VeggieBoards banner

1 - 20 of 43 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
0 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Ok. I've been a vegan for about 6 months now, and my hair is falling out. I know I probably have a deficency of some kind . . . do you guys have any ideas of what it might be or should I see a doc about it?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
0 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Don't panic. Everyone's different, but when I had this problem 5 years ago it was caused by doing masses of digging,( I planted 800 trees) and moving house and getting stressed.<br><br>
The cure was, for me, to go on a high protein diet, which I did as 8oz of Tofu a day (marinated, stir fried, in sandwiches,etc) and a litre of soya milk a day. I'd accidently lost a lot of weight, a stone or so in a few weeks, I didn't put much weight back on, but it cured me. But it could be other things, I'm not a nutritionist. I've been vegan since 1978, and I'm healthy enough, and I don't fuss. Multi vits and B12 might be a good idea though. I rarely bother, but it might be what you need. Also, when I went to my doctor about it, he said "if I had the cure to hair loss, I wouldn't be sitting here, I'd be in the Bahamas" And he's usually ok! But there was a program on the radio, and women were talking about it, and it was often to do with the wrong ratio of exercise to proteinand or food in general intake. Also wearing my long hair up in a tight band didn't help it much, I still do, but less often and looser.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,691 Posts
i'm having the same problem since going veg/almost vegan in June, and i think it's a B vitamin. a friend of mine is also vegan and also is experiencing this excess shedding. i wouldn't worry too much, just try a multivitamin. do you also notice though that your skin is more dry and flaky and prone to breakouts? my friend and i are both having that problem too, and it's all connected i think. at first i thought it was because i don't eat enough fruit but my friend practically lives off fruit, so it's likely a B vitamin though i don't remember which one.<br><br><br><br>
when i was taking multi's i didn't notice any problems, it's only been since i stopped taking them really, so try it out for a week or so and let us know if it's still going on. you can get multivitamins made especially for vegetarians that are all plant-based. try the one made by Swiss if you have it in your area. they also have one that is iron-free since iron supplements react with many prescriptions and too much iron is really bad for you, so that is the one i take (when i remember to take them that is lol)
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
19,873 Posts
I would try some of the suggestions and if they don't work out it would probably be best to see someone. A lot of veg*ns have this problem and in a situation like this you're liable to get a different answer from each of them. It's happened to me as well but I haven't been terribly concerned about it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,002 Posts
That sounds like b12 deficiency. If you don't take care of it, you'll get nerve damage, and if it gets far enough (which it probably won't ^_^), you can get dementia. I suggest supplements at first, and then drinking a full glass of vitamin b-enriched soymilk with every meal. I firmly believe that supplements aren't necessary, and I'm perfectly healthy, but to get the proper amounts of b12 back into your system, supplements would be a good idea.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
10,763 Posts
Hair loss if often caused by eating poisonous substances -- that is why chemotherapy as a cancer treatment causes hair loss. I believe it is less often caused by a nutritional deficiency, than by too much of one or more toxic substance. Your body's way of getting rid of some poisonous substances is by putting it or its break-down products, into your hair; if whatever goes into your hair isn't good for hair -- your hairs break, or fall out of their follicles.<br><br><br><br>
I really doubt that a vitamin b12 deficiency has anything to do with hair loss. The earliest symtoms of b12 deficiency are slight redness or soreness of the mouth. The next degree of nore severe deficiency -- which can take a while to develop -- will show up as slightly swollen and sore tongue. This can go on for awhile before there is any obvious neurological damage.<br><br><br><br>
Since micronutrients can be toxic in more than the tiny amounts we need, it is conceivable that taking too many so-called vitamins, or other "nutrional supplements" may be the <b>cause</b> of hair loss, rather than its cure. In other words, i think hair loss is more likely to be caused by and excess of something, rather than a deficiency of something.<br><br><br><br>
I'm reminded of my root vegetables: a tiny amount of boron added to the naturally low-boron soil in my area, will help produce humongous turnips, and beets. But just a little more than the maximum amount suitable for the biggest turnips -- will cause all kinds of plants, including beets and turnips, to wilt and die. It is safer to aim for slightly smaller turnips, and stay away from the amout of boron that will kill plants. Only a teaspoon or so is needed, for an area of soil covering 10 feet by 10 feet! In some parts of the world, the problem is too much boron, not too little.<br><br><br><br>
Our bodies can be the same way with certain micro-nutrients, notably so-called vitamin A. More and more, up to a certain point, can help with all kinds of skin and possibly eye conditions. Getting near to the harmful level can erradicate acne. But going over the harmful level can raise your cerebrel-spinal fluid pressure, and cause brain damage. So it is usually consider best to not take quite enough to cure acne, as it can be difficult to determine the exact amount where helpfulness ends and harmfulness begins.<br><br><br><br>
By the way, the carotene form of vitamin A is not likely to cause problems, it is the retinol form that can become toxic. Commercial carotene is usually derived from plants. Retinol can be derived from plants or animals.<br><br><br><br>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
0 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thanks guys! I'll change my diet a bit to see what has an effect on the hair loss . . . gah. I hope I find the root of this before I go bald. Blah :p
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
10,763 Posts
Which sex are you? Progressively increasing baldness is usually <b>entirely normal</b> in males -- often starting as early as age 18 or so. Some post-menapausal hair pattern changes are normal in females, as are hairpattern changes with pregnancy, and postpartum -- esp after a first baby.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
0 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I'm a 17 year old girl. Here's something else that might help solve this . . . I drink this nutritional drink everyday and it has 100% of (almost) every vitamin and mineral you can imagine. That could be the cause of this. I don't know. Man oh man.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,119 Posts
My advice is go see a nutritionist, or a doctor, immediately.<br><br><br><br>
Hair loss is nay cool, and may be a symptom of a greater problem. If you have a good doctor/nutritionist, like mine, their response will not be to tell you to go un-vegan, but to examine how well you are providing for yourself as a vegan, and examine causes and solutions within the framework of your own belief system.<br><br><br><br>
I also recommend you begin a food diary. When I have had dietary troubles in the past it has helped me greatly to see down on paper <i>everything</i> I have had going in me, as opposed to just trying to remember it all!<br><br>
Just get one of those little tiny flip notebooks and record everything you eat and drink (and when) and after a while you may notice a pattern or deficiency you had not thought of before.<br><br><br><br>
The most important part of this is to be completely honest, however, or it will be innacurate. That means: yes you must write down that you had two cookies before breakfast, or even the days you had beer for dinner (lol) without your parents approval.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
19,873 Posts
I would say you should just see someone then. That makes a huge difference, at least it does to me. Is this a particularly stressful time for you? Could that be part of it? I see Avalon just posted, definitely see someone.<br><br><br><br>
She's 17! 17 year old girls don't have beer for dinner do they? Well, I guess I know at least one that probably does. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D">
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
10,763 Posts
"I drink this nutritional drink everyday and it has 100% of (almost) every vitamin and mineral you can imagine."<br><br><br><br>
I don't think that would cause a problem, by itself. 100 percent isn't really too much. Nor is 200 percent. It's when you start getting into the area of 1000 percent, 10 times as much -- that you are talking too much. But it depends. 10 times you vitamin C allowance is not too much. You might be surprised though -- some vitamin prepartions actually do contain 10 times as much as you need, or more.<br><br><br><br>
If the nutrional drink hass 100 percent of your allowance, and not a lot more, and you took only one drink per day, I don't think you will have a problem from it. But it could have something in it that you are allergic to, or sensivite to. And if it has lots and lots of ingredients, it will be harder to find out which, than if your food has only a few ingredients -- which is why I think minimal numbers of ingredients are preferable.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
10,763 Posts
But i'll echo Avalon's comment -- if you are 17, female, and having substantial hair loss, it is probably a good idea to both tell this to an MD, and consult with a nutritionist too.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
10,763 Posts
You may have to search around a bit for a nutrionist that is all for veganism -- such as by checking out various web sites.<br><br><br><br>
Dr. Harris and Dr. Klaper at veg source seem to be pretty knowledgable vegan MD's.<br><br><br><br><a href="http://www.vegsource.com/harris/index.htm" target="_blank">http://www.vegsource.com/harris/index.htm</a>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
0 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Thanks a bunch guys .. . this isn't a horribly stressful time so I don't think it's from that . . . I'm getting a blood profile done this Thursday (my mom is nervous that I'm not getting enough protien . . . ), would that reveal the problem?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,451 Posts
or, you could just be shedding.<br><br><br><br>
it's not uncommon for humans, like animals, to shed a great deal of skin and hair in cycles. Actually, you shed a lot of it everyday, but i know that i tend to have "major" periods twice a year. Like changing from a summer to a winter coat like my rabbit does. Usually doesn't last long, but it seems like trouble when it comes.<br><br><br><br>
Anyway, the doc's info should help. good luck.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
10,763 Posts
---------------------<br><br>
would that (a blood profile) reveal the problem?<br><br>
----------------------<br><br><br><br>
Conceivably it could. But most likely it won't. The usual reason that a family physician or internal medicine physician does a blood workup when people complain of hair falling out, is that they believe there is a psychological value to the patient of telling them their blood test shows nothing wrong. Their thinking is that most likely the test won't turn up anything, and that then they can tell you that, and suggest to you that you have little or no reason to worry about your health. After all, their thinking goes, hair is only hair -- you can buy a wig.<br><br><br><br>
If you want to be reassured that there is nothing seriously physically wrong with you -- that is fine. But if you just want to make sure you are going to have plenty of <b>hair</b> -- hearing that your doctor thinks its just fine if all your hair falls out, as long as your blood tests are normal, isn't such great news.<br><br><br><br>
Sometimes they may suggest vitamins, in the hopes that this will make it look like they are "doing something." A shotgun approach, like giving you every vitamin they can think of, for a symptom they don't understand, or a broad-spectrum anti-biotic, for an illness they haven't really identified -- is typical practice.<br><br><br><br>
There is a slight chance that the blood tests will turn up something specific. If that is the case, you should make sure you know exactly what it is that the test turned up; then you may want to consult more than one physican, to get alternative opinions regarding a course of treatment, if any is needed.<br><br><br><br>
If the blood test shows up nothing specific to hairloss, and nothing serious, your next step would be to get a referral to a dermatologist, or an endocrinologist, to specifically focus on the problem of hair falling out, regardless of the fact that it is not a sympton of "something serious." A general physician should only be treating hair loss if it is the result of some specificly identified disorder, for which hair loss is only one symptom, and the disorder needs immediate treatment, due to some general danger you are in as a result of having the disorder. Even then, this is probably a job for a specialist.<br><br><br><br>
Depending upon whether the loss is due to a skin problem, such as a skin disease, or to a general disorder that affects hair, you would be seeing either a dermatologist or an endocrinologist, respectively. I would start with the dermatologist, in the absence of any specific diagnosis that you have an endocrine disorder. If the dermatologist thinks you do, she might refer you to an endocrinologist.<br><br><br><br>
There is also the possibility that you might need some other kind of specialist. For example if hair loss was due to poisoning by a heavy metal, there might be a specific specialist who treats such conditions, though I'm not sure which speciality it would be.<br><br><br><br>
By the way, it is also possible to have a blood test that doesn't show anything out of order, yet still have a serious condition. That is because the doctor will rarely test your blood for every known thing that it can be tested for. That would be too expensive. You could, just hypothetically, have mercury poisoning, but a test for mercury might not be done on your blood, so your doctor would never know you had mercury poisoning. Or you could have lead poisoning, or copper poisoning. I'm just being hypothetical here; i don't know which metals, if any, cause hair loss. I'm just trying to make the point that they probably won't test for excess amts of every single metal. That might be outrageously expensive. But if you mentioned you worked in a factory that used mercury, they might test for mercury, and not for lead. Or vice versa.<br><br><br><br><br><br>
If hair loss was due to malnutrition, you would nead a nutritionist -- these are usually <b>not</b> medical doctors, but people with a master's degree or doctorate in nutrition. They cannot prescribe drugs or do surgery. They just make nutritional recommendations. They may send you to a lab for blood work, or to an MD for blood work, or urine or stool work. MD's would be giving nutritional advice only to treat a specifc disease such as, say, diabetes where food choices may be dependent on frequent blood tests, urine tests, stool samples, etc. Or if you had esophageal reflux, you might have an MD making food recommendations, combined with frequent looks at your esophagus and stomach, via tubes snaked down your throat. Or if you had a food allergy. Even for something as serious as heart disease, to work on your diet, a non-MD nutritionist would probably be better than an MD, because no-one is expecting immediate reactions to different foods and different diets. You would only need occaisonal tests, by an MD, to see if, over a period of weeks or months, your blood levels of say, lipid, were gradually improving. Generally nutritionists have more general knowledge about diet, than physicians. Most physicians are not competant to recommend diets at all. Generally only specialists treating a specific disease, have knowledge of specific dietary strategies that help with that specific disease. Even then, it is frequent to see physicans keeping dietary recommendations minimal. <b>Even for serious heart disease, some doctors simply don't think people can change their diet, and so they start prescribing medicines, right away, to control things they can measure in blood or urine, instead of bothering to suggest that someone make dietary changes.</b> I was amazed at first, when I realized it, but apparently a lot of MD's believe that people just can't change their diet much, that it is too difficult for most people to do. so , for heart patients, instead of recommeding having flesh much less often, they will recommend not frying your flesh, removing the skin from your chicken, using lower-fat cuts of meat -- set up little goals that they think people can succeed at reaching. They think people won't be able to succeed at stopping eating meat, but that they might succeed at stopping eating nuts -- so amazingly they will recommend stopping nuts, and continuing with meat, in the hopes that this will lower total fat intake slightly (nuts have about as much fat as meat).<br><br><br><br>
Little do they realize that some of us have a kind of self-control -- that they themselves don't have.<br><br>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
0 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Hopefully it's just a passing phase. It was with me. I went into my doctors surgery with half a carrier bag full of hair that I'd saved in a month. I had a feeling he wouldn't take any notice otherwise. My head looked ok, but I knew I was shedding.<br><br>
Although he couldn't help me, I am certain in my own mind it was due to an abnormal amount of exercise leading to rapid weight loss that started it off for me, and the tofu and loads of food diet sorted me out in a few weeks. I'd been vegan nearly twenty years by then, and the only change in my life was moving house and losing weight rapidly due to not eating more when I worked harder.<br><br>
Also my friend, who isn't veggie, has had hair loss three times, and she says it's a hormone imbalance that triggers it off with her - the first time was after her first baby. Her hair is gorgeous now, so it grows back ok.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
0 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
I hope this is just a phase . . . unfortunately, the blood profile has been pushed back because I'm getting my wisdom teeth out friday and it probably isnt' the best idea to take out blood before that sort of thing. I don't think I'm just shedding . . . . this is excessive amounts of hair. It's gotten to the point where I'm afraid to blow dry my hair because it feels like it will all come out. It's coming out evenly . . . so there's no huge baldspots or anything.<br><br><br><br>
I was trying to recall things that I"ve been eating that could have made my hair do this . .. a bit ago I was taking vitamin E for about a month, and each capsule had about 1000% of the daily amount. That could have been it. I was also thinking of allergies I have, and I'm allergic to nickel. Maybe I'm eating a lot of that somehow, I really have no idea. This is really frustrating . . . I think I just have to start eating more fresh veggies. I've been really busy since school started and haven't had a lot of time to sit and cook nutritous meals. I'll reform my diet and work more veggies in there and see what happens.<br><br><br><br>
Let's say that's the problem, how long would it take to see results (no more hair loss)?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
0 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
I thought I should add this: I feel healthy. It's not like I sit around munching on junk food . . . I'm muscular and active - I do tae bo everyday. I just wanted to clarify that I'm not some waifish, half-starved gal. Okay, I'm done ^_^
 
1 - 20 of 43 Posts
Top