The ketogenic diet is a highly popular weight loss solution that can be effective for many people. While shedding pounds is the goal for most people on this diet, it often comes with a not-so-desired side effect of shedding hair. And yes, while it may not be an ideal side effect, hair loss is normal on a keto diet. To understand why hair loss is typical, you must understand how the body works in ketosis. (Don’t worry, this won’t get too scientific!)
What is the keto diet?
The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet. People on this diet drastically reduce their carbohydrate intake and replace it with fat. When your body has an excess of fat from the diet, it relies more on fat as energy than glucose, which is what is in carbohydrate foods. This shift in energy sources puts the body into ketosis, a type of metabolic state.
By making this switch, the body becomes better trained to burn fat for energy instead of sugar (glucose). When a person is in this state, their liver produces ketones from fat, which supplies energy to the organs, including the brain. Because there is less sugar in the diet, the ketogenic diet can help reduce blood glucose levels and increase insulin sensitivity.
Why does ketosis cause hair loss?
Several things happen to the body when a person adheres to a ketogenic diet.
Firstly, the diet itself often changes daily caloric intake. Indeed, most people reduce the number of calories they eat per day when they are on any type of weight loss diet. When calories are cut, certain body processes get put on the back burner to prioritize energy for more important functions. As you can imagine, the hair is not top priority, so it is often one of the first things to change, although the changes are not always immediate given the length of the hair growth cycle.
Secondly, a keto diet can be deficient in key nutrients that support hair health. For example, protein can be neglected in a high-fat diet, as can important fruits and vegetables that contain key vitamins and minerals that support hair follicles. For healthy hair growth, a person needs plenty of vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, biotin, and iron.
Thirdly, stress can accompany any type of dieting, and often your body looks at calorie restriction as a time of food scarcity (which can be a stress trigger). What this means is severe dieting can lead to telogen effluvium - a condition where you suffer from temporary hair loss due to some type of stress. Telogen effluvium is quite common and can certainly be brought on when someone begins the keto diet and makes a massive shift in their energy and nutritional sources.
How can you prevent hair loss if you are on the keto diet?
Some people absolutely love the keto diet for its ability to help keep their weight in check and for other health benefits like more energy and better clarity of mind (once the keto flu passes). Therefore, concerns over hair loss should not interfere with your intention to do this diet.
With the right steps, you can keep your hair healthy and avoid unnecessary losses. Here are tips to consider if you do the keto diet:
- Take a hair support supplement that encourages hair growth and health. The REVITA Nutraceutical Tablets for Hair Growth Support has everything you need to get all of the nutrients your hair requires for normal, healthy growth.
- Choose your hair products wisely by selecting products that stimulate hair growth, maintain scalp and hair health, and gently cleanse your hair without harsh chemicals. The REVITA shampoo and conditioner are ideal for anyone wishing to improve their hair thickness and health.
- Be gentle on your hair by avoiding harsh styling treatments that may cause hair loss or damage your hair. Coloring your hair and using hot styling tools should be avoided in the early phases of the diet.
- Reduce stress as much as possible. Bear in mind that starting a new diet can be stressful both physically and mentally. Treat your body kindly by getting plenty of sleep, having regular exercise, and doing things that bring calm to your mind.
Hair loss from the keto diet usually stops and even improves with time. If, at any point, you find that you are still suffering from hair loss while on the keto diet despite following the above steps, it may be time to talk with a medical provider. Indeed, there are topical hair re-growth solutions you can use. Still, before starting a topical medication, it is important to verify the rest of your body is healthy on this diet and that you do not have any other conditions affecting your hair health.