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How Does Your Diet Affect Hair Loss? Insights from Vancouver Dietitian Elaine

Hair loss is quite common that I see in my practice. There are many different causes that may lead to hair loss, including diet, nutrient deficiencies, genetics, medical conditions, medications, chemotherapy, lifestyle such as stress, smoking and so on. It may be important for you to talk to a doctor to find out the cause.

Today, we are going to explore diet-related causes and see how diet can affect hair loss. Let's get started!

1. An unbalanced diet and inadequate protein intake may cause hair loss.

Many people want to lose weight and have tried so many dieting plans on the internet. A fast weight loss may not be sustainable, and the weight can quickly bounce back. Also, there are potential risks of extreme dieting plans, and hair loss is one of the concerns.

Getting adequate protein and making sure the diet is well balanced are important for the hair growth. Protein gets broken down into amnio acid, and they become building blocks for our body and hair follicles.

2. Low levels of certain vitamins and minerals may cause hair loss.

B vitamins

  • Having adequate nutrients in diet will be helpful to prevent nutrient deficiencies. For example for B vitamins, include adequate dietary intakes of vitamin B12, biotin, folate, riboflavin B2 and etc.

Question: It is very common to see biotin supplement claiming "it promotes thicker hair". Is it true?
  • Firstly, biotin deficiency is rare because our intestinal bacteria can produce biotin (Guo and Katta, 2017).

  • Secondly, in the absence of biotin deficiency, there is not enough clinical trials or evidence to support efficacy in treating hair loss with biotin supplementation (Guo & Katta, 2017).

Vitamin D

• Vitamin D plays an important role in the hair growth and hair follicle health

• In a 2020 study, it showed that patients complaining of hair loss, they generally had low serum levels of vitamin D and iron (Tamer et al., 2020).


  • Anemia and iron deficiency are quite common, especially in female.

  • Hair loss seems to be related in the population with low iron

  • Ferritin level can be checked by doctors to assess serum iron level

  • Dietary intervention and dietitian support will be helpful to get enough nutrients requirement met from the diet

In summary, healthy diet and adequate nutrients intake are very important for healthy hair quality. Many nutrients play an important role for promoting healthy hair quality, and we have only listed a few of them here. Overall the diet quality and minimize nutrient deficiencies are important foundation for our health and also hair!


Elaine Vancouver Dietitian


Guo, E. L., & Katta, R. (2017). Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use. Dermatology practical & conceptual, 7(1), 1–10.

Tamer, F., Yuksel, M. E., & Karabag, Y. (2020). Serum ferritin and vitamin D levels should be evaluated in patients with diffuse hair loss prior to treatment. Postepy Dermatol Alergol, 37(3), 407–411.

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