There might be a reason you wouldn’t think of which is…?
While it’s common in men, it’s also a problem in women. For both sexes, hair loss can occur as part of the aging process, chemotherapy, poor nutrition, thyroid issues or other medical problems, low-protein diets, or just plain heredity (it’s in the family genes).
What’s normal is that we lose around 100 hairs a day. While that sounds like a lot, we don’t notice it because new hair is growing in at the same time.
But if you’re noticing more loose hair in the shower, while applying your favorite hair product, or simply brushing your hair, that may mean something is amiss. If you’re concerned, a visit to your doctor is in the cards.
After a brief examination and evaluation of your hair, your doctor will probably order some blood tests like CBC (Complete Blood Count), your hormone levels, thyroid function, and zinc and iron levels. He or she will also request another simple blood test called the 25-hydroxy (hi-drox-ee) Vitamin D to check if you’re low or normal in the vitamin.
Sometimes a low Vitamin D level may be a secondary find as the result of blood work for osteoporosis or other joint or muscle complaints. If you’re at the age when osteoporosis becomes more of a likelihood, or you have more aches and pains than you’d like, chances are your doctor will test your Vitamin D level. If you’re losing hair and you’re already seeing your doctor for another reason, tell them.
What’s Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is well-known for its role in bone and immune system health.
It’s a fat-soluble (doesn’t dissolve in water) vitamin that comes from sun exposure, certain foods, and supplements.
Vitamin D is also known for supporting your calcium metabolism. It helps your body absorb calcium from food and supplements, maintaining healthy bone cells.
Hair loss from low Vitamin D
If your Vitamin D level is deficient—then this could be just the problem behind your hair loss.
In fact, according to Dr Joyce Hoot and her colleagues, they found more cases of hair loss in patients with Vitamin D deficiencies. They also noted that Vitamin D replacement therapy helped promote hair regrowth.
Further research also found low Vitamin D levels in cases of hair loss and supplementing with the vitamin may be beneficial.
What causes a Vitamin D deficiency? Here are some factors:
- Being indoors too much
- Having insufficient amounts in your diet
- Living in northern climates
- Being overweight
- Being dark-skinned
- Living in highly polluted areas where the sun’s rays are partially blocked
- Using large amounts of sunscreen where the skin can’t absorb sunlight
Before you panic, a low Vitamin D level is pretty simple to correct.
Get some sun
Try to get 5-30 minutes of sunlight between the hours of 10 AM and 3 PM at least twice a week to your face, arms, legs, or back without sunscreen.
If you tend to sunburn too easily or have very fair skin, talk to your doctor about if getting natural sunlight is a good idea.
Bump up your diet with Vitamin D-rich foods
Choose foods like oily fish including tuna, salmon, swordfish, herring, and sardines; eggs (Vitamin D is found in the yolks), mushrooms, shrimp, oysters; and fortified foods like cow’s and soy milk, orange juice, oatmeal, and certain cereals.
Take a Vitamin D supplement
If you take a multi-vitamin, these usually have only 400 IU (International Units) which is below the recommended daily allowance. Look to increase the amount of
Vitamin D-rich foods to your diet, and if you’re able, get outside for some fresh air and sunshine. Your doctor can check your levels periodically and decide on your dosage. He or she will also advise you to take your supplement with a meal so it’s absorbed better.
Hair loss doesn’t need to cause panic. See your doctor, have your blood work done, and if your Vitamin D levels are low, move forward with treatment as your doctor advises. Before you know it, the days of hair loss can soon be over!