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Losing up to 100 strands of hair from your head every day is not necessarily a cause for concern, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. But excessive and constant hair fall indicates a problem.
There could be different reasons for hair loss, including hereditary, medical conditions (such as hormonal imbalances and immune disorders), prescription medications (like blood thinners and certain anti-depressants), and stressors like childbirth, surgery, or sudden weight loss.
But the sudden onset of thinning hair can also be a sign of nutrient deficiencies. Below are four nutritional issues that can negatively impact your locks.
Proteins are the building blocks of life. Your body uses protein to repair cells and make new ones. Protein also helps your body make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals
Hair follicles are made up of proteins, most notably keratin. Therefore, eating adequate protein is important for hair growth. A lack of protein in the diet can also lead to hair loss. You can overcome protein deficiency by including a wide variety of protein-rich foods such as eggs, meats, poultry, nuts, seeds, and seafood.
Biotin, also known as vitamin H, is essential for the production of keratin. This is the reason why biotin supplements are often marketed for hair growth. Organ meats, eggs, fish, meat, seeds, nuts, and certain vegetables (such as sweet potatoes) contain the most biotin.
Vitamin B12 is essential for overall health, including hair growth. The bottom part of the hair follicles contain blood vessels, which helps connect your follicles to your body's blood supply to deliver the oxygen and nutrients necessary for hair growth. Vitamin B12 helps produce red blood cells, which carry oxygen from our lungs to the rest of our bodies including your hair follicles. Therefore, having enough of this vitamin is essential to the hair growth process.
But our body doesn't produce vitamin B12, and so it's important to get this nutrient from your diet. Animal-based foods such as fish, poultry, meat, dairy and eggs are good sources of B12, but no plant-based foods contain this nutrient. So, if you're a vegan or vegetarian, talk to your doctor about adding B12 supplements or B12-fortified foods to your diet.
Lack of iron your body may also contribute to hair fall and even slow hair growth. Iron is essential for the production of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen for the growth and repair of cells in your body, including the cells that stimulate hair growth. Since the body doesn't produce iron on its own, it is important to eat iron-rich foods or take supplements. Foods rich in iron include red meat, pork, and poultry, seafood, beans, dark green leafy vegetables, dried fruit, as well as iron-fortified cereals, bread and pasta.
Zinc is another essential nutrient for healthy hair. This mineral plays a role in cell division, cell growth, wound healing, and the breakdown of carbohydrates. It also helps the body synthesize proteins. In fact, zinc deficiency has been identified as a key contributor in telogen effluvium hair loss, a form of temporary hair loss that usually occurs on the top of the scalp. It is especially common in people with hypothyroidism.
Oysters, red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, certain types of seafood (such as crab and lobster), whole grains, fortified breakfast cereals, dairy products are good food sources of zinc.