Switching to a vegan diet is a huge venture. Those who choose a vegan diet give up all animal products, including eggs and dairy. However, dietary changes can lead to hair loss. This is a particular challenge for vegans, because the specific cause of hair loss can come from various deficiency in our diet. Balancing your diet for proper nutrition is an essential part of keeping your hair looking healthy and strong. We'll explore a few of the reasons for hair loss on a vegan diet and discuss options for those who choose only plant-based foods.
Sudden weight loss
Many people experience a sudden loss in weight when they switch to a plant-based diet. If the start of your vegan diet is accompanied by rapid weight loss, it's fairly normal to experience some hair loss. Fortunately, if rapid weight loss is the only reason for hair loss, your hair will probably grow back after a few months of adjustment to your diet. However, if your diet isn't perfectly balanced, other nutritional deficiencies can lead to longer-term hair loss.
One big challenge of a vegan diet is getting enough protein. While there are many great plant-based sources of protein available, getting the proportions of your diet correct is essential to feeling and looking your best.
Hair is made almost entirely of protein, so if you are protein deficient, you'll start to notice brittle ends and other hair damage. Since proteins are an essential part of maintaining your vital organs, your hair is one of the first places that shows a protein deficiency. By keeping a careful eye on your hair, you'll know if you're getting enough protein. If you suspect your protein is deficient, try adding high-protein plants like quinoa, chickpeas, or legumes.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
- Zinc - Although we don't often think about how much zinc we are eating, it plays an essential role in keeping your hair healthy. Unfortunately, some of the best sources of zinc are animal products, making vegans especially prone to this mineral deficiency. Unruly, dull strands of hair accompanied by hair loss can indicate a zinc deficiency. Increase your intake of beans, seeds, and nuts and see a hair professional if you think you need more zinc in your diet.
- Iron - While many vegan-friendly foods contain iron, it isn't as easily absorbed by the body as animal-based iron. Most vegans should nearly double their iron intake to get enough. People with iron deficiencies experience hair loss, fatigue, and weakness.
- Vitamin B12 - Most vegans experience low levels of B12, which is almost exclusively available through animal sources. Tempeh and nutritional yeast provide a little B12, but it's difficult to get enough in your diet. If you experience a dry, scaly scalp along with hair loss, you may have a B12 deficiency. See a doctor about taking a supplement if you are considering a vegan diet.
How do I keep my hair looking great on a vegan diet?
At New Image, our specialists are trained to keep your hair looking amazing whether you are already a vegan or as you are switching to a vegan lifestyle. By analyzing your hair and scalp, they can make great recommendations for keeping your hair healthy. If you're already experiencing hair loss, they'll find customized options for hair replacements that keep your hair looking great while you balance your diet.
In addition, our experts are great at making recommendations for vegan hair products. A vegan lifestyle often goes beyond diet, and our specialists can recommend vegan-friendly shampoos, conditioners, and styling products to ensure you look your best. Whether you're experiencing hair loss or want to prevent it as you start a new diet, we're here to help. Contact us to set up a free consultation today!