Experiencing hair loss from chemotherapy or alopecia is jarring and frustrating. But what do you do when you're experiencing hair loss and you have no idea why? If you find yourself pulling way more hair out of your hair brush than normal or find that you have to unclog your shower drain every morning, you may have a vitamin deficiency. In some instances, vitamin deficiency causes hair loss, among other baffling side effects.
To get this “hairy” situation (pun intended) under control, we’ve included details regarding how certain vitamins can affect your body differently, especially when it comes to your luscious locks.
4 Vitamin Deficiencies that Cause Hair Loss
1. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is prudent to hair growth as it stimulates the hair follicles and helps maintain thickness of existing strands. When discussing what vitamin deficiency causes hair loss, vitamin D is the most well-known, common culprit. Although not completely proven, vitamin D deficiency may be a possible cause of alopecia areata. Testing done on patients with alopecia areata have indicated lower levels of vitamin D in comparison with people who do not have alopecia. Certain medications can also affect your vitamin D levels.
Other Side Effects:
- Changes in mood
- High blood pressure
- Chronic pain
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of bone density
- Take a vitamin D supplement
- Eat foods high in vitamin D like avocado, eggs, chia seeds, fish, and nuts
- Safely increasing your time in the sun
- If caused by medications you may be on, speak with your doctor regarding alternative medicines
2. Biotin (Vitamin B7)
Biotin is considered the optimal “hair and skin” vitamin. Not only is biotin great for hair and skin—studies have shown it can keep your nails from becoming brittle or splitting or reduce blood sugar in people with diabetes.
As biotin is present in most foods, acquiring a biotin deficiency is extremely rare. A lack of biotin commonly occurs due to inherited conditions, such as a lack of biotin in the parent’s diet during pregnancy or via breast milk. Other causes for biotin deficiencies are smoking, antibiotics, chronic use of alcohol, and acne medication (to name a few).
Other Side Effects:
- Confusion or memory problems
- Muscle pain
- Skin rash on the face
- Take a biotin supplement
- Consume foods high in biotin, such as egg yolk, cheese, rice, various meats, and several different fruits and vegetables.
3. Vitamin A
While vitamin A is fantastic for keeping your hair healthy, it also helps support a healthy immune system, reproductive system, vision, healthy skin, teeth, liver, kidneys, lungs, and bones. (WOW!)
Interestingly enough, having too little OR too much vitamin A can result in hair loss either way. Too much vitamin A can lead to enhanced toxicity levels in your body, meaning you must cut back on your daily intake and allow you liver to work through any reserves currently stored. Because most vitamin A comes from yellow, red, orange, and dark green vegetables, the majority of folks that experience high toxicity levels are either taking supplements or using a hair treatment to promote growth.
Other Side Effects:
- Dry skin
- Dry eyes
- Unbalanced immune system
- For a vitamin A deficiency, you should try to ingest more foods high in vitamin A such as green, leafy vegetables, dark yellow or orange fruits and veggies, liver, eggs, and dairy products.
- If you have too much vitamin A in your system, take a look at what you are ingesting or possible medications/creams you may be using that would cause an increase in vitamin A levels. Dial back the amount you’re using and over time. As your levels stabilize you should see more hair growth.
Iron is essential for your body to function as it works to create hemoglobin, which helps carry oxygen to cells. With a lack of iron in your system, your body basically will go into survival mode in order to channel oxygen to support more fundamental organs. This takes precedence over sending nutrients to the hair follicles, which may lead to hair loss. Hair loss is especially common if the iron deficiency turns into full-blown anemia.
Other side effects:
- Feeling tired
- Odd cravings for dirt/clay/ice
- Restless leg syndrome
- Feeling anxious
- Sore tongue
- Shortness of breath
- Brittle nails
- Consuming more foods with iron, such as vitamin C rich foods like berries and broccoli, meat, fish, poultry, whole grains, and leafy green veggies.
- Taking an iron supplement or received iron injections.
While we have listed some of the more common vitamin deficiencies, there are many other vitamins out there that could be connected to hair loss. If any of the symptoms listed above are ringing true, it may be time to schedule a doctor’s visit. A doctor will be able to determine what vitamin deficiency causes your hair loss (if any) with a simple blood test. Once the lab results are in, you and your doctor can work out a plan regarding how to improve your overall health with either supplements, diet changes, prescriptions, or other potential treatments. We always suggest consulting with your doctor rather than attempting to self-treat and self-diagnose.
What To Do If You Suffer From Hair Loss
No matter the cause for your hair loss, there are a lot of different cosmetic solutions to deal with hair loss and thinning. Whether your hair loss is permanent or temporary, you will likely want some kind of headcovering to help restore your confidence and make you feel more like yourself. There are many different hair loss headcoverings available:
- Clip-in extensions are a good solution for women who have lost volume in their hair due to hair thinning.
- Toppers & Wiglets might be a better option for you if your hair loss occurs on the top of the scalp. Toppers attach with pressure sensitive clips to your biological hair to cover your crown, top, or part.
- Full Wigs might be an option for you If you find that your hair loss is more extreme Try one that matches to your biological hair, or try out a new style or color! Wigs can be a fun option to explore as you navigate through hair loss.
- Hats, scarves, and turbans are a comfortable, fashion forward, and affordable way to cover up total hair loss loss or partial hair loss on top of the head.
Have you been diagnosed with any of these vitamin deficiencies or a different one? If so, what were your experiences? Let us know in the comments section below!