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Vitamin D and Female Pattern Hair Loss

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Telogen effluvium or female pattern hair loss is a type of hair loss that often occurs in young women.  In fact, this hair loss can occur in up to 30% of women, often with devastating psychological consequences.  There are many different ways to help treat and prevent this type of hair loss, but recently new research has suggested that certain vitamin deficiencies including low vitamin D levels can contribute to accelerating this type of hair loss.

Health experts agree that eating a well-balanced diet that contains all essential vitamins including A, D, E, K, C, and the B-complexes can have incredible benefits to the health of hair. B complex vitamins are important for regulating metabolism and are also essential for healthy skin and hair, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.  You should always try to get your vitamins from food first but supplementation may be helpful in order to make more significant changes quickly.  You can easily find B-vitamins in whole grains, cauliflower, carrots, dark-leafy greens, beef liver, poultry, eggs, soybeans, nuts, avocados, and legumes.

\Vitamin D also keeps the bones and skin healthy, and in recent years has been linked more and more to hair growth. A 2012 study in the journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine suggests that vitamin D can help create new follicles within the dermis where new hair can grow.  Vitamin D may also help invigorate follicles that have become dormant, according to researchers at Harvard. Treatment products like Rogaine and Propecia can help prevent future hair loss, but generally will not help stimulate new growth.  Research may suggest that getting enough vitamin D daily may also help restore dormant hair follicles.

Current RDA guidelines recommend adults get 600 international units, or 15 micrograms, of vitamin D daily.   With over a billion people worldwide deficient in vitamin D, it may be necessary to work on your daily intake of the vitamin in order to keep your levels in an ideal range. Natural ways to get more vitamin D include eating fish, mushrooms, grains, and drinking fortified products like fortified milk.  Going outside can also help, as the body produces vitamin D through direct contact with the sun, but be sure to protect your skin by applying ample sunscreen.  If you decide to choose to supplement, be careful and consult a licensed health care provider. Vitamin D is fat-soluble and can build up in fat tissue at dangerous levels if you get too much and may lead to fatigue or kidney stress.

While it is too early to comment if there is any prevention or treatment effect with vitamin D in TE and FPHL, these new studies certainly give reason to screen for vitamin D deficiency in women with hair loss.

 

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