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Your Hair on Paleo?

Answered on October 15, 2016
Created November 03, 2013 at 9:30 AM

There have been a couple of recent questions on PH about paleo and hair loss and some of the people who answered said it was a common paleo problem. I didn't know this and was curious to whether it is actually true. So I wanted to ask, since going paleo what has happened to your hair? Also, please give some details on what sort of diet you ate/are eating (since paleo is a rather inexact term for a diet that can vary a lot!). I want to see if it is possible to work out why some paleo dieters have had hair problems.

I'll start. I'm a woman by the way, 23 years old. Pre paleo I was a vegetarian. I have always had very long, thick, nice hair, but due to some eating problems (eating disorder) and stress it was getting thin for the past year or so. Upon switching to paleo I have noticed a lot of new growth which was much needed and was possibly the most immediate positive effect I could visibly see from changing my diet. I haven't used shampoo or anything else in 10 years and my hair continues to respond well to that. For me personally it seems that the more nutritious paleo diet and my efforts in general at improving my life and being happier/less stressed have benefited my hair. I have only been paleo for about 2 months though so I don't know if my hair will continue to be good.

For the past month I have been doing a cross between AIP and gut healing. I eat bone on meat, liver, whole fish (sardines and sprats), bone broth, ghee, coconut oil and non-FODMAP veg. I eat high starch veg like green plantain, taro, etc. at least 3 times a week and my carb count is probably 60-150g per day depending on the day. Oh and I try to have beet kvass at least 4 times a week. Prior to that I was also eating eggs and some yoghurt as well as I wider range of veg. Supplement wise I do low dose iodine and selenium, D3, K2, B12 (I am still recovering from being veggie), magnesium and the occasional probiotic.

Anyone else? Would love to hear how you hair has been affected - I am hoping for good news but it would be nice to know if hair loss is fairly inevitable.

2a6025992746ff6cd4ffb6ccf0aa03fc

(60)

on November 06, 2013
at 07:56 PM

Btw you can google "carbs and thyroid" for other stuff. As I said, there's a lot of to and fro about it all. But the gist is that whilst VLC works very well for some people, there are plenty of others who lose weight with VLC but then turn to a higher carb paleo diet for general health as they started to feel not so good with prolonged VLC. So try it out and see what makes you feel good.

2a6025992746ff6cd4ffb6ccf0aa03fc

(60)

on November 06, 2013
at 07:53 PM

Here is an article about carbs and women that talks about why carbs are not the devil and also says a bit about how women are often over stressing their bodies as they do whatever they can to lose weight or "stay trim" or whatever: http://www.paleoforwomen.com/carbohydrates-for-fertility-and-health/

2a6025992746ff6cd4ffb6ccf0aa03fc

(60)

on November 06, 2013
at 07:52 PM

Women and carbs I have various thoughts....in general I think women can more easily overstress their bodies with stuff like very low carb, lots of exercise, etc. Whereas men's bodies respond by burning up fat, women's seem to care more about the baby making abilities than anything else so you can end up getting fatter even when eating very little etc. because your body shuts down everything to preserve precious fat for fertility. So sometimes women have to fiddle around with more carbs or more calories or more rest in order to stay healthy. Some women are fine with vlc though.

2a6025992746ff6cd4ffb6ccf0aa03fc

(60)

on November 06, 2013
at 07:49 PM

The carbs and thyroid thing is a huge debate. Some people are saying very long periods of extreme low carb is bad for thyroid, others are saying it is not that low carb that does it but some other reasons or the person already was predisposed to the problem. But the fact is that some have found that eating more carbs helps their health, and personally I think that's what matters. Here is one point of view on the issue: http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2011/08/carbohydrates-and-the-thyroid/

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on November 06, 2013
at 07:48 PM

I don't know if this will work for your wife, but when I went to the barber's a month after starting to drink bone broth, my barber asked what hair product I was using to get my hair so thick and strong.

Medium avatar

(238)

on November 06, 2013
at 06:33 PM

The hair loss slowed noticeably with Paleo and then eventually went back to the same rate after a few months. She eats a good amount of carbs, rice, potatoes, veggies, salads - a lot more than I do.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on November 06, 2013
at 06:27 PM

The way to tell is if you're doing a very long IF and all of a sudden you feel anxious, that's the action of cortisol trying to signal gluconeogenesis. It's not a terrible thing, but obviously, if it goes chronic, it can be problematic.

46bee6b93ee79082ea1094f26c2da5a4

(837)

on November 05, 2013
at 02:36 PM

@jenjen, do you have any links for carb/thyroid/women's health info? I'm very interested. What have you found out?

2a6025992746ff6cd4ffb6ccf0aa03fc

(60)

on November 05, 2013
at 09:09 AM

Wonder if your hair loss is genetic or diet related? Have you ever tried paleo with more carbs?

2a6025992746ff6cd4ffb6ccf0aa03fc

(60)

on November 05, 2013
at 09:08 AM

I feel much better eating starchy carbs too. I think maybe that for some people, going below a certain level of carbs is stressful for the body.

2a6025992746ff6cd4ffb6ccf0aa03fc

(60)

on November 05, 2013
at 09:07 AM

I'm glad paleo has helped your dandruff. Have you noticed any thinning?

2a6025992746ff6cd4ffb6ccf0aa03fc

(60)

on November 05, 2013
at 09:07 AM

I'm with you on the stress thing. I think that can be even more important than diet. Perhaps a lot of paleo people are experiencing hair loss due to trying to combine very low carb with extreme workouts. Just speculation.

2a6025992746ff6cd4ffb6ccf0aa03fc

(60)

on November 05, 2013
at 09:05 AM

Does that mean she started to lose again or did she simply not continue to regrow previously lost hair? Is she eating a decent level of carbs?

2a6025992746ff6cd4ffb6ccf0aa03fc

(60)

on November 05, 2013
at 09:05 AM

I think for me the most important thing was consistent adequate nutrition and less stress. Yes I am eating more protein and fat now, but I don't think this is as significant a factor as simply eating enough calories and not running myself into ground with worries about my body. I eat hearty satisfying meals and don't over exercise, plus 7.5-8 hours sleep a night. I no longer freak out about stuff like my routine (in the past if i failed to get up at a certain time i used to get really stressed. I also freaked out about exercise and meal timing) and I focus on health not weight.

2a6025992746ff6cd4ffb6ccf0aa03fc

(60)

on November 05, 2013
at 09:01 AM

Yes it is interesting! I wonder if it is the carb level then? I have been hearing a lot about the importance of carbs for thyroid health recently, and also for women's health in general. I don't suppose you could share your approximate carb quantities?

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9 Answers

1
D05f3050dc3d973b8b81a876202fa99a

(1533)

on November 03, 2013
at 01:19 PM

I'm male, mine is thinning. Been paleo for years, most recently low carb/bordering VLC.

0
10c0aa88c75ee135fa3cb81ba4112b83

on October 15, 2016
at 06:22 PM

I have been on a paleo diet for a year now and about 4-5 months into it a lot more of my hair was coming get out. I too had really thick hair. Most noticeable in a ponytail. My husband doesn't really notice but let me tell you I feel it and see it. No bald spots just a lot less hair. :( 

I'm going up my carb intake. After reading comments I think it's the only smart thing to do. 

Has anyone here had noticeable hair regrowth??  Crossing my fingers!

0
46bee6b93ee79082ea1094f26c2da5a4

(837)

on November 05, 2013
at 02:46 PM

Huh. I've been eating pretty much full Paleo non-starch lately hoping it will help a stomach issue, and I have noticed my hair falling out a LOT more recently.

0
Fa14fbe0ac345e586fb407dbed9eda04

on November 04, 2013
at 10:15 PM

I had a aerious case of dandruff and seborrhea.

once I cut out grain and cut carbs to about 15~20% of total caloric intake( I do let myself cheat and buy a 250cc bottle of coke once a week) It got significantly better.

I did have like 2 or 3 huge zits come out about two weeks after I syarted, but once I popped those suckers, my skin was baby smooth(Well... Where my beard isn't growing...)

2a6025992746ff6cd4ffb6ccf0aa03fc

(60)

on November 05, 2013
at 09:07 AM

I'm glad paleo has helped your dandruff. Have you noticed any thinning?

0
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on November 04, 2013
at 09:47 PM

I've noticed several things: pre-paleo, thinning hair, weak thyroid. Post paleo, thicker hair. Whenever there's high stress, either from dabbling with ZERO carb (not doing that again), or work, etc., hair falls out and thins.

I also used to have dandruff pre-paleo. I never noticed it until recently, but it's actually gone post paleo. Not sure why, perhaps something was defficient, but hey, it's awesome not having that.

2a6025992746ff6cd4ffb6ccf0aa03fc

(60)

on November 05, 2013
at 09:07 AM

I'm with you on the stress thing. I think that can be even more important than diet. Perhaps a lot of paleo people are experiencing hair loss due to trying to combine very low carb with extreme workouts. Just speculation.

0
Medium avatar

(238)

on November 04, 2013
at 05:11 AM

My wife noted an immediate improvement in hair loss after going Paleo. However it was not a long term fix and we could never figure out what happened.

2a6025992746ff6cd4ffb6ccf0aa03fc

(60)

on November 05, 2013
at 09:05 AM

Does that mean she started to lose again or did she simply not continue to regrow previously lost hair? Is she eating a decent level of carbs?

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on November 06, 2013
at 07:48 PM

I don't know if this will work for your wife, but when I went to the barber's a month after starting to drink bone broth, my barber asked what hair product I was using to get my hair so thick and strong.

0
Af679502f1e31c0c59c79bd08f324b35

on November 04, 2013
at 04:11 AM

I noticed my hair falling out from ZC/LC... I now eat 100-175g of carb a day every day I'm a 26 year old guy. I may even be trading in some more fat calories for carbs. I feel much much better eating lots of sweet potatoes

2a6025992746ff6cd4ffb6ccf0aa03fc

(60)

on November 05, 2013
at 09:08 AM

I feel much better eating starchy carbs too. I think maybe that for some people, going below a certain level of carbs is stressful for the body.

0
7b4f3e07f5ad78fa0cc2ee65604d4128

on November 03, 2013
at 08:21 PM

I'm glad you started this topic! I am 28, female, and have always had very long, thick, healthy hair. About 2 months after going Paleo I noticed A LOT of hair loss, significantly more than usual, and it was coming out in fistfuls. I never had patches or bald spots but when I made braids or pony tails I could really notice how much thinner my hair has gotten. It really scared me at first. I had thyroid and other levels checked and I was (and am) healthier than ever before. A few female friends said "it just happens" as you get to 30, which might be part of it, but I knew there was something more to it. After a lot of research I found that it might be linked to a TOO low carb diet. I realized I wasn't really getting enough carbs especially for my workouts. I put white rice back in (along with more squash and yams) and noticed a difference very quickly. It's stopped thinning and I believe it's even growing more (might be wishful thinking). I feel better with the added carbs, too. Interesting, indeed!

2a6025992746ff6cd4ffb6ccf0aa03fc

(60)

on November 05, 2013
at 09:01 AM

Yes it is interesting! I wonder if it is the carb level then? I have been hearing a lot about the importance of carbs for thyroid health recently, and also for women's health in general. I don't suppose you could share your approximate carb quantities?

46bee6b93ee79082ea1094f26c2da5a4

(837)

on November 05, 2013
at 02:36 PM

@jenjen, do you have any links for carb/thyroid/women's health info? I'm very interested. What have you found out?

0
46cca8ea7b1325c286c470182aef053b

(111)

on November 03, 2013
at 01:54 PM

My hair has been thinning and falling out, but this is probably also due to a history (similar to yourself!) of disordered eating I haven't been able to shake. Do you have any tips on what worked for you on getting your hair to come back in strong?

2a6025992746ff6cd4ffb6ccf0aa03fc

(60)

on November 05, 2013
at 09:05 AM

I think for me the most important thing was consistent adequate nutrition and less stress. Yes I am eating more protein and fat now, but I don't think this is as significant a factor as simply eating enough calories and not running myself into ground with worries about my body. I eat hearty satisfying meals and don't over exercise, plus 7.5-8 hours sleep a night. I no longer freak out about stuff like my routine (in the past if i failed to get up at a certain time i used to get really stressed. I also freaked out about exercise and meal timing) and I focus on health not weight.

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