You may know how diet choices increase your risk of serious health problems like heart disease or cancer. But did you know that insufficient nutrition can affect the health and look of your hair? In fact, your hair might provide clues as to what nutrients are missing from your diet.
Here at Legacy Pain and Regenerative Medicine, Dr. Trace Alexander has advanced training in clinical nutrition. Taking a holistic approach to health and well-being, he understands how nutrition affects all aspects of your health, including your hair.
In this blog post, we want to explore how insufficient nutrition affects your hair, what to look for, and what steps you can take to improve your nutrition.
Nutrition and hair health
Shiny, smooth, thick hair are the signs of good hair health. However, what you eat can affect the look, growth, and thickness of your hair. While there’s no special diet for hair health, eating a balanced diet filled with nutrient-rich foods from all the food groups should supply your body — and hair — with everything it needs for good health.
However, the look of your hair may provide clues that your diet isn’t supplying all the nutrients you need.
Insufficient nutrition and hair
Your hair relies on a number of nutrients for growth and health. Insufficient intakes of these nutrients may cause an increase in hair shedding, a slow down in hair growth, or hair that’s thin and brittle.
It’s normal to shed up to 100 hairs a day. But if your hair is thinning or looking dull, it may indicate you’re not getting enough of these essential nutrients:
Hair is made of keratin, which is a fibrous type of protein. Not getting enough protein in your diet may cause your hair to become dry and brittle.
Insufficient intake of B vitamins may also affect the health of your hair. For example, poor intakes of niacin causes a skin condition ― known as pellagra — that leads to hair loss. In addition to niacin, healthy hair also needs adequate amounts of vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folic acid.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin your body uses to grow and develop cells, like the cells that make up your hair. You also need vitamin A to produce the oil in the scalp that naturally moisturizes your hair. Poor intakes of vitamin A may cause thinning or dull hair.
Poor intake of foods rich in zinc slows down hair growth and makes your hair more brittle.
Improving nutrition, hair, and health
The good news about insufficient nutrition and its effects on the look and health of your hair is that it’s easy to fix. We can identify the nutrient deficiencies in your diet after reviewing your usual intake, performing a physical exam, and running lab work.
Our nutrition expert works with you, designing a balanced meal plan that improves the quality of your diet. We also provide recommendations for nutritional supplements to ensure you’re getting all the essential nutrients you need.
If your hair is thinning, dry, or brittle, we can help determine if insufficient nutrition is the cause.
Give us a call at the office closest to you — we have offices in Plano and Addison, Texas — or click the “book online” button today to schedule your nutrition appointment.