Vitamin D is a vital nutrient that plays an important role in many functions of the body. A vitamin D deficiency may cause numerous problems, including hair loss.
Does vitamin D deficiency cause hair loss?
There is some evidence that links hair loss and other hair problems to deficiency of vitamin D. This essential vitamin stimulates hair follicles to grow, and so when the body does not have enough, the hair may be affected.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an autoimmune condition that causes patchy hair loss called alopecia areata.
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According to research, people with alopecia areata have much lower levels of vitamin D than people who do not have alopecia.
Vitamin D affects the health of the skin and hair, including other parts of the body. It plays a key role in the creation of new hair follicles. Hair follicles are the tiny pores from which new hairs grow. New follicles may help hair maintain thickness and prevent existing hair from falling out. Getting sufficient amounts of vitamin D can support hair growth and regrowth.
Other Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency
People with a vitamin D deficiency may have no symptoms, or their symptoms may be general and change over time. Symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency include:
- depression and anxiety
- frequent fractures
- slow healing of wound
- chronic pain
- loss of bone density
- constant fatigue
- muscle weakness
- high blood pressure
- decreased endurance
A lack of sunlight or not eating enough foods rich in vitamin D are the most common causes of deficiency of vitamin D. However, some people may have vitamin D deficiencies because of another causal condition, including Crohn’s disease or celiac disease, which prevent the body from fully absorbing nutrients.
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People with an underlying medical condition will also experience symptoms of vitamin D deficiency. Certain medications may also cause the body to break down vitamin D before it can be used. Medications that may cause a vitamin D deficiency include:
- medications for HIV
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If a medication is causing a vitamin D deficiency or hair loss, a person should seek medical advice from their doctor about alternatives.
According to research, when a person lacks Vitamin D, the most effective treatment is for them to take vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D supplements should be taken with meals, especially ones with plenty of healthful fats. Fat helps the vitamin D to be absorbed into the body. Good sources of dietary fat include nuts, eggs, avocado, cheese, chia seeds, fish like (salmon, sardines, and trout).
Supplements come in a variety of forms. Some may be taken daily, once a week, or once a month. When treating low vitamin D levels, a doctor will do a blood test every few months to see if the levels are increasing.
Both Crohn’s and celiac disease can cause a vitamin D deficiency. These diseases partially or completely block the absorption of vitamin D from food. In this case, the disease would have to be treated
If medications are the cause, a person may need to discuss alternatives with their doctor.
For mild deficiencies, increasing the amount of time spent in the sun can also help. However, it is important to wear sunscreen and avoid prolonged exposure to reduce the risk of skin damage.
A person’s first defense against hair loss caused by a vitamin D deficiency is spending 15 to 20 minutes outside per day and eating foods that are rich in vitamin D.
Brittle or sparse hair requires gentle treatment, so anyone experiencing hair loss can prevent further breakage by:
- not pulling the hair when brushing
- avoiding ponytails and other tight hairstyles
- loose-braiding long hair before bed to prevent tangling
- using a gentle and natural conditioner