Put away the wigs, the hair plugs, and the overpriced growth creams. Science may have a more natural solution to this cranial conundrum—without bidding a not-so-fond farewell to your follicles. According to a growing body of research, vegan or vegetarian diets might be speeding up the process of your hair loss.
Dr. Hilary Jones, a British general practitioner, says that those who ditch meat might lack certain vital nutrients for healthy hair. Meats like beef, pork, and poultry provide high levels of nutrients required for hair growth (particularly iron!) which could accelerate the onset of baldness. Here’s an explanation for all the hair mysteries you’ve always wondered about.
“There are lots of factors causing hair loss in men,” Dr. Hilary Jones told Express. “It could be genetic, due to skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema, a thyroid issue but also because of nutritional deficiencies. Iron deficiency is a factor in hair loss since it’s necessary for hair growth.” Check out these other natural remedies for hair loss.
A 2006 review of 40 years of research revealed a close link between iron deficiencies and hair loss. Plus, a diet rich in iron could even restore your hair, Cleveland Clinic dermatologists say. “We believe that treatment for hair loss is enhanced when iron deficiency, with or without anemia, is treated,” study authors Leonid Benjamin Trost, MD; Wilma Fowler Bergfeld, MD; and Ellen Calogeras, RD, MPH, wrote.
The National Institutes of Health recommends a daily recommended intake of at least 8 mg of iron for men. And iron-rich foods don’t have to come from animals; spinach, beans, and dried fruit contain a healthy dose of the mineral, as well. However, only meat contains both heme and non-heme iron, while plants only provide non-heme iron. Vegetarians need to consume almost twice the recommended amount of iron as a result, according to the National Institutes of Health. Talk to your doctor before popping iron supplements, as an iron overload could be just as dangerous as a deficiency, experts say.
On the bright side, new research says that being bald can actually boost your attractiveness. So don’t count the bald guys out just yet!