Nutritional Deficiency and Hair Loss

Discussions about the diffuse thinning experienced by women, usually after menopause
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haircuriosity
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2017 7:25 am

Nutritional Deficiency and Hair Loss

Post by haircuriosity »

I'm 25 this year and have been anorexic for the past 8 years. My lowest weight was 88lbs.

For the past 8 years, I've been restricting and some days are worse than others. My hairline is very obvious and it goes rather far back on my head which makes it rather obvious that my hair is thinning. However, I wouldn't say that it's thin to the point that it's very noticeable as I'm still somewhat able to hide my hairline. I have no family history of hair loss either. That sort of got me thinking and researching about the reason for hair loss. I don't know why I didn't figure out that it was my eating habits until recently. For years, I would eat only vegetables and some carbs but some days I would have a little protein or iron but barely anything substantial.

I didn't really notice my hair thinning because I drop probably less than 50 strands a day? I was obsessed to the point that I counted them and I know I lose about 20 in the shower. Previously it was nearly hitting 40 but it has slowed down since. These days it would usually be about 15 strands in the shower.

Slowly, this year my eating habits has improved where I would eat slightly more protein and iron. However, it's really only recently that I have started taking Vitamin B-50 complex (50mg B1,B2,B3,B5,B6,B8,B10,Choline 50mcg B12 (methylocobalamin),100mcg B7, 400mcg B9), Omega 3 and I've been balancing my diet. I would incorporate chia seeds, lemon juice, fruits, vegetables like spinach, broccoli, eggs (including the yolk which I've avoided for the past 8 years), fish, chicken and beef. I'm also no longer restricting my diet in any way.

These days less hair fall out but I've noticed weaker, shorter strands have been falling out. They are only 3cm or so and my general hair length is 44cm (17in). Is this normal? Do these hair fall so that stronger ones can grow in its place? This is probably the part that's confusing me because I don't think I've ever noticed new growth falling out before my old hair.

I would ask how long it would take before my hair grows back thicker again but I know it depends on an individual but would it be possible in 3-6months?
Tom Hagerty
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Re: Nutritional Deficiency and Hair Loss

Post by Tom Hagerty »

Hair follicles are sensitive to good nutrition and to bad nutrition. The hair of people who have long-term bad eating habits like those suffering from anorexia usually have weak, stringy hair; the hair of people who have nutritious eating habits often have luxuriant hair. Now that you're eating habits have changed, your hair should respond positively. Those capillaries that feed blood into the base of the hair follicle nourish the creation of new hair shafts in that area of the follicle. When the blood is rich in nutrients the newly created hair will respond with a healthy look. But your hair line has receded a bit. Sometimes a different hairline is just the result of getting older - a mature hairline.

But you said that some of the hair that falls out is short hair - hair with a tapered end. A tapered end signifies that this hair has not been cut yet. This might be an indication of "short cycling." The cycling between the growing stage (anagen) and the resting stage (telogen) might be getting shorter. Perhaps your new and improved diet will reset the cycling of your hair follicles.

It's not just the loss of hair that determines what the overall quality looks like. Most people lose about 50 telogen hairs a day. But what is important is the growth of new anagen hairs that take the place of the hairs that fall out. Now that you are getting more protein and iron and the B-complex in your diet, the balance of new and old (falling) hairs may improve.

A time frame for improvement is difficult to give, but six months seems reasonable. I hope you never drift back into that anorexic stage anymore. That can be a disaster for both your physical and psychological health.
haircuriosity
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2017 7:25 am

Re: Nutritional Deficiency and Hair Loss

Post by haircuriosity »

I was wondering, what do you mean by tapered end? Most of the short hair that fall out has a white bulb at the end and they are thin.

Is it worrying if the cycling is getting shorter, is it a bad thing? I do notice that I have quite a fair bit of thick new growth that are probably about 5cm and are much thicker than the ones that fell out.

I do indeed worry despite the fact that my hair fall has lessen but I worry if any new anagen hairs are growing out to take the place of the ones that fall out. Is it possible to know this? I have been sprouting new short, thick hair around my crown where my fringe usually is and along my hair partings.
Tom Hagerty
Site Admin
Posts: 629
Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:21 am

Re: Nutritional Deficiency and Hair Loss

Post by Tom Hagerty »

Tapered ends of hair means that the hair has never been cut. When short hair that has never been cut starts to fall out, it is a sign of short cycling. This could indicate impending pattern baldness. But you said that, "I have been sprouting new short, thick hair around my crown where my fringe usually is and along my hair partings." This is a positive sign: your hair is starting to grow in again.
haircuriosity
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2017 7:25 am

Re: Nutritional Deficiency and Hair Loss

Post by haircuriosity »

Thinking back to the past few months, I realised that I've donated blood once last year and another time this year in January. I attempted to do so again in July but my iron levels were low. This prompted me to recently have my iron, ferritin and hemoglobin levels tested.

The results I got back were:
Iron - 40
Ferritin - 10
Hemoglobin - 13.1

My iron levels were lower than the minimum of 50 while my ferritin levels were on the dot the minimum, 10.

I was given an iron supplement by my doctor that contains 30mg Carbonyl Iron (Each pill) amongst others. I'm to take that once a day for three months and then retest my levels.

The good thing is that my hair fall count is reducing and stays within 100 strands everyday so I hope that's a positive sign. Besides the supplements I'm taking everyday, I've also continued adding more heme, non-heme food which I eat every meal and have freshly squeezed lemon juice and water to aid in the absorption of my food. I've stopped drinking tea at meal time too.

My hair is still short cycling, there are hair with tapered ends that are falling. It kind of got me worried but I'm trying to think positively that it's still going through the cycles like Tom said. Some hair that fall out are thin and weak strands but some are rather thick strands. There are still a lot of short hair regrowing around my partings and the front of my hair. I'm not sure but I don't think I spot much regrowth in the crown. Maybe a couple, like less than 5?
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