Those considering making the transition to a vegan diet frequently have many questions regarding the kinds of foods they may and cannot consume, the kinds of products they can use, and other related topics. One of the questions that are asked quite frequently is about the effect that becoming vegan will have on one’s hair. As long as you maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet that does not lack any vital nutrients, switching to a vegan diet is not detrimental to your hair.
Why Do Vegans Suffer from Hair Loss?
It is imperative to remember that hair loss can be caused by more than just the food you eat. Hair loss causes can vary, ranging from an underlying health issue to stress, heredity, dietary deficits, and even deficiencies in certain nutrients.
A vegan diet has several health benefits, including weight loss, lower blood pressure, and increased life expectancy. Cutting back on meat and other animal products may have some positive effects on health, but doing so may also cause you to be deficient in essential nutrients for the growth of your hair. If you discover that you are losing your hair around the same time you started a plant-based meal, then the following could be why it’s happening to you.
To become vegan, one must eliminate all forms of meat and other foods derived from animals. If you are new to this and are not yet familiar with the various plant-based protein sources, you may experience a rapid decline in your protein intake due to this adjustment. If your body is struggling to get enough protein, one of the primary things it will do is restrict the growth of new hair so that it may save resources for more important bodily processes.
It is possible to develop a nutritional shortage if you make significant alterations to your diet but do not take steps to ensure that you obtain all the necessary nutrients. People who switch to a vegan diet frequently struggle with iron deficiency because iron is typically found in foods like red meat and whole grains.
Hair loss is a potential side effect of vitamin and mineral deficiencies, including iron and others. Because your body will slow down hair growth to conserve energy for other bodily processes, it is vital to keep a close eye on what you eat to prevent a vitamin shortfall.
Rapid Reduction in Body Fat
New vegans frequently experience a steep drop in body weight. This may occur due to eliminating a significant number of foods and beverages high in calories, such as meat. This type of quick weight loss can place a significant amount of stress which can cause your system to get confused and can disrupt the natural processes within your body. This disturbance may cause thinning of the hair.
Problems With the Thyroid
When someone transitions to a vegan diet, there is typically an increase in the amount of soy they consume. If you already have thyroid issues, consuming soy may make them worse. The situation becomes even more severe when your body does not have enough iodine. Hair loss is a common symptom of thyroid conditions, which also contributes to the condition. Therefore, it is essential to maintain a healthy balance between your iodine and soy consumption.
What To Include in Your Diet to Prevent Being a Vegan and Losing Your Hair
Even though it may seem like your vegan diet is full of iron because of the leafy green veggies and lentils you eat, the iron in plant products is much more difficult for your body to absorb and utilize than the iron that comes from animal sources. If you consume no animal products in your diet, you risk developing an iron deficiency, which can lead to symptoms such as hair loss, exhaustion, and weakness.
Protein intake usually comes up first when you tell someone you are going vegetarian or vegan. However, consuming a sufficient amount of protein while adhering to a vegan diet is still possible. It is important to know which foods should be consumed together to form full proteins.
A vegan diet is connected with low protein consumption and rapid weight loss, which could lead to hair loss. If, on the other hand, you combine different meals to create complete proteins and consume foods that have all of the amino acids, then experiencing hair loss as a vegan should not be an issue for you.
Zinc is often the mineral that gets the least consumption in vegan diets. The National Health Service (NHS) suggests a daily zinc intake of 9.5 milligrams for men and 7 milligrams for women. Zinc shortage can cause hair loss and make the hair appear dull and unmanageable.
Vitamin B12 is most commonly found in foods derived from animals, such as fish, meat, and dairy products. However, trace levels of vitamin B12 can also be found in plant-based foods derived from animals. Consuming insufficient B12 may result in hair loss and a dry scalp.
Without a supplement, it might be difficult for vegans to get enough of the vitamin B12 they need from their diet. Therefore, if you are dedicated to following a vegan diet, you want to discuss with your physician the possibility of consistently incorporating a B12 supplement into your diet.
In addition to incorporating some of these adjustments into your lifestyle, there are a few more little things you may do to prevent hair loss. These include the following:
- Washing your hair less frequently can help preserve its natural oils and prevent breakage.
- Allowing your hair to dry naturally and avoiding over-styling it, except when it’s necessary.
- Put as little effort as possible into styling your hair.
It’s typical to lose between 100 and 200 hairs per day, but you should be concerned if you lose significantly more than that. Vegan diets can either cause an increase or decrease in hair loss. However, eating a variety of complete plant foods and keeping an eye on your intake of vitamin D, iron, vitamin B12, and healthy fats is the most important thing to do when following a vegan diet.