The Surprising Diets That Could Be Slowing Down Your Hair Growth

Not every diet I have ever tried has been hair-friendly. Actually, some dietary choices can stand in the way of hair growth. Once upon a time, I engaged in an overly restricted eating plan that had me missing essential nutrients.

Among other health benefits, my hair became noticeably thin. It was a sure sign that something was wrong.

Reasons for hair loss or slow growth are varied and complex. For a lot of women, genetic conditions like female pattern baldness or PCOS may be behind it while external factors include stress, use of contraceptives as well as lifestyle choices such as diet and others.

Dr Deborah Lee from Dr Fox Online Pharmacy told me that there are many different elements that make an impact on the quality of your hair.

She pointed out how important our genes are while at the same time bringing to light issues like what we eat, smoke or drink, crowded lives, poor sleep patterns, bad nutrition due to extreme exercise routines and so on that might affect our manes.

On this basis, I amended my approach to food intake. I made sure that my meals contained a variety of nutrients especially those containing iron, vitamin D, zinc, and protein all essential for healthy hair.

This shift not only improved the quality of my hair but also enhanced my overall well-being. The experience reminded me that our hair is often an indication of how well we take care of ourselves nutritionally.

In dealing with my own challenges regarding good hair health through time it has become obvious to me how true this saying is “You are what you eat”.

Celebrity Hair Stylist Laurabeth Cabot reiterated this point too and Lauren Penzi MD board-certified dermatologist at New York City’s MDCS Dermatology further supported this idea.

Why some diets hinder hair growth

Dr.Cabot advised consuming healthy food consistently provides all necessary vitamins for good hair growth.

From personal experience, however many diets I went through were not helpful on matters pertaining to the betterment of my mane. On the other hand, some diets may slow down hair growth.

I once followed a very restrictive diet that limited my intake of essential nutrients, and despite its other health benefits, I noticed a significant thinning of my hair.

It takes understanding the human hair growth cycle to appreciate how certain diets can hinder hair growth.

Dr. Lee said adding that approximately 10% of them are in anagen phase at any given time which is a period when hair grows actively spanning from three months to ten years.

During this period, for it to be productive it must have enough oxygen as well as proteins vitamins, and minerals.

She remembered examples such as sailors who had scurvy because they didn’t have enough vitamin C; this led to severe shedding among other symptoms.

Additionally, children suffering from protein-energy malnutrition resulting from kwashiorkor or marasmus lose a lot of their scalp covering. In addition, even extreme carbohydrate deficiency has been associated with alopecia.

A comprehensive review done in 2019 on nutrition and hair loss found that some micronutrients are particularly damaging to healthy follicles if they are not provided sufficiently:

• Vitamin A: Cell growth, hair cells.

• Vitamin B: Different forms of Vitamin B contribute to the strength and health of hair.

• Vitamin C: For collagen and iron absorbance.

• Vitamin D: It’s involved in hair follicle cycling.

E-vitamins: For protecting the cells of hairs from oxidative stress.

• Iron: Iron is needed for making proteins that make up the hair cell; it is more notable in women because they lose blood during their menstruation. As a matter of fact, anemia due to iron deficiency affects 12% of premenopausal British women rising to 23% among pregnant ones.

These deficiencies demonstrate that maintaining good nutrition is vital for healthy hair development. Insufficient consumption of essential nutrients weakens the process of growing hair causing premature balding and stunted growth.

From my personal experience, addressing these nutritional gaps such as in relation to iron, vitamins D and B significantly improved the condition and appearance of my mane.

It was not only about eating foods rich in these nutrients but also learning how to plan meals so as to achieve a balanced diet that supports both my hair and general health.

This change towards more holistic nutrition had a visible impact on me revealing how much impact the right diet has on our head’s health against whole body wellness.

Diets that hinder hair loss

There are several diets known to potentially hinder hair growth, some unexpected ones being high in ultra-processed foods among others.

Even vegan diets which seem healthy may have unintended consequences on our locks as I learned from speaking with experts.
High Sugar Diet: Dr. Lee talked about how a high-sugar diet can lead to spikes in insulin, adrenaline, and cortisol levels when sugary foods are consumed frequently.

This may cause systemic inflammation which severely prevents the growth of hairs on the head. The condition called telogen effluvium (TE) is often triggered by increased cortisol levels leading to massive shedding off all hair.

RELATED: Does Stress Really Lead to Gray Hair?

Further, high levels of sugar contribute to the accumulation of advanced glycation end products which can reduce protein content in hair by 50% thereby making it weaker and more liable to break.

High-Fat Diet: Popular fat-rich diets such as the ketogenic diet are primarily focused on lipids with carbohydrate intake being considerably reduced. Dr.Lee described this state as a shock to one’s body that may result in TE because of a sudden change in nutrition.

Vegan Diet: While a vegan diet offers many health benefits, it often lacks sufficient levels of certain nutrients critical for hair health, such as vitamins B12 and D, iron, zinc, iodine, and calcium. Studies show that these deficiencies can impede the normal growth of hair or even cause its fall. Vegetarians too may face similar risks if their diets are not well-rounded or supplemented accordingly.

Intermittent Fasting: Intermittent fasting is eating only within specific hours of the day which can also be shocking to our bodies. If there is such a drastic change in feeding patterns causing TE due to stress perception by the body from abrupt changes in nutrients consumed then you must start losing your hair rapidly.

RELATED: The Significance of Argan Oil in Hair Care

Weight Loss Diet: Dr. Lee cautions against too many calories for body intake. The body can lose hair when it is shocked by extreme dieting. It’s not just about counting calories, but the quality of food that matters most.

There’s a need to have a balanced protein, fruit, and vegetable intake. A daily multivitamin might be a good idea for supplementing if calorie intake is reduced in order to avoid any nutrient deficiencies.

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