Hair loss in women… Yes, women. You heard us correctly. Hair loss for men is a commonly discussed topic. It is, in fact, a billion dollar industry, flush with over-the-counter products, pharmaceuticals, transplantation procedures and more. Yet as women, we don’t even have a Hair Club for Women. But we should.
Hair loss and hair thinning is, in fact, a very common complaint of women of all ages. As physicians, hair loss in women is something we hear about daily. There are many possible causes for hair loss in women. However, our experiences have shown us that perhaps the biggest culprits we see is vitamin deficiencies – an easily correctable problem.
While hair loss can occur in association with mental or physical stress, pregnancy, or a hormone imbalance, we find that women often are lacking in certain vital nutrients necessary in healthy hair. Correcting these deficiencies takes some time and patience, but it can help with hair loss in women!
What vitamins can you take for hair loss?
The vitamins and minerals most women lack for proper hair health Vitamin D and Iron. More on each of these in other blogs, but we commonly see women who do not and cannot get enough of either of these important nutrients in their diet. We loose Iron through menstruation and pregnancy. Also, we no longer live in a carnivorous society where we scarf down red meat at multiple meals a day.
While that may be great for other reasons, it is not so helpful when it comes to maintaining appropriate levels of Iron. As a result, eventually we see signs of Iron depletion in the form of hair loss, fatigue and other symptoms. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, the first step is to consult with your doctor as these symptoms may be signs of something more serious. Sometimes, additional testing is warranted.
However, it is our experience that most women complaining of hair loss are Iron depleted. Through a plan of gradual replacement (in the correct combination with other nutrients that help with iron absorption, such as Vitamin C) this problem can be fixed. This does not happen overnight. It takes 6-12 months, but we are sure that universally women would tell you it is well worth the wait.
Similarly, a Vitamin D deficiency is a very common contributor to the hair dilemma. Vitamin D is an important vitamin that plays a vital role in bone metabolism, immunity and many other physiologic processes. Getting enough Vitamin D strictly through our diet (mostly found in salmon or fortified milk) is very challenging.
While the sun gives us Vitamin D, we all know by now that excess exposure to the sun can cause skin cancer and other ailments. Thus, sunbathing is most definitely not recommended as a source for our Vitamin D. Additionally, our kidneys and liver must convert the metabolite we obtain from the sun into its active form and our bodies do not often process the Vitamin D as they should.
But fear not, Vitamin D also is a nutrient that we can replenish over time. Like Iron, it requires a steady daily dose over many months and the amount taken should not be excessive (too much of a good thing is not better, but can in fact be harmful). But, appropriate levels of Vitamin D should enable you to restore your body to its optimal level of function.
Hair growth would not be stimulated without providing your body with its natural building blocks. For this we turn to Biotin, another nutrient that plays an essential role in the repair and regrowth of hair follicles. Each of us has variations in what we eat, how much sun we get and how we live. Finding the ideal mix of nutrients, based on your lifestyle, is essential to keeping your body functioning at its very best.
Hair loss is a very vexing problem for many women. Consult with your doctor to rule out any serious medical conditions and consider addressing nutritional deficiencies to optimize your own health and well-being.
Arielle Levitan is a doctor of Internal Medicine with a special interest in Preventive Medicine and Women’s Health. She is a mother of three active adolescents. Romy Block specializes in Endocrinology and Metabolism and is mother to three elementary age boys. As professional women with active family lives, they recognize that women, in their many roles, often neglect their own health needs and are uncertain about what vitamins to take. Each woman is different in her diet, exercise and health history, and will benefit from different nutrients. After years of advising their patients about the proper vitamins to take, Drs. Block and Levitan created Vous Vitamin®to provide women everywhere with quality vitamins that are suited to their individual needs.
The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products offered by Vous Vitamin®are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Nothing contained herein is intended to be a diagnosis or constitute medical advice. The symptoms described in this Blog may be a result of a serious medical condition which requires medical treatment. You should consult with your doctor if you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in this Blog and before beginning any vitamin or supplement regimen.