For some people Ketogenic Hair Loss is a real thing. The issue of hair falling out after a few weeks on keto isn’t much fun. Fortunately ketones and hair loss aren’t two things that go together. Hair loss on keto is often due to how you’re managing your new diet.
We’ll take a look here at the most common reasons that may be causing your keto hair loss. Fortunately, it is an issue that is not long term.
Even when you continue with your ketogenic diet, hair regrowth is going to happen.
It is now fully established that the keto diet is a great way of losing weight.
When followed correctly, you will also be reaching all your nutritional needs.
However, the diet does take some planning, and often people unwittingly fall short when it comes to making sure they are eating healthily.
More often than not, it is because you are going short on some vital vitamins and minerals.
The lack of which will have caused the hair loss that you now have.
Why is Hair Loss on keto sometimes a problem?
The keto diet is a low carb, high fat diet plan.
When you eat carbs your body converts them to glycogen which is used for energy. In the absence of sufficient carbs, your body switches to burning fat for fuel instead.
This is ketosis. Ketosis per se does not cause hair loss, but when you’re new to a diet two important problems may arise:
- You become short of nutrients
- You don’t eat enough
Lack of Nutrients
The keto diet is a low carb diet. This means that some vegetables and most fruit will be off the menu.
Sometimes, when new to the diet, some will try to avoid fruit and vegetables altogether.
However, it is vital that you continue to eat low carb vegetables.
These foods provide many nutrients that are necessary for hair to grow and to remain healthy.
It is normal for you to lose hair, you do it all the time. This rate of loss will increase and become obvious when you are not eating a nutritionally balanced diet.
Add this to a slowing down in hair growth, and you will notice the fact that your hair is suffering.
Lack of sufficient food can cause hair loss
While you will want to reduce your daily intake, it’s not necessary with the keto diet.
The keto diet is all about eating the sort of foods that work in harmony with your hormones.
With a regular diet, a high carb supply is converted into glucose which sends your blood/glucose levels upwards.
When you eat very few carbs, you will not experience the sudden increases in blood/sugar levels.
This is important because it is the quick spike in blood/sugar that triggers the release of the hormone Insulin.
Insulin is the hormone that tells your body to store some of the incoming glucose as fat.
With the keto diet, this storage message is prevented from being sent. Your body starts to use all your food for energy instead.
Because of this, by eating low carb keto foods, it isn’t necessary to reduce your overall food intake.
Obviously, if you were really over-eating before, you will need to make sure that you are eating a normal amount now.
Reducing your food intake too far
With the keto diet, here is no need at all to severely restrict your daily food allowance.
By all means reduce it somewhat if you need to but be wary of over doing this.
When your body senses a lack of sufficient food coming in it does one of two things:
- Lowers metabolic rate
- Concentrates all available resources on the most important functions only
These important functions include protecting your brain and organs, cell growth and renewal.
Non essential functions such as hair and nail growth will not be attended to.
You will soon see the effects of insufficient food in both your hair and your nails.
For more information see Stop counting calories: lose weight and gain control.
What keeps your hair healthy?
Your hair is no different to the rest of your body.
In order to be healthy it requires the full range of vitamins, minerals which would be found in a nutritionally complete diet.
However, there are certain vitamins and minerals which are especially useful for your hair.
Vitamin B7 – Biotin
Biotin is one of the B vitamins that is necessary for healthy hair.
It is a vitamin that you need to consume regularly as your body cannot store Biotin.
It is found in numerous foods. When on the keto diet you will want to make sure you’re including some good low carb sources of Biotin.
- Organ meats – liver and kidney are great sources.
- Egg yolk
- Nutritional Yeast
There is some uncertainty about how much Biotin you need each day.
However, most will say about 30mcg.
As there is up to 10mcg of Biotin in one whole cooked egg, obtaining Biotin from food is not difficulty
So getting enough biotin requires some planning, but is completely possible on the keto diet.
Few are not aware that vitamin C is an essential part of any nutritionally complete diet.
Vitamin C is famous for it is support of the immune system.
However, it is also necessary for the production of collagen, which is important for healthy skin, nails and hair.
Some low carb keto foods that provide Vitamin C:
- Yellow Bell Peppers
- Brussels Sprouts
This in another B vitamin which is important for cell division and metabolism. It is vital for producing new hair cells and for promoting hair growth.
Due to the fact that it is found in most meat and fish, it is unlikely that you’d be short of this vitamin unless you were attempting a vegan low carb diet.
Vegans should consider using a supplement and a B12 fortified Nutritional Yeast .
Vitamin D is produced when we are outside in the sunlight. It’s important for the absorption of calcium and for healthy hair growth.
Just 15 minutes in the sunshine each day will help your body to produce Vitamin D.
This vitamin can also be obtained from food, and good keto sources of this include:
- Cod Liver Oil
Some studies have associated a lack of iron with hair loss. It’s certainly true that a lack of Iron will cause dry, brittle and damaged hair.
Good keto food sources of Iron are:
- Red Meat
- Clams and Muscles
How long will it take to regain a healthy head of hair?
Healthy hair goes through a growth cycle. This has three stages:
- Growth Phase (anagen)
- Regression Phase (catagen)
- Rest Phase (telogen)
We lose hair all the time and we don’t normally notice it. A few hairs in the brush each morning are completely natural.
But if this loss becomes extreme, then it becomes obvious. This sometimes happens when first starting any major change in diet.
This is due to the fact that any change in the food we eat is registered as a stress in our body.
This is true, even when the change is for the better.
When the body is stressed, it cuts back on non-essential tasks and new hair growth is one of them.
Thankfully, this is a short term issue and the problem will improve.
When the hair repeats it is normal growth phases (about every three months) normal hair growth will start again.
You will see an improvement in your hair during the second three-month cycle.
This is why when you started the keto diet, you didn’t notice hair loss straight away. The hair loss you’re seeing now is a result of a disruption of the growth phase which was about three months ago.
Obviously, if you’ve been under eating , or missing out on some vital nutrients you will have to put this right first before your hair will grow normally again.
Not everyone, but a significant few, will experience some hair loss on keto.
When you first start a new way of eating such as the keto diet, your body senses this as a stress.
In times of stress, only essential bodily functions are taken care of, and your hair growth isn’t one of them.
Furthermore, if you’ve noticed that you are generally eating too much, you may have decided to cut back your overall intake.
Unfortunately you may well have overdone this. It’s easier to do than you’d think as one of the effects of the keto diet is that it reduces hunger.
Your metabolic rate will be reduced, and only important processes will be taken care of when this lack is picked up by your body.
You’ll notice a decline in the health of your skin and nails as well as your hair.
The final cause is that you have become too strict on your carb intake. The keto diet limits you to 20g net carbs each day.
While it’s true that this will take most fruits and some vegetables off the menu, it’s important that you include vegetables each day.
Concentrate on the low carb, above ground vegetables. There is no need to cut this important food group out altogether.
When done correctly, the keto diet is able to offer a complete and nutritional diet while helping you to reach your weight loss goals.
So, take care of any mineral or vitamin deficiency, and make sure that you haven’t reduced your food intake too much.
Fortunately, hair loss on the keto diet is never permanent.
Once you are back to full nutrition, you will see your hair return to it is former state within the next three-month.