large amounts of protein-rich foods and dairy products to replace the carbohydrate that is missing to fuel an Atkins diet.
Unfortunately, some people can complain of a low carb high-fat diet and hair falling out. Hormones change within in the body which results in metabolic stress that the body must handle.
Reasons Your Hair Is Falling Out?
Hair all over the body falls out every day. It is a natural process the body handles automatically.
When hair falls out, it can be for many reasons. As we age, our hair strands become finer and lose pigmentation. It affects both male and female equally.
Genetics play a big role in hair loss and is often unavoidable. Both males and females can expect to start slowly losing hair in their 30s and 40s. There is no rule here, and it can happen at any age even early to late 20s.
Women after giving birth will have significant hormonal changes going through their body. Some women experience such drastic change that the thyroid hormone malfunctions and doesn’t produce enough thyroxine resulting in hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism slows metabolism, increased sweating, weight loss, sleep problems, and the condition of hair and growth. A blood test can assess the health of your thyroid gland.
Losing and regaining weight over many years takes its toll on your metabolism and your hair. Long-term low-calorie diets are deficient in essential vitamins and minerals the body requires.
With Alopecia areata it is a distinct cause of hair loss that can occur at any age. Alopecia can happen at any time and result in complete loss of hair on the scalp and sometimes body hair also. As the cause is unexplained, treatment is difficult.
Troubles with hair loss can happen at any age of point of life for many reasons. If you are encountering significant hair loss or if your hair becomes a concern, please consult your GP to arrange a blood test.
Structure of Hair
A possible side effect of a diet low in carbohydrates is hair loss. To understand how a low-carb or keto diet causes hair loss, one must realize what hair and its growth are.
Hair is composed of two parts: the root and the strand. The root is a small bulb of tissue below the skin surface within a pocket called a follicle.
The follicle provides the root nutrients and oxygen through a network of small blood vessels. The strand is the visible part of the hair and is dead tissue.
The strand is composed of long chains of a protein called keratin and has three layers: the cuticle, medulla, and cortex.
The outside layer of the hair which is the cuticle is like scales layers and prevents the medulla and cortex from damage.
Hair growth has three phases: the telogen, catagen, and the anagen phase. During the growth phase or anagen, hair grows steadily for two or three years.
During this stage, the hair can develop to about half an inch per month, depending on several factors and heredity.
When the anagen phase finishes, the catagen phase begins lasting roughly ten days. In the resting phase or the telogen, the hair stops growing for a maximum of three months.
Almost 10 percent of all hairs enter resting phase, while the remaining 90 percent stay in the growth phase.
At the completion of the resting phase, the hair goes back to the anagen phase, where new hairs will begin to develop and brings out the old hair out of the follicle.
If you eat fewer calories or remove essential nutrients when the body needs it, this can lead to stress.
Stress from restrictive low-carb diets can make more follicles that are required to go into the telogen phase.
It is caused by the unavailability of the required nutrients in the body that will help the growth phase.
Immediately when the stress is over, the growth phase begins again, and new hairs push out the old.
If a high enough percentage were in telogen phase, this would lead to massive hair loss.
The hair loss will stop when the dieter returns to normal nutrition. This type of hair loss is known as “telogen effluvium.”
Hair Loss and Foods you Eat
Carbohydrates and protein have 4 calories per gram compared to fat which has 9 per gram.
Removing large quantities of carbs from your diet can also remove a large number of calories.
These types of low carb diets may also cause mineral and vitamin deficiencies, depending on the severity of the restriction.
The body uses carbohydrates for energy and helps all of the body processes to work effectively.
How to avoid Hair Loss on a Low Carb Diet
You may have had some experience of hair falling out on a low carb or ketogenic diet.
Low carb diets can restrict the body to get its required energy, leading it to break down fat for energy.
Also, low carb diets restrict calories by eliminating various foods from the diet.
The combination of nutritional and caloric restriction if you’re trying to lose weight puts the body under stress, which can cause hair to enter the resting stage.
It may be helpful not to limit calories but increase fat intake as you lower the carbs. Following a high fat ketogenic diet will keep you satisfied and reduce possible stress while changing to a new diet.
A natural treatment to retain hair could be using turmeric as a hair mask.
Mix turmeric with some coconut oil and massage into the scalp. Leave on for up to an hour and rinse with lukewarm water. Use daily or weekly to nourish the hair and improve circulation to the scalp.
Try and do one thing at a time. Don’t change your entire lifestyle such as fitness or HIIT exercise plan, daily routine and limit overall stress to a minimum.
One thing for certain is to make sure you are eating the most natural and healthy food you can. Replacing processed and junk meals with nutritious fresh food alternatives give your body the vitamins and minerals it requires.
Eating a balanced diet by including protein and healthy omega 3 fats help feed the hair to keep strong and shiny.
Simple switches such as cookies or cakes for fresh or frozen fruit will supply vitamin c needed for healthy hair, skin, and nails.
Swap ready prepared meals meats with 100% chicken or meat to top up iron reserves. More iron is especially needed when hair is brittle, failing out and lacking shine.
Hair loss is comparatively uncommon after beginning a low-carb diet. You may experience temporary hair loss but shouldn’t expect it to fall out regularly.
What is your experience with keto or low carbohydrate dieting and managing hair loss?