Hair loss is a condition that may affect women but, above all, men. In these cases, there are treatments, lotions and medicines that, if recommended by an expert, are valid remedies but don’t forget the role played by diet. In fact, it has been recently released a review (Almohanna et al, Dermatology et therapy, Dec 2018) that has the purpose to understand the connection between the intake of particular mineral salts and vitamins and the health of the hair follicle. The article considers different types of alopecia, such as the androgenetic alopecia, the most common that may affect men and, to a lesser extent, also women, but also alopecia areata, where hair is lost suddenly and from some areas of the body, and the telogen effluvium, that is a temporary increase of hair loss after the phase of hair growth caused by, for example, intense stress or hormonal imbalance. This review tries to understand if, at the state of the art, possible correlations between alopecia and a lack or excess of nutrients are known. Let’s see in detail.
According to scientific studies, it seems that an intake of vitamin D in case of deficiency of this vitamin may be helpful in case of alopecia areata (Cerman et al, British Journal of Dermatology, Mar 2014). However, in case of alopecia in women and telogen effluvium it is not so clear the correlation between a vitamin D deficiency and hair loss, the studies are conflicting and other researches are needed.
Vitamin C and iron
Iron deficiency may be a cause of telogen effluvium and is common in women who show hair loss. Moreover, even though in this case the studies are more uncertain, it seems that an iron deficiency is also associated to androgenetic alopecia in men (Park et al, J Korean Med Sci, Jun 2013 - Kantor et al, J Invest Dermatol, Nov 2003). Clearly iron deficiency should be evaluated by a doctor and, if it is detected, it may also be useful to take together vitamin C that increases iron absorption by the body.
Vitamin A plays a pivotal role in several life processes, it is involved in the functioning of the immune system, it is necessary for the growth of cells and protects the eyesight. Vitamin A is accumulated in the liver and generally its intake through diet is enough to guarantee the right amount of this vitamin in the body. An excess, caused in the most cases by a too high intake from supplements, may cause hair loss, according to scientific studies. For example, it is possible to mention the study (Kmiec et al, Postepy Dermatol Alergol, Dec 2013) that, to test the effectiveness and the effects of a vitamin A-based medicine to treat acne, has observed a decrease in the hair density in the involved persons.