Which Vitamin Deficiency Causes Hair Loss in Men?
Unfortunately, hair loss is not uncommon among men. Despite its prevalence, hair loss can affect a person’s self-esteem and feelings of attractiveness. A 2019 study from the International Journal of Trichology found lower quality of life for many men diagnosed with androgenic alopecia, a type of hair loss.
Self-perception and interpersonal relationships were two areas most affected by hair loss. Men with hair loss showed greater concern about getting older and other people’s perceptions of their appearance. Younger men were found to be more affected by hair loss than older men, although there were negative effects found in all age groups.
Hair growth begins in the follicle, a structure under the skin. An individual strand of hair can grow from 2 to 6 years before settling into a resting phase for several months. After the resting phase, the hair falls out and the cycle restarts within the follicle.
What is Androgenic Alopecia?
Androgenic alopecia, female pattern baldness or male pattern-baldness, is the most common cause of hair loss in adults. Men begin to lose hair in a well-defined pattern starting at both temples and receding upwards into an “M” shape. Hair may also begin to thin at the crown of the head and progress to partial or complete baldness.
Androgenic alopecia has been associated with other medical conditions in men. Coronary heart disease, prostate enlargement or cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity have all been found to link to androgenic alopecia. For women, the presence of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) has been associated with an increased risk of hair loss. Androgenic alopecia can occur in the presence of other conditions or alone and is thought to be the product of various genetic and environmental factors.
What is Alopecia Areta?
So what is Alopecia areata? Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder, meaning a disorder where the immune system attacks the body, that causes hair to fall out in sizes ranging from a few strands to a quarter-sized clump. The condition is thought to have a genetic cause; however, experts aren’t entirely sure why it occurs. Vitamin D deficiency has been discovered as a risk factor for developing alopecia areata. Effects of this disorder range from temporary to permanent hair loss in sections of the scalp ranging from small to large.
4 Types of Alopecia Areata
Alopecia areata has four types:
-Alopecia areata totalis: all hair on head is lost
-Alopecia areata universalis: all hair on the body is lost
-Diffuse alopecia areata: sudden thinning of hair (instead of in patches)
-Ophiasis alopecia areata: band-shaped hair loss around the sides and back of the head
Hair loss can also be caused by a variety of vitamin deficiencies.
For women, iron deficiency tends to be one of the most common causes of hair loss in pre-menopausal women. Iron aids with hemoglobin production, which helps transport nutrients and oxygen to the hair follicles to keep them healthy and strong. When iron is lacking, the hair stops growing and causes progressive thinning. Men are less prone to iron deficiency because they do not have menstrual cycles each month.
Why Vitamin D is Essential to Hair Retention
Vitamin D is another essential vitamin whose deficiency could cause hair loss. Without Vitamin D helping to strengthen the hair, hair may stop growing and lessen in thickness. Hair growth and shedding is regulated by keratinocytes, a type of cell that processes keratin, one of the main proteins in hair, nails, and skin. When vitamin D levels are low, keratinocytes struggle to effectively regulate growth and shedding, leading to hair loss.
Why Zinc aids in Hair Retention
Zinc deficiency works in a similar way to iron deficiency. Zinc is thought to support the protein structure of the hair and assist with maintaining strength and integrity. Without adequate levels of zinc, hair starts to weaken. Weak hair shafts are prone to breakage, which can give a similar thin appearance.
Selenium deficiency is rare but possible. Selenium assists with healthy thyroid functioning and without adequate amounts in the body, the thyroid may show dysfunction and lead to hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism has a host of signs and symptoms, one of which is hair loss. Selenium kills fungus that may cause dandruff and regenerates antioxidants that neutralize hair-weakening free radicals.
Factors that influence Hair Loss in Men and Women
Other factors that may cause hair loss include stress and diet. Stress can cause a host of problems in the human body. Stress can lead to headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, skin conditions, inflammation, depression, and anxiety. Stress-induced inflammation can occur within the hair follicles. Inflamed hair follicles are at risk of shedding the hair, impeding its natural growth cycle, and leading to the appearance of a thinning scalp. Poor diet can also lead to a variety of medical ailments. A nutrient-dense diet is one of the best ways to ensure all vitamin and mineral requirements are being met.
In today’s day and age, staying consistent with a nutrient-dense diet may be challenging. Quick, on-the-go options tend to be on the less healthy side and likely do not meet the recommended daily value for most vitamins and minerals. Vitamin supplementation can be an excellent way to keep the body’s values where they should be without inconvenience.
Which Vitamin Deficiency Causes Hair Loss?
It’s impossible to tell what type of vitamin deficiency might be at play without consulting a medical professional. If you have a concern about potential vitamin deficiencies, it is recommended that you visit with your primary care provider for testing. Your provider may suggest diet and lifestyle changes in addition to recommending supplements.
Dadpack offers our daily vitamin packs for men, the Daily Essentials, to ensure you’re receiving all the vitamins and minerals your body needs to retain your hair and enhance your livelihood. The best part? It’s made by Dads for Dads and is sourced from the absolute best ingredients you can find on the market.