It’s Veganuary and the numbers pledging to adopt plant-based meals are rising every year. First launched in 2014, Veganuary had convinced half a million people to go vegan for January in 2021, almost double the number in 2019
Adopting a vegan diet can lead to many health benefits, but it can also have some potentially negative effects too. A poorly planned vegan diet may not provide enough essential nutrients such as niacin, vitamin D, calcium, selenium or zinc, which can have a detrimental effect on your all-round health and wellbeing as well as potentially resulting in dietary-related hair loss.
Can a Vegan Diet Trigger Hair Loss?
Vegan diets are notoriously strict, cutting out any form of animal products. While there are some benefits to doing this, there is also a risk that the body will miss out on important vitamins and minerals.
Hair loss in vegans can sometimes occur due to deficiencies in certain nutrients essential for hair growth. These include iron, protein, zinc, and vitamin B12 – nutrients traditionally sourced from animal products. A sudden or significant reduction in these nutrients can disrupt hair growth cycles, leading to hair thinning or shedding.
Rapid weight loss often associated with a drastic dietary change can also contribute to hair loss. It’s important to note that not all vegans will experience hair loss; it largely depends on ensuring you are consuming a well-balanced and nutrient-rich diet.
Is Diet Related Hair Loss Permanent?
Diet-related hair loss, particularly due to nutrient deficiencies, isn’t usually permanent. Once the deficiency is addressed and the body receives adequate nutrition, hair growth typically resumes its normal cycle.
It’s crucial to identify which nutrients are lacking in your diet and find plant-based sources or supplements to replenish them.
If you’re concerned about hair loss after switching to a vegan diet, it’s recommended to monitor nutrient intake closely and consult with a healthcare provider or a nutritionist. They can provide guidance on maintaining a balanced diet that supports hair health.
Preventing Hair Loss on a Vegan Diet
Preventing hair loss on a vegan diet involves careful planning and being aware of the hair’s nutritional needs. Incorporating a variety of plant-based protein sources, such as lentils, beans, and quinoa, can help meet protein requirements.
Foods rich in iron, like spinach, kale, and fortified cereals, should be regular parts of your meals. Including nuts and seeds can also boost your intake of zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for hair health.
It’s also essential to consider vitamin B12 supplementation, as this vitamin is primarily found in animal products. Keeping track of your overall calorie intake ensures that you’re consuming enough energy to support your body’s functions, including hair growth.
If you’re experiencing sudden hair loss though it’s also important to consider other factors that could be contributing to hair loss and seeking a diagnosis from a dermatologist that specialises in hair loss.