Friday, July 10, 2015

Does vitamin D deficiency cause hair loss?

Mary Frances

Seeing your hair strands falling off on your shoulders or sticking to your soapy hands while bathing could be a loathsome sight for you. While losing close to 100 of those everyday is reckoned to be normal, you might have to perform a closer inspection of your diet, or your nutrient deficiencies for that matter.

A recent study just made news by exposing a potential connection between hair loss and vitamin D deficiency. Let’s dig deeper into the connection.

“This is the first time vitamin D’s possible role in hair loss has been highlighted,” stated a dermatologist from Cairo University, Rania Mounir Abdel Hay.

Why is there a widespread vitamin D deficiency in America?

Vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin”, plays its part in warding off serious conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease and deserves its reputation of being vital for human health. But how is it produced? Well, as the name suggests, when the sun shines on you, it converts a chemical located in your skin into a form which is further transformed into active vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin. A big reason for vitamin D deficiency being so prevalent throughout the U.S. is not getting enough sunlight as “under-the-office-roof” jobs have taken over the modern society.

Important information about hair loss

Numerous studies have been conducted to determine the root causes of hair loss. However, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, androgenetic alopecia, aka male/female-pattern baldness or simply hereditary hair loss, accounts for the recurrent cause affecting almost 80 million Americans today. While low-protein diets, poor nutrition, stress, and genetics could be blamed for seeing hair strands stuck in your hairbrush, underlying problems or diseases like lupus, thyroid abnormality, and diabetes are major culprits.

Read between the lines: Vitamin D deficiency linked to hair loss

A 2013 study published in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology concluded a possible connection between types of hair loss and low levels of vitamin D coupled with low levels of ferritin. The study, which examined 80 female participants, had particularly unveiled telogen effluvium (TE), which is caused due to excessive hair shedding and female-pattern hair loss type and their relationship with serum levels of vitamin D and ferritin.

Hay explained the significance of vitamin D for hair growth. “It might regulate the expression of genes that promote normal hair follicle growth.” In addition, the effect of low iron levels inhibiting an important enzyme also explains how both nutrients could affect the health of your hair.

Vitamin D supplements could be alternative treatments

While clinical researches have been loud in announcing the potential link between hair loss and vitamin D deficiency, this does not present a cemented proof for direct cause and effect relationship. We need to understand that science is still making its way through the mystery of hair loss.

Vitamin D supplementation could be used as a treatment for reducing vitamin D deficiency symptoms for those who do not get themselves enough regular sunlight and lack a sufficient dietary vitamin D portion through fortified foods. Having said that, one should be cautioned about the excessive intake of these supplements as it may bring dreadful effects on the body such as abnormal heart rhythms, nausea, constipation, and mental confusion.

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