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Lack of nutrients is the ‘leading’ cause of hair loss – expert on foods that can tackle it

Between intensive hair styling and medical conditions, there could be various triggers for hair loss. Worryingly, your diet could be a double-edged sword in this process too. A lack of certain nutrients could spur on excessive hair shedding but some foods can fortunately come to the rescue, according to an expert.

While losing your hair can feel upsetting, certain hair loss causes can be addressed and treated.

The cornerstone of a healthy life – your diet – plays a major role in your hair as it can help replenish missing nutrients.

Dr Manish Mittal, hair transplant surgeon at Mittal Hair Clinic, said: “One of the leading causes of hair loss is a diet lacking in the right nutrients to keep hair looking and feeling healthy.”

Antioxidants

“Include foods rich in antioxidants, which help combat free radicals, reduce scalp inflammation and minimise hair loss,” he advised.

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Vitamins

From vitamin B12 to vitamin D deficiency, the lack of essential nutrients could take a toll on your hair.

Dr Mittal said: “Leafy greens like spinach are packed with antioxidants from vitamins A to C, and are important for hair growth.

“Vitamin C can also be found in berries and citrus fruits.”

Vitamin D can be obtained through oily fish, red meat, liver, egg yolks, fortified fat spreads and certain mushrooms.

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Protein

Dr Mittal said: “Hair follicles are mostly made of protein, so a diet rich in protein is beneficial to maintaining hair growth.

“Eggs are a great source of protein and biotin, which is essential for the production of keratin – a hair protein that encourages growth.”

According to the British Nutrition Foundation, your body needs 0.75 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight a day.

Other great food sources of the macronutrient are cheese, pulses, yoghurt, wholegrain bread, tofu, fish, meat and nuts.

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Omega-3s

A study, published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, found that six-month supplementation with omega 3 and 6 as well as antioxidants act “efficiently” against hair loss.

Dr Mittal said: “Omega-3 fatty acids linked to hair growth can be found in oily fish like herring and salmon, which also contain vitamin D.”

Foods to watch out for

The expert added: “When it comes to food and drink to cut down on to prevent hair loss, it’s worth bearing in mind what causes male pattern baldness.

“Men naturally produce more testosterone than women. Some of this is converted into DHT – the hormone known to cause hair loss – especially for men who are genetically sensitive to its effects.

“Dairy is one food group to watch, despite the fact we are often told how good milk proteins are for maintaining healthy hair.

“While this is true, dairy can also increase testosterone secretion, raising DHT levels and leading to hair loss.

“Dairy products can also exacerbate dandruff, eczema, and psoriasis on the scalp, which can also cause hair to fall out.”

The NHS recommends seeing a GP if you experience a sudden hair loss or you’re worried about losing hair.

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