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Why do some vegans lose their hair?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I've seen a few posts here in the past that have talked about someone starting to lose their hair, and now on another board that I belong to, a thread about veganism was started (this isn't a veg board, btw). Several people have made comments about vegans they know that started losing their hair.



Why would that happen?
post #2 of 21
I don't think that it's so much that they're losing their hair because they're vegan, but they're losing hair because they're getting older and would have anyway.



Some people, however, don't eat properly when they're vegan/vegetarian, or don't eat enough, or just live on a little bit of junk food. That might cause hair loss.
post #3 of 21
I used to have super thick hair. I've noticed over the last few years that it's thinner. I'm not sure if it's because I don't create estrogen anymore or the fact that I'm vegan or a combination of both. I don't like it at all. I take vitamins in hopes that will help. Don't know if it will. I'm interested to see what others have to say on the subject though.
post #4 of 21
I haven't noticed many bald vegans.



I went to Summerfest last summer, a 5 day live in convention of vegetarians ( mostly vegans ).



I saw people in all kinds of shape. I did not notice anything unusual about the amount of baldness or thinning hair.



I also belong to vegan and vegetarian restaurant clubs in this area.



Again, I have not noticed too many people with hair issues.



I have noticed a number of fat vegans over the years.



I think that is mostly from eating processed foods and the tendency of a number of vegans to develop a fetish for vegan snack/junk foods.
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post #5 of 21
I personally don't really think it's related to specifically veganism. I'm only 16 and have/have had hair loss issues so I can most likely rule out it being due to age but since it started a year or 2 before going vegan i can rule out veganism as the cause too.. but I guess if veganism is the cause of hair loss in some people it might be because some people deal with dietary changes in different ways or are more sensitive to them.. or maybe not, I don't know..
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elena99 View Post

I don't think that it's so much that they're losing their hair because they're vegan, but they're losing hair because they're getting older and would have anyway.



The people that I have heard this about have all been in their 20's and most of them are female.



What I'm asking for here is what would be the biological reason that this would happen? A few of them switched back to eating animal products and their hair stopped thinning. So, what would be lacking that would cause this? Is there a certain nutrient?
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by PigLover View Post

The people that I have heard this about have all been in their 20's and most of them are female.



What I'm asking for here is what would be the biological reason that this would happen? A few of them switched back to eating animal products and their hair stopped thinning. So, what would be lacking that would cause this? Is there a certain nutrient?

maybe b12? I keep hearing that as the main thing vegs lack unless taking supplements or something..
post #8 of 21
They aren't eating properly.
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by PigLover View Post

The people that I have heard this about have all been in their 20's and most of them are female.



What I'm asking for here is what would be the biological reason that this would happen? A few of them switched back to eating animal products and their hair stopped thinning. So, what would be lacking that would cause this? Is there a certain nutrient?



I know that a lack of zinc can cause it, but it can be many other things, even combing it wrong or too much. It often connected to skin problems and in general, people loose hair when seasons are changing.
post #10 of 21
This is strange. Since going vegan I've noticed that my hair and nails actually grow faster and better than before. But I am really good about taking a very complete multi-vitamin each day, I eat very well and do regular exercise.
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by PigLover View Post

The people that I have heard this about have all been in their 20's and most of them are female.



What I'm asking for here is what would be the biological reason that this would happen? A few of them switched back to eating animal products and their hair stopped thinning. So, what would be lacking that would cause this? Is there a certain nutrient?



If you don't eat fresh produce, grains, legumes, and foods with vitamins and minerals in it, you're going to miss out on important nutrients. Also, if you cut out all fat, that might do it too, and if you don't drink enough water in a day. People who are anorexic can experience hair loss/hair thinning.



I'm not sure if B12 effects it. Have any of the women gone bald, or just had thinning of hair? Do they eat enough?
post #12 of 21
I had hair loss in my twenties also (before I was veg). When it was getting pretty bad, I finally went to a doctor. After several tests I was found to be hypo-thyroid. The hypo-thyroidism (as I was explained) was hereditary, it stays dorment until something "triggers" it, for me it was the birth of my second child. Maybe in some of the cases, the change in diet may be a trigger for this.



Or, it could be poor diet or in some cases, they are already genetically predestined to have hair loss.
post #13 of 21
Is it definitely thinning hair or is it just losing more? It may not sound like there is a difference, but there can be. It's okay to be losing more hair, as long as it's being replaced.



When I went vegan I noticed that I was losing more individual hairs everyday, but my hair is much thicker overall because I have so much more new growth. Even my hairdresser commented on the amount of it - she'd never seen anything like it before. An easy way to check for new growth is to push your hair back from your forehead - the more hairs you have that are shorter than full length, the more new growth you have. What you see there is happening all over your head. Mine is almost ridiculous - I have to brush it back so it doesn't look like I have a fringe.



It's normal to lose about 100 hairs a day.



I eat a brazil nut everyday because it has about 150% RDA of selenium, and I've heard that is good for hair and nails, plus lots of fruit, veggies, whole grains, nuts and protein. I still eat a good proportion of junk food too, but never at the expense of nutrients.



http://www.cyber-nation.com/livingst.../morehair.html I don't know how reliable this site is, but it claims that copper plays a large role in hair loss. Too little and you lose hair, too much and you lose hair. It also claims that vegetarians retain more copper than meat-eaters, so it could be that those losing hair are intaking/retaining too much copper.



Googling on the subject, it appears that lack of B12 and zinc are the biggest culprits, but I also found this interesting article that may shed some light, especially if those experiencing hair loss were new vegans : http://www.vegsource.com/articles/harris_hair_loss.htm





ETA: I did a bit more reading about telogen effluvium as mentioned in that last link, and it does sound like this may be what you are describing. Luckily, it's short-term and doesn't seem to have long-term effects. It's likely that, in the case of the newer vegans, they weren't eating properly, transitioned too quickly or reduced their calorie intake drastically. It occurs when the body experiences a 'shock'. There's plenty of further info if you google it.
post #14 of 21
I see an aweful lot of bald or balding omni's. I personally think that it has nothing to do with veganism. To think that it does, is to think omni's who are bald are bald because they eat animals.
post #15 of 21
20 year olds losing their hair, esp women, is NOT normal. Zinc and lack of fat can often be the reason. If you are cutting fat out of your diet, zinc can be difficult to get enough of on a vegan diet.
post #16 of 21
if someone thinks they're going bald because they went vegan i'd seriously doubt it. poor circulation on the scalp is a cause i've often heard. the vegan cause is probably about doing veganism poorly, causing anemia which can cause balding. take multivitamins and exercise, should do that anyway.
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post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by gkleinman View Post

This is strange. Since going vegan I've noticed that my hair and nails actually grow faster and better than before.



my nails became much stronger around the time i became began. before they never grew very long, but since that time they grow to a long, but not too long length very easily. i even get comments about having nice nails. but it may be just because i was sixteen-ish, and i was old enough...? my mom always had nice nails.
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by kristadb View Post

They aren't eating properly.



Ditto. Vegan doesn't equal healthy. Sometimes vegan doesn't even equal vegan, but assuming they are truly vegans, it doesn't equal healthy.
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Artichoke47 View Post

Ditto. Vegan doesn't equal healthy. Sometimes vegan doesn't even equal vegan, but assuming they are truly vegans, it doesn't equal healthy.



post #20 of 21
Maybe they are suffering from male pattern baldness.
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post #21 of 21
I get lots of compliments on my hair =] my hairdresser always tells me how healthy it is. But I'm not a vegan and I think its mainly my asian genes coming out in my hair. But it definitely could be a deficiency. I know protein is vital for hair.
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