Weight Loss – Hair Loss – Is There a Link Between Weight Loss and Hair Loss

There are various causes of hair loss and there is a question about the connection if there is one, between weight loss and hair loss. Understanding weight loss especially extreme weight loss or crash dieting is important when attempting to answer this question.

Weight Reduction

Most people have at some point in their lives wanted to or needed to lose weight. A healthy diet and exercise are the best ways to achieve weight loss though it may take longer than you want it to. In order to effectively lose weight, your body must burn more calories (units of energy) than it consumes.

Extreme weight loss through illness, eating disorders, or crash dieting is not a good way to go. Illness cannot be helped and when recovered the weight you lost may come back. With eating disorders or crash diets extreme amounts of weight is dropped in a short period of time.

This extreme weight loss is usually achieved through severely limiting food intake often at the expense of your health. In such cases there may be a loss of essential vitamins and minerals needed for good health including weight. These deficiencies are likely to be B vitamins especially B6, Biotin, and Niacin, as well as minerals including magnesium and sulfur. These can all be found in foods especially in fruits and in vegetables. Low iron in the blood may also be linked to hair loss. Iron rich foods include red meats, beans, dried fruits, and many cereals. A multi-vitamin with iron may be needed to replenish what the body has lost.

A physical exam and knowledge of the ideal weight for your height will let you and your doctor know whether you are too thin to be healthy. Once illnesses go away or eating disorders are stabilized hair quality may return or at least improve.




Hair Loss

Hair loss can be caused by heredity, illness, stress, or trauma. Medications may also play a part in hair loss. Typically once recovered hair may return to normal or improve. When medications such as chemo treatments are stopped you will experience new growth over time. The quality and color may change as it comes back.

Treatments can include something as simple as hairstyle changes, eating healthier, and exercising. Topical treatments are applied directly to the scalp. Finasteride and minoxidil are the two FDA approved treatments that achieve results. Oral medications including anti-inflammatories and anti-depressants might also be used to relieve conditions that are causing hair loss including scalp irritations and reduce the effects of stress.

The Link

Extreme weight loss such as that which results from eating disorders and crash dieting will likely rob the body of the vitamins and minerals necessary for over-all good health and specifically healthy hair. Once these things are replaced your hair’s condition will likely improve.

Conclusion

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Excessive Exercise and Eating Disorders

In our society, women are ten times more likely to develop eating disorders and compulsive exercise habits that can be life threatening and often do prove to be fatal. Here are the most commonly developed eating disorders:

“Anorexia nervosa” is a life threatening disorder that occurs when you eat very little food and become obsessed about your weight even when you are badly underweight. An anorexic person will often see themselves as being fat when they look at themselves in the mirror even though they appear very skinny to everyone else. People with this disorder often turn to laxatives and various diet aids such as fat burning pills to bring their weight down to dangerous levels.

“Bulimia” is a disorder that occurs when you go on an eating binge, and then immediately purge it all out. You will eat a large amount of food, even junk food, and then get it all back out of your system by both self-induced vomiting and laxative use. This practice may throw off your body’s mineral balance in the blood and put the health of your heart at risk.

“Compulsive overeating” followed by “compulsive over exercising” is a pattern that is not as dangerous as anorexia and bulimia but still can lead to both physical and psychological problems. This is a pattern in which you will eat a large amount of food followed up immediately by exercising excessively hard and for a long period of time.

It is estimated that more than one out of three collage female athletes may at one time develop an eating disorder. If you suffer from an eating disorder, seek medical help as soon as possible because if left untreated, these disorders can cause permanent health problems and even death.

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