Many people - especially men - begin to notice early hair loss after going vegan. Some simply attribute this to their genetics and assume nothing can be done about it. In reality, the cause could lie in what you put on your plate.
Vegan and vegetarian diets have seen a boost in popularity in recent years. Between 2006 and 2016, the number of people who eliminated meat, dairy, and other animal products from their food choices has skyrocketed by 360 percent. This is due in part to certain celebrities who have adapted to this lifestyle. Famous names like Beyonce, Jared Leto, and Natalie Portman claim that cutting meat has improved their weight and helped them maintain a healthy figure. No surprise, this in turn has had a strong influence on the general population.
However, there's reason to believe that a meatless diet could deprive a person of the vital nutrients required for healthy hair growth.
Foods like pork, poultry, and red meat are rich in iron. Iron deficiency is typically linked with anemia, but it can also lead to early hair loss. While it's certainly possible to find iron in other plant-based foods such as beans, dried fruit, and spinach, it's equally as easy to not consume enough to maintain healthy hair follicles. For that reason, it's generally recommended that those on vegetarian and vegan diets consider taking a supplement.
Another possible dietary link to hair loss is a deficiency in vitamin D3. This is a somewhat common problem regardless of veganism or meat diets, and the lack of it can have other health implications besides thinning hair or patchy baldness. Besides using a supplement, vegans can find this nutrient in other sources. Various kinds of mushrooms, orange juice, almond milk, and soy yogurt are foods high in vitamin D3, and being outside in natural light provides a healthy boost, too.
Vegans who lack a healthy amount of vitamin B12 may experience fatigue in addition to early hair loss. It's required for healthy body functions, but naturally, it's only found in animal based products. To counteract this issue, many vegan foods are fortified with vitamin B12, and many supplement companies produce vegan vitamins that are not made with animal products.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3s are important nutrients found mainly in fatty fish and seafood products. Regardless of whether or not you're vegan, getting enough of this in your diet is a must for everyone. Omega 3s are so essential for healthy hair growth because they aid our cells in doing their job of renewing themselves and keeping us healthy. Besides meats and fish, it can be found in chia and flax, and algae-based supplement are great alternatives as well.
It can be a major challenge for vegans and vegetarians to get enough protein in their diets. Meat and animal products are the most obvious sources for this nutrient, so those whose diets cut them out are more prone to hair loss. However, there are several plant-based alternatives, including nuts and legumes. Several vegetables - such as broccoli, potatoes, and avocado - also offer high doses of protein.
Are You a Vegan Experiencing Hair Loss?
Going vegan has been shown to have countless health benefits. Plant-based diets have been linked to increased energy levels, weight loss, a lower risk of developing cancer, and better heart health. However, adjusting to such a diet takes time and can ultimately lead to short-term hair loss.
If you're a vegan and your hair is thinning out, don't hesitate to contact us at Mane Image for a free consultation. We'll work with you to identify the cause and figure out the best solution.