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Hair loss and veganism/vegetarianism

The other hair loss threads on here didn't really fit my issue so...

I've only been vegan for like a month now and before that I was a vegetarian for a year.  During that time I noticed my hair starting to get really thin around my forehead and now it feels a lot thinner in back and on top too.

I've always had really thick wavy hair so you can imagine my alarm at experiencing this out of nowhere.  I've been to the dermatologist and the doctor and they've just tested me for iron, hormone, and thyroid levels and everything's normal.

I've read that it could be due to a lack of protein but I've started eating more in beans and nuts and it hasn't helped (this has been going on for months), and besides I'm having trouble eating that many calories (since weight gain is also a concern of mine).

My question is: is this normal?  Did anyone else experience this when they stopped eating meat?  And does the thinning stop or go back to normal?

And above all - can ANYTHING make your hair grow back? (Because I've heard that peppermint essential oil can...)

I assume this is troubling because you are female. No sarcasm intended I just can't tell by your photo or profile.

Have you lost weight? Rapid weight loss can trigger hair loss. Also a deficiency of B vitamins could cause it. That is often a problem with vegans.

I'd try supplementing a multi-B as part of your daily routine. I do, but it doesn't help my hair loss. . . I'm a 47 year old male.

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I probably should have mentioned that I've been taking B-12 and iron supplements for a while.  And I haven't really lost any weight yet.

I got annoyed when my doctor dismissed the issue and told me to "deal with it," because you know, men have to deal with it all the time I guess, but it's a completely different experience for women.

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B3 (niacin), B5, B6, biotin, inositol, folic acid; and the minerals magnesium, sulfur and zinc are critical for healthy hair.

Some sources say too much animal protein and/or sodium can cause hair loss. So it's likely not that you have given up animal protein but likely some other change in your diet.

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thinning hair can be a thyroid issue.  Eating a lot of soy can cause an imbalance, so maybe just stick to fermented soy, like tempeh and soy sauce.  Sea vegetables are excellent nourishment for thyroid, and hair.  It may be worth getting your thyroid levels checked out.  Good luck.

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I have a question for the tests: what side of 'normal' were the results? high? low? Also, the omegas (3 and 6) are essential in hair growth, as is vitamin E. This is gonna sound kinda weird.... but are you depressed? Clinical depression can affect the skin and scalp. I know for me, some of the many signs I'm entering into a depressive cycle are dandruff, itchy scalp and moderate hair loss. When this occurs I know I need to augment my medication/vitamin regime to include an omega supplement.

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I think my hair is only downside of me being vegetarian.

I definitely eat better(but not perfect) now that I am a vegetarian, and my hair is still thin. It was much thicker and stronger when I wasn't a vegetarian.  My mom eats a terrible vegetarian diet and her hair falls out like crazy and is really, really thin.

I take multivitamins, and my nails are still really long and strong, but my hair has definitey suffered.

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test relults can appear normal, but imbalances can be subclinical, so you could still treat yourself with diet, herbs and supplements for low thyroid conditions. http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/

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I started having this problem a few months ago.  (Even though I wasn't properly vegetarian at the time, the amount of animal-based food in my diet has been gradually decreasing for about half a year.)  It's started to improve since I started regularly taking a multivitamin about a month ago, so I assume it was some sort of vitamin or mineral deficiency.  Now I'm back to the usual minor annoyance of a few hairs falling out in the shower or on the hairbrush, instead of giant mats of it.  It's too soon to tell if the problem is permanent:  I think I see some new growth in the thin spots, but may be kidding myself.

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you could try silica too    http://www.nakaherbs.com/pdf/silicea_gel.pdf

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I've been vegan for a month now, and in the past I had terrible hair loss when I was eating a bad diet of animal products.  Yet I know others who live really unhealthy lifestyles and somehow have thick heads of hair.  Could it be genetics?  My mother's hair started thining in her 20's and the same thing happened to me, but got better as my diet got cleaner my hair came back.

I think there is not a lot understood about female hair loss, as the answer given to you by your doctor indicates.

Good luck.  Let us know how you are doing!

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Sorry to bring up an old thread, but I was just going to post about this. I've been vegan for 3 years now, and I feel like ever since then my hair had gotten thinner and thinner. I'm a college student, my hair shouldn't be falling out just yet! :( I've taken supplements since I went vegan, both multivitamin and DHA. Every time I get a blood test, everything comes back fine, no anemia or deficiencies or anything, though when I last got one (in August), my doctor said it looked like I might be getting hypothyroid... I don't know if that's causing it or if I'm not getting enough protein or something. In college I haven't exactly been eating very well; a typical meal is cereal and rice milk for breakfast, PB&J for lunch, and lentil soup or something for dinner. It doesn't help that I can't eat soy. :(  Maybe I'm not getting enough calories? I've been trying to eat more to see if it's that. I'm just sick of asking my doctor about this and getting a 30 min lecture about how I'm going to kill myself by being vegan like so-and-so did. This just really freaks me out, I don't want to go bald or anything!  Any ideas on what I could do to fix this, or what may be causing this?

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Just a bit of a bump for this topic, because I'm having a bit of a panic attack over my hair right now.  :-\ I decided I should measure it, to see how thick it is, and in a pony tail it's about half an inch thick!! OMG. I'm really starting to worry that somehow I screwed myself up in my diet for the past 3 years, and maybe I should switch to being vegetarian instead...I just don't know if I could, I'd feel really guilty. :( Any help would be really appreciated.

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Sorry to bring up an old thread, but I was just going to post about this. I've been vegan for 3 years now, and I feel like ever since then my hair had gotten thinner and thinner. I'm a college student, my hair shouldn't be falling out just yet! :( I've taken supplements since I went vegan, both multivitamin and DHA. Every time I get a blood test, everything comes back fine, no anemia or deficiencies or anything, though when I last got one (in August), my doctor said it looked like I might be getting hypothyroid... I don't know if that's causing it or if I'm not getting enough protein or something. In college I haven't exactly been eating very well; a typical meal is cereal and rice milk for breakfast, PB&J for lunch, and lentil soup or something for dinner. It doesn't help that I can't eat soy. :(  Maybe I'm not getting enough calories? I've been trying to eat more to see if it's that. I'm just sick of asking my doctor about this and getting a 30 min lecture about how I'm going to kill myself by being vegan like so-and-so did. This just really freaks me out, I don't want to go bald or anything!  Any ideas on what I could do to fix this, or what may be causing this?

I have a question for the tests: what side of 'finel' were the results? high? low? Also, the omegas (3 and 6) are essential in hair growth, as is vitamin E. This is gonna sound kinda weird.... but are you depressed? Clinical depression can affect the skin and scalp. I know for me, some of the many signs I'm entering into a depressive cycle are dandruff, itchy scalp and moderate hair loss. When this occurs I know I need to augment my medication/vitamin regime to include an omega supplement.

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I've heard this a couple of times from new vegans, and I'm never sure what to think. If anything, my hair is too thick... and poofy... but that's another topic. I think we're kind of quick to say it's veganism, especially that it's protein. Sure, it could be, but as hanashi pointed out it could be something else.

Some things not mentioned so far:
iodine is a component of thyroid hormones; a deficiency in iodine can cause thyroid issues. normally this wouldn't be a problem if someone has iodized salt in their diet (among other things), but it's something that could be considered (but it would probably make your thyroid enlarged, which the doctor probably already checked for). Also, zinc and selenium are important for hair (and nails), but curiously too much of these things can cause abnormalities and loss too.

If you're concerned it's your diet, I'd track my diet carefully using something like nutritiondata or mypyramidtracker so that you can see the total stuff you're getting every day for a while (and make sure you include the numbers from whatever supplements you're taking). Maybe you're fine, maybe you're missing something, maybe you're getting too much of something. I don't think you can really guess it if it's a micromineral or something like that.

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Thanks guys. I'm going to go back to my doctor and try and get some more blood work done, I last had them was a few months ago, maybe things have changed or something. I don't really think I'm depressed, I feel fine otherwise. I'll try and dig up the old results to look at them. I'll try tracking what I eat too, that's a good idea. Thanks! :) I just really need to relax about it for now, and stop freaking myself out worrying about it constantly.

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Hi there,

I know it can be traumatizing.  I was bulimic for about 9 years.  My hair has always been fine, but one day I looked in the mirror and noticed I was going bald in the front.  That was the thing that made me seek recovery.

The thing that has made the most significant difference in my hair regrowth was changing my diet.  I had always been vegetarian, but I was completely unhealthy and malnourished.  The suggestion to log your daily calories into a nutrition tracker is excellent (I like fitday).  I always seem to overlook magnesium and zinc in my pursuit of iron and B-vitamins.

Other things that make a difference for me
-switch to a gentle shampoo and conditioner (I tried using every harsh "hair regrowth" formula out there, I think it only made it worse).  I'm currently using Giovanni Cleansing Tea Tree Shampoo/Conditioner
-scalp massage!  and exercise.  stimulate blood flow to your scalp.  Exercise also helps manage stress.
-take a look at your vitamin.  Excessive vitamin A can cause hair loss.  Though this is at high levels, if you're taking a vit A loaded multi and eating a significant amount in your diet, you may be getting too much.
-remember that most hair loss can be reversed!

Good luck at the doctor.  I hope (s)he can give you some more beneficial advice this time.

-Alice

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I don't know if this is true but I heard that people who lose their hair it's because they don't comb or brush it hardly. A beautician told me that. It stimulates the growth.

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I guess my hair loss has sort of tapered off - it hasn't gotten any worse but it hasn't really gotten a whole lot better, either.  A while ago I started taking a supplement with zinc, iodine, and magnesium (on top of my b-complex and iron), so maybe that had something to do with it.

I even dyed my hair again (several times actually because my blonde always turns out orangey and I hate it) and my hair did not fall out like I thought it would.  It's even got some luster back.  I've pretty much come to terms with the fact that my hair will not be as thick as it once was.  I am only in my early 20s, but my mom brought up the point that it could be thinning out as I'm getting older (because that will make me feel so much better about it...  ::) )

And to lizzysama, being a college student doesn't mean you have to sacrifice eating well.  I also learned that the hard way.  And it almost sounds as if you have stress issues which can affect your hair as well (I only say this because of the tone of your posts).  And I'm sorry to say, your doctor sounds like a douche.  If they can't deal with someone that follows a vegan diet and honestly thinks you're going to kill yourself by being vegan they aren't a very good doctor.  My family doctor recently attempted to talk my teenage brother out of being a vegetarian and needless to say we weren't happy about that.

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I have been a vegan for over a year now and am also dealing with the same problem! I'd say my hair started thinning about 3 months after I began the new diet. Before a year ago I was vegetarian for 10 years and my hair grew great! It was actually super thick (like in my picture). It's hard because I eat such a balanced diet and take all my vitamins. I'm an athlete so I am very conscious of getting everything I need. My hair has gotten so thin that I actually had to cut it short. I also had blood work done and everything was just fine. I'm going to try reducing the soy in my diet (which wast much to begin with) and check my multi vitamin and make sure there isn't too much vitamin A in it. If nothing works I may have to consider adding eggs or fish to my diet but REALLY would hate to do that and would absolutely feel like a failure. If anyone out there has figured out any solutions I would LOVE to hear them!  :)

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Our bodies continually go through changes as we age. This is one of them. Unless you're doing something horribly wrong with your diet, which would be noticeable in other ways, don't waste time worrying about your hair thinning. It's just something that happens to some people. The fact that it happened soon after you became vegan is almost certainly a coincidence. You just happened to go vegan at an age when hair starts to thin.

Thinning hair is also probably the worst reason to stop being vegan that I've ever heard, so please think some more if you're considering that. Meat is not magic. Eggs are not magic. Milk is not magic. No amount of cruelty will regrow your hair.

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