Cue the party emoji–the scale is moving in the direction you want it to! But. . .then you begin to notice that your hair is falling out. Like, a lot of it. WTH?
Before you panic and assume you’re going bald, know this: What you’re going through is completely normal. “We all know that, clinically and anecdotally, baldness is related to rapid weight loss or weight loss related to anxiety,” says Ken L. Williams Jr., D.O., a hair-restoration specialist, surgeon, and author of Hair Transplant 360 — Follicular Unit Extraction.
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In other not-fair news, the more weight you lose, the more likely you are to experience some form of hair loss, says Beth Warren, R.D.N., founder of Beth Warren Nutrition and author of Living a Real Life with Real Food.
It all comes down to ~nutrients~, says Fatima Cody Stanford, M.D., M.P.H., an obesity medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital. People often don’t take in enough protein when they lose weight, she explains. And, if you don’t get enough protein, your body has to decide where to send the protein it will have. Given that your hair is not vital to your survival, it will get the leftovers, Stanford states –which can result in hair loss.
Ready for the good news? : This is temporary. “When people stop losing weight, the hair loss usually resolves itself,” Warren says.
If you’re planning to eliminate a lot of weight and want to minimize the. . .er. . .fallout, try keeping tabs on how much protein you’re getting, and aim to get your recommended daily amount–which would be 46 g.
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It is also a good idea to attempt to find some zinc in your diet, Stanford says, as it’s a key nutrient for hair growth (as well as skin and nail growth). You can get it by eating:
- Veggies like broccoli and spinach
- Fruits like avocado and fig
- Animal-based proteins like eggs and lean beef
You might also want to take a zinc supplement to be wholly sure you’re getting enough, says Stanford. (Just check in with your physician first, which is a must before taking any kind of supplement.
If you do begin to lose your hair, despite your best attempts, and it’s bothering you, Williams recommends carrying a biotin supplement or perhaps a prenatal vitamin, both of which have a good deal of extra vitamins that your body probably is probably craving at the moment.