Hair Loss and the Keto Diet

October 30, 2018 — by Robert True
Tags: Hair Loss

Woman with thinning hairThe keto diet is a low-carb eating plan that many have found effective in encouraging significant weight loss. However, some patients have also found that an unexpected side effect of the keto diet is hair loss.

Within a few months of starting the keto diet, dieters may notice that their hair is thinning or that a significant amount of hair is falling out when they brush or shampoo.

At True & Dorin Medical Group, our doctors offer hair loss treatment to restore fullness to the hair line. However, hair loss treatment is not appropriate in all situations. Here, we discuss how the keto diet can affect hair loss, and what our New York, NY patients can do to prevent further thinning.

Reasons for Hair Loss

The keto diet is not the first low-carb diet to become trendy, and it is also not the first to cause hair loss. Many diets cause thinning or hair loss within the first few months of dietary changes.

Here are some of the reasons that the keto diet can result in hair loss:

  • Calorie deficit: When a person is losing weight, whether using the keto diet or another nutrition plan, the number of calories that they take in  decrease significantly. This is especially true with a low-carb diet, because many dieters fail to replace calories lost from carbs with calories from healthy fats and proteins. When the body experiences a calorie deficit, it naturally takes energy from non-vital systems, like hair growth.
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies: The body produces less insulin when on the keto diet. As a result, glycogen stores are depleted and the kidneys respond by excreting water and essential electrolytes, including sodium, zinc, and magnesium. Amino acids and nutrients like zinc play an important role in hair growth, so a lack of vitamins and minerals can increase the risk of hair loss.
  • Stress: Any time that the body experiences a significant change, it can cause stress. A drastic change in diet can put the body under physical and mental stress, both of which are known to cause hair loss.
  • Lack of protein: Even though the keto diet is a low carb diet, many who adopt this eating plan also drastically cut back on their protein intake. They often fear that eating too much protein will put their body out of ketosis, which is the metabolic process that helps with weight loss. Unfortunately, protein deficiency is a known cause of hair loss.

Minimizing Hair Loss

Many people find that hair loss associated with the keto diet is only temporary. Once the body adjusts to dietary changes, hair volume should be restored. However, there are some steps that individuals can take to minimize hair loss, including:

  • Take a biotin supplement
  • Ensure that calories lost from carbs are replaced with other healthy sources
  • Make sure the body is getting enough protein
  • Consider the use of collagen supplements
  • Choose foods that are rich in zinc and other important vitamins and nutrients

If hair loss continues to be a concern, it may be time to work with a hair loss specialist, such as those at True & Dorin Medical Group to see if there are other causes of hair loss, and if hair loss treatment may be necessary.

Contact Us

If you are experiencing thinning hair or significant hair loss and would like to learn more about the treatments offered at True & Dorin Medical Group, contact us at your earliest convenience.