Hair loss is often a subtle disorder that happens over a period of time. Improper diet or weight-loss programs, Illness, disease or use of medications can cause mineral deficiencies that can contribute to hair loss. In some cases, supplementing with certain minerals will help to prevent hair from falling out and encourage regrowth.
Zinc promotes normal hair follicle cell division. A symptom of zinc deficiency is a dry flaky scalp and hair loss. In 1996, "Obesity Surgery" published a study conducted by doctors in Manchester, UK that identified a zinc deficiency in patients with hair loss after gastroplasy surgery. Their finding was that hair loss was significantly stopped and regrowth occurred after zinc supplementation. Although red meat provides most of the zinc in the American diet, oysters have a much higher content. Beans, grains, nuts and crustacean seafood contain zinc. Take note that too much zinc can cause hair loss.
Iron can be depleted from the body in a number of ways: illness, medications, surgery, menstruation, bleeding ulcers, pregnancy, poor diet and use of antacids. Some foods inhibit iron absorption such as bran, tea and coffee. Resulting anemia may cause dry brittle hair and hair loss. In 2002, the University of Portsmouth's Dr. Hugh Rushton conducted a study on women with hair loss and noted a deficiency in iron and lysine. Rushton recommends an iron supplement with lysine to reduce hair loss.
According to Nutra Ingredients, the National Institute of Health and Medical Research used 13,000 healthy subjects in a test with antioxidants and concluded that iron deficiency and iron depletion are factors in hair loss. Iron reserves were significantly lowest in women with severe hair loss. Foods rich iron include red meat, green leafy vegetables and beans.
Methylsulfonylmethane, MSM, is a natural sulfur-containing compound that occurs in fruits, vegetables and grains. It supports metabolism and health of connective tissue. MSM is primarily studied for pain management of arthritis but research has proven it beneficial to hair. A 2001 study by Dr. Ronald M. Lawrence, director of Council for Natural Nutrition, showed a significant improvement in hair length and increased diameter of hair fibers in only six weeks with 21 patients taking MSM.
Calcium and Magnesium
An imbalance of too much calcium relative to the amount of magnesium in the body can result in a high insulin level, which may cause hair loss. Balance your intake of calcium and magnesium by eating nuts, dark green vegetables and fish.
Deficiencies of selenium and iodine, minerals necessary for proper functioning of the thyroid gland, can lead to hair loss. Selenium is found in eggs, nuts, dairy products, meat and fish. Silica is an important mineral used in the formation of keratin, the component of hair. Good sources of silica are whole grains, leafy green vegetables and rice. Inadequate copper intake can lead to anemia and hair loss. Eat seafood, nuts, soybeans and lentils for their copper content.