When a person starts a new diet plan, he or she goes through certain changes which are not always beneficial. Likewise, hair loss is a common condition that people come across when they start to follow a keto diet. It can be a very stressful situation for beginners as they are not well aware of the situation, but you do not have to get tensed about as it is a temporary change which can be recovered easily by including certain nutrients in your diet plan and also by taking certain precautions.
The Hair Growth Cycle
We think hair is just a strand of specialized tissue of our body but there is a lot that is going underneath this strong tissue. First of all, you need to understand the anatomy of hair;
It contains two characterized structures;
The hair follicle: It is the part of the hair which present deep in the skin from where the hair growth stimulates or stops which usually depends upon the nutrient availability and chemical nerve message received by the body.
The hair shaft: This is the hardware part of the hair which you can see and touch, it is formulated of a protein known as keratin which is combined to make a strong hair strand.
Three hair follicle phases determine hair growth, loss, and regrowth.
The Anagen phase:
It is the phase of hair growth during which the hair grows about 1 cm in every y28 day’s interval, as a result, the old hair pushes up and out of the follicle point. The origin of the hair follicle determines the duration of the anagen phase such as the scalp hair stays in the anagen phase for 2 to 6 years.
The Catagen phase:
It is the phase of transition and change where hair growth stops for two or three weeks.
The Telogen phase:
It is the resting phase where the hair growth stops for almost 90 to 100 days. Only 5 % to 8 % hairs out all the percentage are in this phase while the remaining is still in the growth process. Generally, 50 to 100 telogen hair sheds per day.
Any lifestyle change can cause these phases to change which ultimately results in hair loss.
Keto Diet and Hair Loss: Your Body’s Response.
Usually, your body uses carbohydrates to fulfill its energy requirements but when you go on a high-fat and low-carb diet like keto the energy production process shifts to ketosis, which is a metabolism that utilizes fat to fuel the body. This a big change that the body goes through so it takes time to get adapted to it and also it can cause some situations that do not happen before like hair loss.
Few aspects of the ketosis process can stimulate hair loss and downfall in the health of hair follicles. Following are the most common reasons for hair loss during the keto diet:
Body’s response to exclude calories:
When the body gets fewer calories than normal for its functioning, it starts to prioritize the important systems and functions like the functioning of lungs, heart, and other organs, also for cell development. So, the body decides to give less energy to hair for growth as it is not as crucial as breathing.
Lesser nutrients availability:
On a keto diet, you reduce the intake of carbohydrates which includes various vegetables, fruits, dairy products, . In this whole scenario, you may also limit the nutrients that are needed for hair growth and maintenance. This can slow down the hair growth process or cause your hair to shed more than normal.
Common Keto Hair Loss Causes
The common causes of keto hair loss are:
Inadequate protein consumption:
If you consume low protein content on keto, which is already deficient in carbs can cause weight loss from your muscle and hair. One study was oriented about it and results was quite clear that inadequate protein consumption and Calorie restriction are two fundamental cause of hair loss.
Gut health problems:
Gut health is directly related to all the major systems of the body including hair growth, if you having gut issues, it can increase the stress levels which ultimately results in hair follicles stopping their growth. A few medical studies have concluded that the microbiome of the gut also stimulates the production of biotin which is an important hair nutrient, so the gut disorder can reduce hair growth by not getting enough nutrients.
Sudden drop in carb consumption:
A sudden drop in carb consumption is a major change in the body as the energy source shift to fats metabolism (ketosis), this change can cause higher stress levels and nutrient imbalance that can result in hair loss.
Major calorie reduction:
When your body receives fewer calories than usual, it starts to prioritize the major systems like heart, lungs, for the available energy and in this whole situation, the hair growth gets neglected which will result in hair damage and breakage.
A keto diet can restrict a few key vitamins and minerals which are essential for hair growth, so due to micronutrient deficiency, your hair growth can get affected.
Essential Nutrients to Prevent Hair Loss
Certain nutrients are required for proper hair growth and functioning, which we consume through our daily intake, however, there can be a shortage in the availability of these nutrients on the keto diet which contributes to hair loss. You can cover the damage by increasing the foods that contain these essential nutrients or take them as supplements if required. By consuming these nutrients, you can prevent hair loss on the keto diet:
Biotin is a crucial nutrient for hair growth, studies have found that the keto diet can cause the deficiency of biotin which ultimately will result in hair loss. To prevent this situation, you can increase the intake of such foods that contain biotin such as;
- Chicken liver meat
- Egg yolks
The biotin supplement option is also available, you can consume one capsule per day.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that stimulates the healthy and nourishing growth of hair. Following are the vitamin E rich foods that you can include in the diet plan to promotes hair condition:
- Almonds and peanuts
- Sunflower seed
You can also take a vitamin E supplement but make sure it does not exceed the limit of 1000 IUs in a day
Vitamin D is the key nutrient for calcium absorption and a contributor to healthy hair. Vitamin D deficiency can cause hair loss and alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss all over the body. Keto-friendly foods that are a great source of vitamin D:
- Egg’s yolk
- Fatty fish
Sunlight is also an excellent source of vitamin D, so take longer sunbaths to overcome this deficiency or a vitamin D supplement of 600 IUs is also an option.
Iron and Zinc:
Studies have shown that iron deficiency is related to hair damage, following are few food options of dietary iron that are perfect for the keto diet:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Red meat
Zinc plays a significant role in hair tissue growth and maintenance; it also makes the oil glands around the hair follicles work correctly
The keto food sources of zinc are
The Keto diet has protein in moderation which is good for hair growth and it can also solve the problem of hair loss.
The animal protein sources are:
The plant protein sources are:
- Nut butter and chia seeds
- Green vegetables such as spinach, asparagus, brussels sprouts, .
- Soybean products
A very rare unknown benefit of vitamin C is that it promotes the growth of collagen, a protein that is important for healthy hair growth. Keto-friendly foods that are a great source of vitamin C:
- Citrus fruits and berries
- Kale and mustard spinach
- Yellow pepper
Vitamin C supplements and multivitamins are also keto-approved, you can consume 90 mg of it.
Vitamin is a very crucial nutrient for hair growth, but the keto diet contains enough sources of vitamin A such as fatty fish, dairy, eggs, meat which will enhance your hair growth.
Avoid eating any vitamin A supplement as the excess of it can cause toxicity with the symptoms of headache, nausea, hair loss, joint pain. So, consuming vitamin A from food sources is more preferable to supplements.
Some Tip and Tricks to Prevent Hair Loss
There are some tips and tricks that you can use to prevent hair loss:
Avoid harsh hair products:
When your body is going through changes and adapted to the new diet, it is best to avoid the usage of harsh hair products like coloring creams, hair spray. As it can cause damage to the hairs and can make them weak.
Coconut oil is one of the best hair oils as it has a low molecular weight, it gets readily absorbed into the hairs which provides better nourishment. Several scientific studies have shown that coconut oil can cause a reduction in hair loss damage which occurs due to protein deficiency.
To enhance the growth and blood flow of hair, massage the scalp with coconut oil or
You can use a coconut oil-infused hair mask to provide moisture and less breakage.
Wash your hair with a gentle and natural shampoo rather than the one with harmful chemicals, also use a conditioner afterward, to provide moisture and nourishment.
Do not rub your washed hair with a towel, it can cause friction which can cause breaking of hair instead just wrap your hair around a towel and let it air-dry.
You less heating tools like a blow dryer, straightener, . in your hair as it can cause further damage.
Avoid excess brushing:
One of the major causes of hair damage is brushing your hair several times as it can cause hair breakage. So, try to brush your hair only once a day and for other times use your fingers as a comb for sorting out the messy hairs.
Is the Hair Loss Being Permanent or Temporary?
Seeing several hair strands on your comb can be a scary thing, specifically if you notice after following the keto diet. You can get disappointed by the diet plan, but there is no need to discourage yourself from sticking to the diet plan.
The reality is that, when you start a keto diet, your body goes through a lot of changes which can cause stress issues and nutritional deficiencies which can lead to a problem like hair loss. But the good news is that the hair loss issue is temporary, you will only face it for few days until your body gets fully adapted to the new diet.
So, there is no need to stress about it, you can minimize the causes by following certain tips which are very beneficial for hair growth and health. It is just a temporary change, not a permanent one.
Hair loss can be a cause of major concern but taking stress is not going to solve anything and also blaming the keto diet is not the prime way of controlling the situation. The right way is to, first of all, calm yourself and to know that it is a temporary condition that can easily be sorted out by just consuming healthy nutrients and by taking a little extra care of your hairs.