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Can a Vitamin D Deficiency Cause Hair Loss?



A vitamin D deficiency can cause hair loss.

More Info: Hair loss can result from many dietary causes. Deficiencies in any of several nutrients in the diet, including Vitamin D, Vitamin A, iron, and protein can cause hair loss. Many vitamins and minerals promote hair health and regrowth, and these are Vitamins B, C, and E, as well as dietary minerals, namely, calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, and iron. Fish oil can add Vitamin D and other essential fatty acids to the diet to promote healthy hair growth.

The Hair Growth Cycle

The hair shaft and follicle undergo four stages. The active stage is the anagen phase is when the hair is firmly attached to the follicle, is nourished by it, and is strong and growing and is pushing out the old shaft. The transitional phase between the active phase and the dormant phase is called the catagen phase, when the dermal papilla, or bulb of the hair follicle, separates from the hair shaft and moves into a dormant position. The dormant or resting phase, called the telogen phase, is characterized by the shaft being completely separate from the hair follicle. In this stage the hair shaft falls out easily. The fourth phase, the mesanagen phase, transintions between the telogen phase and the anagen phase. In the mesanagen phase, the dermal papilla is coming out of dormancy and starting to grow a new shaft, which starts to push out the old shaft.

Stress and Hair Loss

Vitamin D can also work indirectly on hair loss by aiding in other processes in the body that affect hair loss. It can aid the body in coping with and relieving stress by improving mental clarity and helping overcome depression. Stress can affect the hair follicle by causing more of them to go into the dormant stage, and more often. In this dormant stage, called the telogen phase, the hair shaft is disconnected from the follicle and falls out more easily. An adequate amount of Vitamin D, as well as other nutrients, is necessary to keep as many hair follicles active or anagen phase as long and often as possible.

Immunity and Hair Loss

One benefit of Vitamin D is its role in promotion of a healthy immune system. Hair loss can result from immune system irregularities, and improvement of the immune system can encourage hair health and aid in hair regrowth. Hair loss can result from diseases, and immunity from these diseases can further prevent hair loss. A sufficient amount of Vitamin D along with a healthy diet and lifestyle can boost immunity and promote good overall health, including healthy hair growth.

Cancer and Hair Loss

One cause of hair loss is chemotherapy treatment for cancer. This causes anagen effluvium, which causes all of the hair to fall out. This is temporary and the hair should regrow after the treatments are over. However, Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to certain types of cancer, particularly colon cancer. Vitamin D can help prevent cancer and the need for chemotherapy which causes hair loss. This type of hair loss is called anagen effluvium because it occurs during the anagen phase of hair growth.

Hormones and Hair Loss

Another cause of hair loss is hormonal imbalances that come about with menopause in women. The decrease in estrogen levels can result in the predominance of testosterone that can cause hair loss in women undergoing menopause as it does in men. Postmenopausal women can experience thinning of hair or even male pattern baldness in the absence of hormonal treatment. This occurs in the telogen phase when the hair follicle is dormant and separated from the shaft. Called telogen effluvium, this trype of hair loss occurs when the shaft is most weakly held at the root to the scalp.

Other Things That Can Help With Hair Loss

Heredity is the most important cause of hair loss, at what age it will occur, and how serious it will be. Pulling on the hair shaft by persistent wearing of hair styles such as heavy ponytails and tight cornrowing can result in hair loss. A change in lifestyle with attention to healthier hair care, such as a healthy diet that includes sufficient vitamins including Vitamin D, as well as protein and other hair-healthy nutrients, the use of massage to stimulate scalp circulation, avoiding excessively tight or heavy hairstyles, as well as sensible exposure to the sun, should help in the fight against hair loss.



“Hair loss in women.” Women to Women. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Aug. 2010.

“Hair Loss Causes | Causes of alopecia hair loss.” Hair Loss Guru | Get answers to your hair loss questions. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Aug. 2010.

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