The Ketogenic Diet and Hair Loss
How to Avoid Prevent or Reverse Hair Loss While Dieting
The ketogenic diet, otherwise known as the keto diet, is all the rage. Millions of people have shed millions of pounds by going on this low carb, high fat, moderate protein diet. While weight loss from the keto diet is undeniable, there may be a loss you don't want. The keto diet is associated with an increased risk of hair loss. The good news is there are things you can do to prevent or reverse this hair loss.
What is the Keto Diet?
The keto diet is named that because it puts your body into a state called ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic process. When your body doesn't have enough glucose (sugar) for energy, it burns stored fat. The burning of fat leads to a buildup of chemicals called ketones, thus the name the ketogenic diet. Whether this state is good or bad for your body is unknown. We do know it's not good for hair growth.
Diet and Hair Health
Dermatologists recognize diet plays an essential role in hair health. Hair is made of keratin. Proteins are the building blocks of keratin. So, adequate amounts of protein are necessary for hair health. But, protein is just the beginning. Other nutrients, including micronutrients, play a key role in having healthy hair. Good circulation is also vital for healthy scalp and hair.
The ketogenic diet is fairly high in protein. You might think eating all of that protein would be great for your hair. However, the keto diet is very restrictive. By limiting what you eat so severely, your body experiences increased physiological stress. Stress contributes to hair loss.
Also, your body may not be getting the proper nutrients to have long and healthy hair. A quick Google search or a trip to hair loss forums confirms that many people are experiencing hair loss due to this diet. Every day people are going to their dermatologists with complaints about hair loss caused by the ketogenic diet.
The keto diet hair loss is comparable to the hair loss caused by the hormonal shift after having a baby. The hair loss is reversible. But, that may be little consolation when you see more and more hair in your shower drain.
How The Keto Diet Causes Hair Loss
There are several reasons why the keto diet (and many other types of diets) can cause hair loss.
Large Calorie Deficits
First, when your body experiences large calorie deficits, burning more calories than you are taking in, it shuts down non-vital processes. Your body doesn't consider growing hair to be a high priority in staying alive. So, when it encounter the stress associated with these calorie deficits, growing hair slows. If the deficits are too large for too long, you begin to lose hair.
Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies
Vitamin deficiency has a direct link to reduced hair growth and hair loss. A lack of amino acids and micronutrients will cause hair loss.
As you eat fewer carbohydrates, your body makes less insulin. You have decreased glycogen stores. Your kidneys excrete water which carries important electrolytes containing minerals like zinc, magnesium, potassium, and iodine. You must replace those vitamins and minerals to maintain healthy hair.
As mentioned earlier, stress is harmful to hair growth. Going on a highly restrictive diet causes your body to experience stress. Stress can lead to alopecia areata, which is where there is hair loss in clumps. Stress can also lead to telogen effluvium, which is when an abnormal number of hairs on your hair go into the "rest phase" technically called the telogen phase. Telogen is the phase where the hair is ready to fall out. Telogen effluvium typically lasts for two to three months. But, it can be treated (see below).
Lack of Biotin
We talked about vitamin deficiency above. The most important vitamin for hair growth is biotin. Biotin helps your body convert food into energy. Supplementing with biotin is one of the keys to avoiding ketosis induced hair loss.
Lack of Protein
Believe it or not, many keto dieters don't get enough protein. There is a misconception among beginners of the keto diet that too much protein will knock them out of ketosis.
Supplementing While on the Keto Diet
If you're on a ketogenic diet, there is something you can do to help with the hair loss before you go to see a dermatologist. Hair vitamins like Treasured Locks H2G Hair Growth Supplement can provide essential nutrients missing from the keto diet and reverse this type of hair loss. If you are deficient in protein, our H2G Hair Strength Supplement will provide the necessary collagen you need while you're on the diet.
If you're considering the keto diet, start taking a hair growth vitamin when you begin the diet.
There are several nutrients you will want to supplement if you're going on a restrictive diet such as the keto diet which may lead to hair loss.
In addition to these supplements drinks with electrolytes like Gatorade and Pedialyte can be beneficial. Oiling the scalp is also helpful.
These essential nutrients are provided by our Treasured Locks line of products:
- Biotin- in our H2G Hair Growth Supplement and BioChooz Gummy
- MSM- be found in our H2G Hair Growth Supplement
- Collagen- in our H2G Hair Strength Supplement
- Zinc- in our H2G Hair Growth Supplement and BioChooz Gummy
- Oiling your scalp with a natural oil can help as well- H2G Hair Growth Serum provides needed nutrients directly to the scalp.
If the hair loss has gotten to the point where you see a bald spot, you can use a product like Roots Salon Professional CARE, a topical applied to the scalp twice a day to deliver hair growing ingredients directly to the follicles (roots) of the hair. CARE can also be used before hair loss begins to prevent hair loss. The earlier you use CARE, the better.