Why You Might Experience Keto Hair Loss
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Why You Might Experience Keto Hair Loss

Several studies have noted that one potential side effect of starting the ketogenic diet is temporary hair loss. For example, one study was looking at the ability of the keto diet to help reduce seizures in epileptic teenagers. Surprisingly enough, two out of the four subjects experienced hair thinning as a result of the diet.[2]

Here are some potential reasons for hair loss on the keto diet:

Deficiencies in Key Vitamins and Minerals

One of the biggest reasons for hair loss is the lack of proper vitamins and minerals in the diet. One study took a look at 100 subjects and found a lack of amino acids and micronutrients were responsible for hair loss, although the condition of the hair loss was not identified.[3]

Biotin is another key vitamin that helps your body convert food into energy. One study showed that a low-carb, high-fat diet had caused a biotin deficiency in mice.[4]

Most people don’t realize they have to replace the nutrients flushed out of your system the first few days of keto. When you eat fewer carbs, your body produces less insulin and your glycogen gets depleted. Your kidneys also excrete water and electrolytes which are important for healthy hair.

Large Caloric Deficits

Lacking vital vitamins and minerals in one’s diet may also mean a lack of overall calories. In fact, studies have shown that extreme weight loss can cause hair loss.[5]

This is because your body is trying to save its energy and spends less energy on non-vital processes such as hair growth. If you’re new to the keto diet and feel like you’re not eating enough, try tracking your calories to be sure you’re getting enough energy for proper bodily functions such as hair growth.

Increased Stress Levels

Stress can have a number of different effects on the body including hair loss. Adapting to a new diet puts your body under quite a bit of stress for a number of different reasons including calorie restriction, nutritional deficiencies, psychological stress, and more. Along with hair loss, stress can cause different conditions including alopecia, telogen effluvium, and trichotillomania.

Not Enough Protein

The general rules of the ketogenic diet are high fat, low carb, and moderate protein intake. However, most individuals just starting the keto diet don’t eat enough protein. This is due to the misconception that consuming too much protein can kick them out of ketosis through a process called gluconeogenesis. One study found that the two biggest culprits for hair loss included a large caloric deficit and a lack of protein in the diet.[6]

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