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Hair loss


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I will start by saying that I am not currently in the midst of a whole30, although have done 3 of them in the past.  I eat paleo+dairy (greek yogurt, cheese, heavy cream - about 1 serving per day or less) and have no sweeteners in my diet - this has been consistent for 6 months now.  Offroading is the occasional handful of potato chips at a party or paleo baking sweetened with fruit.  I get 7 hours of sleep per night minimum, but am working toward 8.5-9, which I am successful at once or twice a week.  I don't exercise as much as I need to - generally 1-2 Eva T pocket workouts a week and back/front squats every week or two.  Stress levels are manageable, life is humming along nicely with 3 sons (9, 4, 4) and an awesome husband, I don't work more than 35 hours per week at my office job.


Now that the preamble is over . . . I am losing hair!  I used to have very thick hair and while it thinned a bit with both pregnancies, it has always been thicker than average.  I don't dye it or treat it with chemicals in any way.  Over the past 3 months or so I have noticed it falling out more than before, with handfuls coming out each time I wash it.  My hair is no longer thick.  It isn't falling out in patches but just from all over.  Any thoughts about what this could be?  A deficiency of some sort?  I'm in my mid 30's and don't relish the thought of losing my hair, particularly if it is a sign of underlying health issues. 


Hopefully I haven't posted this in the wrong spot!  I often have health/exercise/nutrition questions I want advice on from a paleo perspective, but there aren't forums here targeted to that. 


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sorry to hear you are experiencing hair loss. Have you gotten thyroid numbers checked recently? I would go for a full panel to see if there might be something up there. The other thought I have is simply adding more starchy carbs--if you have (intentionally or unintentionally) gone too low carb that might have this result.


keep us posted.

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Miss Mary is absolutely right! I had a friend (not Whole30) that had the same issue and her thyroid was out of wack. 


I have pretty fine hair and I tend to lose a bit of it every time I shampoo, when I am eating Whole30 I lose way less if any.  

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I   agree with missmary on getting your thyroid checked.  I was loosing hair by the handfuls too.  I was under a lot of stress with my husband being out of work for a year and a half.  At first I thought it was that it may have been Menopausal combined with stress.  I was even loosing hair on my arms as well.  I always tried to keep my carbs up esp. when I feel depleted(I'm very active) thanks to the advise from the very knowledgeable people on this forum.  Even though I kept my carbs up, I was still loosing hair.   I first noticed the improvement after my husband got a phone call to come back to work!!!  I had asked my hair stylist about  my hair and he was going to suggest to me to get my thyroid checked, he said that he has had other clients that was loosing hair due to their thyroid, but had noticed a lot of new growth, so that's where I figured it might have been the stress.   I will know for sure on Thyroid when my blood work comes back in a week or two.


I hope you can get this resolved.  

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I have experienced severe hair loss in the past year. 

(have also experienced severe illness last winter, and prescription meds, which are one possible cause although hair loss is not a listed side effect). 


It could be thyroid, or you could be iron deficient - this can very much be a cause of hair loss. Just because you are eating meat doesn't mean your body is harvesting that iron in the right way.  I would go to your doc and ask them to run a wellness blood panel, including all the iron and thyroid tests. I will list that out at the end of this post. I have also lost hair when I was eating raw vegan - although if you are paleo that obviously does not apply. 


Now I'm going to tell you all the things I did - and after about six weeks my hair stopped falling out:


* acupuncture - focused on hair loss - tons of needles in my head and elsewhere  - I went to the local acu school, at $25 a session very affordable, at first was going 2-3x a week. 

* hair packs of amla every couple of days - amla is an Ayurvedic herb - you can buy it at an Indian supply store, or online. Indian women use it to stop hair fall, also massaged my head with amla oil

* took a hair specific multi vitamin 

* took additional biotin

* used this serum once a week and left it on for several days at a time  - I think this really helped


* switched to 100% chemical free shampoo and conditioner specific to hairloss


* did hair rinses with diluted apple cider vinegar

* did coconut oil hair packs

* drank "black" water 


* yoga and breathwork


My hair is now growing back. 


Here is the wellness panel that you should request of your GP. Note, if you have an ND, show them these results as some of these results will be more significantly read by an ND than an MD. 


Please message me if you have questions. I know how devastating this is, but you CAN turn it around. 


Quest Diagnostics Wellness Panel:
Comp Metabolic Panel w/eGFR
CBC w/ Diff
C-Reactive Protein
Hemoglobin A1C
TIBC (total iron binding capcity)
% iron Saturation
Serum Iron
Sed Rate
T-3 Uptake
T-4 Thyroxine Total
T-4 Thyroxine Free
Reverse T-3
Free T3
Uric Acid
25 Hydroxy Vit D
Standard Urinalysis
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Thanks for the replies!


I eat a fair amount of carbs I think - a couple servings of fruit, root veggies more days than not.  I also eat 3 eggs every morning and red meat regularly, so iron intake shouldn't be a problem. It is entirely possible I am not absorbing it, though.  Does anyone know what might lead to malabsorption other than grains?  


I will make an appt with my GP.  I live in Canada, which means my appointment is free, but it also means the Dr gets to determine which tests they deem necessary and it takes tons of pushing to get anything more than that.  If I had to guess, my GP would check iron levels and basic thyroid function and that would be it.  So, the list may not go over well, but I will try.  Perhaps I should seek out an ND.

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In addition to everything mentioned above, have your B12 levels checked.  My severe B12 deficiency caused me to lose a lot of hair.  Within a couple of weeks of supplementing, the hair loss stopped.

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Iron is best absorbed with vitamin C, so try to ensure you always have something with vitamin C whenever you eat an iron-rich food (i.e. have an orange, tomatoes, strawberries, etc. with your steak or something) to try to help your body absorb most. I'm on an iron supplement right now (I bleed for, on average, 3 weeks a month due to a polyp...still trying to get an appointment at a time that I'm NOT bleeding) and they prescribed it with vitamin C tablets.

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This happened to me when I hit 34, and it's what sent me to my functional medicine doc. I had a long-time diagnosed and treated thyroid problem, and since my numbers looked OK, my GP wasn't willing to treat it any further. I asked for the extensive panel--something like what Deb suggests--and my GP did it, but put up a fuss. She was surprisingly unwilling to find a solution. Said it was probably a shampooing issue! Ugh. In the meantime, I was losing my mind as well as my hair. I did the ayurvedic herbs and oils, started drinking fresh kale-beet-parsley juices, and added all kinds of supplements willy-nilly. Nothing worked. Until I found the functional medicine doctor. Bottom line: it's more than likely a hormonal issue, which will be helped with paleo/W30/W9 coupled with dedicated stress reduction, but you may need even greater support. Adrenals, thyroid, estrogen-progesterone-testosterone all work together, and when one is off, they're all off, and they can cause all kinds of symptoms, including hair loss.


My heart goes out to you, because I know how devastating this is. I lost my hair at 17 from chemo and radiation, so when it started happening again, it was like reliving the trauma. If you find you cannot stop the hair loss on your own, I really encourage you to find a healthcare practitioner that is compassionate and willing to go the distance to find the root cause.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Some deficiencies do not come up in blood tests, as the tests test the wrong things (failures to convert are often not detected in tests).


Next time you get some bloodwork, get a MTHFR test, it is linked to a number of deficiencies, including B12.


Deb's list will likely uncover anything funky going on.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 4 months later...

" I really encourage you to find a healthcare practitioner that is compassionate and willing to go the distance to find the root cause."   :rolleyes:


The advice here is  spot-on.   All of these tips have been helpful to me.  When I added roots back in, my roots began to grow.  Root vegetables will preserve your hair.

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What Hair is Made Of

Knowing what hair is made of helps guide food and nutrients choices for strong hair. It also helps maintain skin and nail health.

Hair is an outgrowth of filamentous (“hair-like”) cells made of keratin that grow from follicles found in the dermis—that biologically active layer of the skin. Keratins are structural proteins. Nails and the outer layer of skin are also made by keratin. Human hair also includes the pigment melanin that is responsible for hair color, fats, and small quantities of vitamins and traces of minerals like zinc. Hair also contains 10–15 % water, which helps maintain moisture and balances its biochemistry.

Step One: Consume More Protein, Oils, and Water

To have strong hair, you need strong keratin. Start by getting enough protein and healthy fats and oils. Protein-rich meals are important because protein assists in the production of keratin. If you’re not vegan or vegetarian, eat lean meats, poultry, and fish to help build up keratin and essential amino acids that boost keratin production. Beans, almonds, and walnuts can also increase keratin production. Take omega-3 fish oil or plant-based oils.

Step 2: Eat Plants To Support Hair Repair

Vitamin C is a building block for keratin, so citrus fruits, peppers, chilies, and Brussels sprouts—fruits high in vitamin C—can increase the development of keratin. Biotin plays a role in metabolizing proteins, so it supports keratin production. Eat biotin-rich vegetables like cauliflower, kale, broccoli, and onions to improve the properties of keratin in the body. Beta-carotene rich foods also count when improving hair. Carrots, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes and yams, mangoes, pumpkin, and apricots are all good sources of beta-carotene. 

Foods For Healthy Hair

  1. Wild Caught Salmon
  2. Walnuts
  3. Eggs
  4. Beef
  5. Wild Blueberries
  6. Free Range Organic Poultry
  7. Spinach
  8. Oysters
  9. Sweet Potatoes
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  • 3 months later...

I have hypothyroidism and my hair was really getting thin - just falling out when I washed it, brushed it or even touched it.  It was awful.  I do bio-identical hormones and my DHEA was very low.  Increasing it helped my hair tremendously.  For various reasons I quit taking the DHEA and it all started falling out again.  Started DHEA again and now it's fine.

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I would suggest looking at what other symptoms of deficiencies you may have. I went through a couple year spell in my early 30's where I lost a lot of hair, I would say it got thinner by at least a third to a half. For me it ended up being a result of iron anemia, but what actually lead me to get tested was that I developed pica and I was constantly craving and eating ice. My mother recognized this symptom and suggested I get my levels tested.


My levels were so low at the time I had to get iron infusions. It's been a couple years and my hair still falls out more than I remember it did in my 20s, but it has thickened back up.

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  • 7 months later...

I highly suggest you get your thyroid checked! I was losing my hair and had no idea what was going on and so what my mother. Turned out we both had a thyroid problem. It is a simple blood test. All I had to do was take a pill every day and my hair stopped falling out and with in a year or two what I had lost did grow back. My hair dresser was amazed. As a former hair dresser myself I know that a thyroid disorder is the number one cause of hair loss in most females. Getting my thyroid checked changed my life. Im not tired all the time any more, my hair is awesome, and it had helped me so much.

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