Hair loss happens for a number of different reasons, and one cause can actually be a change in diet. Ensuring you eat a balanced diet can be vital to ensuring hair is healthy. Today we’re looking ketogenic diets and if they can cause hair loss.
A ketogenic diet is a high fat, sufficient protein, low carbohydrate diet. For some, a ketogenic diet can be used in medicine to treat difficult-to-control epilepsy in children. Some, however, use the diet to aid weight loss.
A ketogenic diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates, usually these carbohydrates are converted into glucose, which is then transported around the body and is particularly important in fueling the brain. However, if little carbohydrate remains in the diet (like in a ketogenic diet) the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies. These ketone bodies are then passed into the brain to replace glucose as an energy source.
Hair loss is one of the less common side effects of a ketogenic diet, however, it is an effect that some people will experience. Changes in diet, especially drastic changes can affect both the body and hair.
During a change in diet your hormone levels will adjust and your metabolism shifts to burning fat, due to this you can experience an increase in the amount of hair that you shed. With low calorie diets, the body reduces the number of calories used in both reproduction and hair growth.
Hair loss due to a dietary change can start 3-6 months after you start the new diet and can happen due to a number of reasons;
Quick weight loss: Extreme weight loss can cause a shock to the body and the lack of calories over a long period of time can result in a deficiency of essential vitamins and minerals which can cause hair loss.
Lack of protein: Protein deficiency can impact the skin, hair and nails. Protein is required every day to prevent muscle loss and it is an essential part of hair growth. A lack of protein can cause hair to become brittle and break. Healthy proteins can help to improve the assimilation of amino acids needed to produce keratin.
Iron deficiency: A lack of iron in the body can lead to hair loss. If you are anaemic, oxygen is used to support vital life processes rather than the health of the hair.
Stress: Stress is one of the most common causes of temporary hair loss and a change in diet can actually lead to stress to the body, both physical and mental.
Not everyone will experience hair loss when switching to a keto diet. You might not notice many changes at all, this will depend on the individual and the lifestyle you have been following prior to the change in diet. Your body will adapt to a new diet, and if the changes are not hugely different you may not notice any changes. It is important to remember that hair loss related to a change in diet is temporary and can stop over time by making minor adjustments to the diet or looking into multivitamins to ensure you’re getting all of the nutrients needed for healthy hair growth.