For some unknown reason, I seem to be losing more hair lately. The supposed average hair loss is 70-100 hairs per day. I am guessing that mine currently is about double that rate. It's driving me nuts and causing some stress as I lose hairs every time I wash or brush my hair, and run my fingers through my hair. I'm constantly picking hair up off the bathroom floor, off my clothes, and occasionally out of my food. (Ick!) In fact, before preparing food, I've been pinning my hair back and using a sticky roller on my clothes to make sure no hairs can drop into the food. I'm this close to buying a darn hair net like those used in the food service industry!
In an effort to help stem the losses, I looked at the possibility of nutritional deficiencies related to hair loss. I'll share what I found with you along with a list of plant foods that are high in each vitamin or mineral.
NOTE: I did not confirm that any of the information about deficiencies was accurate based on scientific studies. Since I am not taking supplements in most cases, rather focusing on plant-based food sources, I decided it was not critical that the information was all necessarily true. Eating plants isn't going to harm me. By doing this research, I did realize that I rarely eat mushrooms and I don't eat beans as often as I probably could.
Possible deficiencies linked to hair loss
Possibility of anemia from heavy monthly bleeding due to my fibroid. (I might have the ferritin level in my blood measured when I get blood work done next year if the hair loss is still an issue by then. One source indicates it should be 50 mg/dl.)
Eat iron-rich foods with Vitamin C-rich foods, such as orange juice. Do not take iron supplements except under doctor’s supervision as too much iron is bad.
Food sources of iron:
Remember to take my supplement as recommended by Dr. McDougall. (See his article here.)
Zinc and calcium?
Food sources of zinc:
• Whole grains
• Nutritional yeast
Food sources of calcium:
• Dark leafy greens
• Blackstrap molasses
Food sources of magnesium:
• Dark green leafy vegetables
• Fruits or vegetables (such as bananas, dried apricots, kiwis, raspberries, guavas, and avocados)
• Nuts (such as almonds and cashews)
• Peas and beans (legumes), seeds
• Soy products (such as soy flour and tofu)
• Whole grains (such as brown rice and millet)
• Blackstrap molasses
Food sources of selenium:
• Crimini mushrooms
• Brazil nuts (no more than 1-2 per day)
• Sunflower seeds
• Brown rice
Food sources of biotin:
• Swiss chard
• Nuts (such as almonds)
My level is currently very low so I am supplementing with 50,000 IU weekly plus trying to increase my sun exposure.
Keeping sodium intake low helps keep potassium levels balanced.
Food sources of potassium:
• Cooked Brussels sprouts
• Baked potatoes
• Lima beans
It seems as if stress can impact how the body metabolizes nutrients. Aim to keep stress levels low. One way to do this is to exercise regularly.
My plan of action to keep my hair:
• Eat beans, rice, leafy greens, brassicas, and raisins daily plus mushrooms frequently.
• Switch to sweetening hot tea or grain "coffees" with blackstrap molasses.
• Exercise daily.
• Manage stress.
To reduce my stress related to the thin bundle of hair that was available to braid or pull back into a ponytail, I cut my hair short this week. I have new hair growth coming in, so shorter hair has already helped it look fuller. I have hope that making sure my food consumption covers the nutritional bases for good hair growth will be effective.