Hair thinning and permanent hair loss is a big concern for many people considering switching to a strict vegan diet. Many questions are surrounding whether or not vegan diets can result in hair loss. The hair is an aspect of a person’s beauty and not an organ for survival. When the body is low on nutrients, it prioritizes these organs of survival over other organs such as the hair follicles. This leaves the hair follicles undernourished.
What Is A Vegan Diet?
A vegan diet is the complete or total removal of animal food sources such as meat, fish, egg, and milk. These animal food sources are very rich in protein, one of the most required nutrients needed for healthy hair growth. A vegan eats or consumes plant food sources only. You may be worried about not getting the necessary nutrients to keep your hair healthy, soft, and silky.
The real truth is that with a balanced vegan diet, you don’t have to worry about not getting enough nutrients or not getting the required nutrients for your hair growth. A balanced vegan diet can give you all the nutrients you would have missed from not eating animal food sources. A balanced vegan diet is simply a meal that contains all necessary nutrients from plant food sources only.
Nutrient Sources When On A Vegan Diet
A vegan diet still provides the essential nutrients the human body requires to thrive. Below you will find vegan sources of the vital nutrients you need to maintain beautiful skin and hair.
Nutrients needed for hair growth and their plant (vegan) food sources.
Protein and Biotin
Biotin, also known as B-vitamin, is a popular nutrient that enhances hair growth. Biotin aids the hair cells in producing amino acids for the production of proteins in the body. These proteins are also known as keratin. They give your hair structure and strength. Protein deficiency will result in weak hair strands that may eventually fall out. It also helps to balance the moisture in your hair. Taking food rich in biotin and protein will encourage healthier hair growth. Vegan food sources for protein and biotin include; chia seeds, soy, green peas, tofu, chickpeas, and lentils.
The micronutrient iron helps with nourishing your body and promotes healthy hair. When iron levels in your body are low, it becomes unable to produce haemoglobin. Haemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen for the growth and repair of cells in your body, including cells that stimulate hair growth. Once your hair gets enough oxygen from the iron through the haemoglobin, healthy and strong hair growth is encouraged. It would also prevent the hair follicles from entering into the telogen phase prematurely. Vegan food sources for iron include; green leafy vegetables, beetroots, dates, nuts, and seeds.
Fruits such as oranges, lemons, and watermelons are rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C aids better absorption of iron nutrients in the body.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
All the cells in the body, including hair cells, have a layer of fat around them. Eating omega-3 fatty acids makes the cell membrane soft and supple for easy penetration and absorption of nutrients into the cells. Omega-3 fatty acids nourish the hair follicles and support hair growth. It also helps to reduce inflammation associated with hair loss. In addition to making your hair strands healthy and shiny, omega-3 fatty acids also give your skin a youthful glow.
Vegan food sources for omega-3 fatty acids include; flaxseeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, chia seeds, and good vegan omega-3 fatty acids supplements can help as well.
Zinc is an essential nutrient for the growth and repair of hair tissues. Lack or deficiency of zinc can lead to increased hair loss and reduction in hair growth. Adequate zinc nutrients help to regulate the level of hormones in the body associated with hair loss. Zinc is essential in keeping the oil glands around the hair follicles functioning properly.
Vegan food sources for zinc include; linseed, hempseed, pumpkin seed, chia seeds, lentils, tofu, and chickpeas.
Copper deficiency is not very common because it is naturally in the body system. However, copper deficiency can still happen. Copper peptide helps to maintain tissues in the blood vessels. It increases blood circulation to the scalp, promoting hair growth. Copper may also stimulate hair follicles to receive adequate oxygen and nutrients to encourage new hair growth.
Vegan foods rich in copper include; cashew nut, almond nut, peanut, lentil, and sesame seeds.
Water is an essential nutrient required in more than what the body can produce naturally. All biochemical activities in the body occur in water. Water fills up the spaces between cells and helps to form molecules like protein molecules. Water is also necessary to keep the body hydrated. The hair strands naturally depend on how hydrated the body is to grow and remain healthy. You can either stay hydrated by drinking pure water regularly or take fluids such as coconut water.
Getting Medical Advice When Switching To A Vegan Diet
Switching to a strict vegan diet is seen as an extreme change that may affect not just your hair’s health, but also your overall physical health. This is especially true during the first few weeks or even months. If you fail to manage this transition, you may end up affecting your wellbeing.
If you’re experiencing sudden hair loss at the same time as you’re changing your diet, there may be a link. Switching back to your normal diet, taking supplements and seeking your doctor’s advice is highly recommended. Vinci Hair Clinic offers advice and support when it comes to various hair loss conditions. Get in touch to book a free consultation to help you understand your hair loss and find treatments that work for you.