Hair Loss And Growth

Surprising Causes of Hair Loss : Metabolism and Hair Loss

by Raychel Ag, August 10, 2021

Surprising Causes of Hair Loss : Metabolism and Hair Loss

Hair loss is caused by many things, with your metabolism and nutrition habits being two major factors. While both can adversely affect your locks, there are many things you could do to help reverse their ill effects.

The Link Between Metabolism and Nutrition

Metabolism refers to the essential chemical reactions in the human body. These include breathing, digesting, and repairing cells, among many cells. To make these processes possible, the body makes use of the energy you get from the food you eat. As such, proper nutrition can influence your body's metabolism. 

Although this is the case, your metabolic rate can also be affected by other things. These include your gender, age, muscle to fat ratio, hormone function, and physical activity.

Metabolism and Hair Loss 

Metabolic disorders can have a huge impact on your hair. Here are some conditions that may affect your strands: 

  • Metabolic Syndrome

This disorder is characterized by the following:

  • A waist circumference of >88 cm for women and >102 cm for men
  • A glucose level of >100 mg/dl
  • Blood pressure of >130/85 even while on medications
  • HDL of >50 mg/dl for women and >40 mg/dl for men
  • Triglyceride level of 150 mg/dl

According to a study, the insulin resistance and impaired glucose regulation that occur in this disorder are to blame for the hair loss. These trigger the release of insulin, which activates androgen production in the body. This may trigger the conversion of dihydrotestosterone, a hormone that shrinks the hair follicles – a mechanism that contributes to hair loss. 

  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

The same mechanism mentioned above is seen in PCOS. According to a study, women who suffer from this condition suffer from insulin resistance. As established, this could lead to a spike in androgens – the DHTs that affect hair growth in the scalp. 

Apart from experiencing menstrual problems, acne, and hirsutism, women with PCOS often suffer from frontal alopecia. This is characterized by progressive hair loss near the forehead area. 

  • Hypothyroidism

Also known as an underactive thyroid, this condition results from insufficient amounts of thyroid hormones. Since these substances affect your metabolism, it could affect the growth of your hair – as well as your skin and nails. With an underactive thyroid, your locks become brittle, making them prone to breakage and hair fall.

  • Hyperthyroidism

In contrast to hypothyroidism, an overactive thyroid could lead to excessive amounts of thyroid hormones. This leads to a faster metabolic rate, which could lead to palpitations, weight loss, irritability, diarrhea, among many other things. Unfortunately, a fast metabolism also affects the hair cycle. As such, hyperthyroid patients also suffer from hair loss. 

What You Can Do 

If you are diagnosed with any of the above-mentioned conditions, know that it’s always best to consult with your physician. After all, the best way to reduce such type of hair loss is to address the issues that trigger it. With that being said, your doctor can prescribe you the treatments needed to treat your disorder – and the hair problems that come with it. 

Apart from adhering to treatment, there is another thing that you could do to ease your metabolic problems: exercise. A good workout can burn glycogen, which is a form of muscle-stored glucose. In response to this, the body replaces these stores with glucose from the circulation. In simpler words, exercise lessens the body's resistance to insulin – a known trigger behind some metabolic disorders. 

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Nutrition and Hair Loss

You are what you eat. In the case of hair loss, the lack (or excess) of some nutrients can trigger hair loss. 

  • Vitamin A

Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for vision, immune function, and cell growth. While it is beneficial, going beyond the ceiling dose of 10,000 IU can lead to hair loss. 

  • B Vitamins

Deficiencies in B Vitamins have been associated with hair problems. They include:

  • Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin, which plays a role in cell growth
  • Vitamin B7 or Biotin, which is responsible for glucose and amino acid metabolism 
  • Folic Acid and Vitamin B12, low levels of which can trigger a Biotin deficiency 
  • Vitamin D and E

Low levels of both Vitamin D and E have been associated with alopecia areata, an immune disorder that comes with patchy hair loss. 

  • Iron

Iron deficiency, which is the most common nutritional deficiency in the planet, can contribute to telogen effluvium. This stops 30% of all of your hair from growing, and as such could lead to a loss of about 300 hair strands (from the normal 100) a day. 

  • Selenium

Selenium, which is necessary for the synthesis of 35 proteins, in excessive amounts is harmful to the hair. To avoid such a problem, you need to adhere to the RDA of 55 micrograms a day. 

  • Zinc 

Zinc is a trace element found in fish and meat. A deficiency in this mineral is seen in common hair loss conditions, including telogen effluvium and androgenetic alopecia (male/female-pattern baldness). 

What You Can Do

As mentioned, the lack of certain nutrients can lead to hair thinning. If you are unable to meet the RDA of Vitamins B, D, E, Iron, and Zinc for some reason, then you should consider taking supplements of these. 

For example, those with alopecia areata and telogen effluvium may benefit from Vitamin D and Iron supplementation, especially if they have low levels of the aforementioned nutrients. Additionally, Vitamin C is also needed for those suffering from iron deficiencies. 

Apart from the above-mentioned nutrients, some herbal remedies may be helpful to the hair as well. They include:

  • L-Cysteine. It helps promote the formation of keratin, a protein necessary for hair growth.
  • Horsetail Extract. Rich in antioxidants, this may help the hair grow longer and faster. 
  • Gingko Extract. This helps improve scalp circulation, which is necessary for accelerated hair growth. 
  • Spirulina. With its rich iron and fatty acid content, this high-protein source may help reduce hair loss. 
  • Amla Fruit. Apart from strengthening your strands, this fruit may help reduce dandruff. 

If you find some grey hairs in your scalp, the right supplements may help you out as well. According to a study, Vitamin D, Iron, Vitamin B12, Folate, and Selenium may minimize hair discoloration.