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DrSugar: Dieting and Hair Loss?

DrSugar is in the house and answering your questions.

Dear DrSugar,
During the past six months I've lost a lot of weight. I began to work out six days a week and switch it up doing cardio, weight lifting, yoga, and Pilates. I also changed my diet and cut out red meat. I went from 140 to 118, feel great, and love working out. However, I feel like my hair is falling out. Am I stressing my body with too much exercise or am I not taking the right vitamins since I don't take a multivitamin? I do take a vitamin for energy and support of muscle tissue and J.F. Lazartigue Hair Loss vitamin. Should I also be taking liquid iron? Please help.
Unhappy About Hair Loss

To see what the doctor has to say about this and if hair loss is a common side effect of weight loss,


It sounds like you are very dedicated to your health. Hair loss can certainly be related to dietary issues and vitamin deficiencies. Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency causing hair loss in premenopausal women. Eliminating red meat alone will not usually cause iron deficiency because iron can be found in chicken, fish, beans, and many other foods. Our health guide contains detailed information regarding iron deficiency and dietary sources of iron. Other deficiencies that can lead to hair loss include zinc and the B vitamins. Other dietary factors can contribute to hair loss, including extreme diets and eating disorders. Carbs, protein, and fats are all necessary for a healthy diet, and strict low-carb diets have been reported to result in hair thinning and a host of other health problems.

Exercise is not usually associated with hair loss; however, any major stress on the body can cause hair thinning. This could include severe anxiety or stress, rapid weight loss, and a variety of medical problems such as hormonal imbalances. I am not familiar with the products you mentioned, but a daily multivitamin is never a bad idea, especially with restricted diets. Iron supplements can be constipating, so it is probably a good idea to verify iron deficiency with a doctor visit and blood tests. Other tests such as thyroid tests might also be helpful if your hair loss problem continues.

If you have a question for DrSugar, send me a private message here, and I will forward it to the good doctor.

DrSugar's posts are for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. Click here for more details.

Join The Conversation
mod16 mod16 8 years
i have had the same problem, however, i started increasing my iron intake and saw positive changes with my hair. i am also a vegetarian so it is a MUST that i continue taking as much iron as possible
ElectroPopTart ElectroPopTart 8 years
This toooooooootally happened to me! I lost 30 pounds in 6 months and my hair was totally falling out. I could see my scalp! I gained some weight back when I got laid off and, bang, my hair became totally full again. I think my diet was VERY low in calories.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
Hmmm, I think your diet may be the culprit. Make sure you eat enough protein (for an athlete, as you work out six times a week), and take in enough good fats like flax oil, nuts, and nut butter. Take a multivitamin for extra measure. I'm careful to do this every day, and I have the healthiest, thickest head of hair (My Mom loves my hair, and told me to never cut it). I weigh 105 lbs.
the-makeup-blogette the-makeup-blogette 8 years
ok I experienced this too!!!!! Good question.
cuzinmis cuzinmis 8 years
I think this is a great question, but feel that the answer wasn't very helpful. It simply listed possible reasons for hair loss, but didn't address or explain the specific question about new diet/exercise and it's effect on hair thickness.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I had the same issues as ilanac...when I lost most of my weight, I lost a lot of hair initially. I think hormone changes were the primary culprit, because I went on the pill to get things back in balance and when I did, my hair stopped falling out. Hope you get things sorted out!
Renees3 Renees3 8 years
Congrats on that weight loss!!
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Hope you can figure out the problem. :)
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i found that when i lost a lot of weight my hair started to fall out a bit more - it's the lack of protein and things like that which cause you to lose more and more hair . i found that once i added more protein to my diet, that i saw a change in my hair and it was healthier.
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