Our body needs different nutrients to function properly, and one of them is vitamin D. Also referred to as the “sunshine vitamin”, it is essential for immunity, cell growth, strong bones and healthy skin.
It is nicknamed as such because the sun is the best source of this fat-soluble vitamin. A type of cholesterol on the skin turns into vitamin D when it becomes exposed to UV-B radiation from the sun.
But you can also get this nutrient from foods such as fatty fish, seafood, egg yolks and mushrooms. Vitamin D supplements are likewise available in the market today.
Indeed, having adequate levels of this vitamin in your body should be easy. All you need is to spend time under the sun.
This is why it surprises a lot of people that vitamin D deficiency is considered a major public health concern all over the world. According to reports, vitamin D deficiency affects around 13 per cent of the global population.
Low levels of vitamin D in the body have been associated with conditions like heart disease, osteoarthritis, diabetes and some types of cancer. It has also been linked to hair loss or alopecia.
Can Low Vitamin D Levels Lead to Hair Loss?
There is scientific evidence that shows that vitamin D deficiency can trigger hair loss in both men and women.
In one study, females suffering from telogen effluvium, female pattern hair loss and other forms of alopecia were found to have low levels of vitamin D.
Similarly, another study found a correlation between alopecia areata and vitamin D deficiency. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition that causes patches of bald spots on the scalp. It is an unpredictable and cyclical hair loss condition that currently has no cure.
The relationship between vitamin D and hair loss is still not fully understood. What is known so far is that this nutrient plays a role in the growth of new hair follicles, the pores where hairs grow. Hence, having more follicles means more strands and a thick head of hair.
How to Treat Hair Loss Due to Vitamin D Deficiency
If you are concerned about vitamin D deficiency-related hair loss, the first thing you must do is to consult a dermatologist or trichologist. This is to ascertain the cause of your alopecia. In case you didn’t know, hair loss can be due to different things.
Once it is verified that the problem is due to low levels of vitamin D, the specialist is going to create a hair loss treatment plan based on your age and the severity of your condition.
Just like other kinds of hair loss caused by nutritional deficiency, treating this problem includes bringing your vitamin D levels back to normal. Hence, the specialist may encourage you to spend more time outdoors.
Experts recommend at least 15 to 20 minutes of sun exposure three times a week to maintain healthy vitamin D levels in the blood.
The specialist may also suggest dietary changes, specifically eating more foods rich in vitamin D. Furthermore, you may also be asked to take supplements.
Meanwhile, if the hair loss is severe, clinically-proven hair loss medications may be prescribed to promote hair regrowth.
According to anecdotal reports, the hair shedding may stop and hair growth may happen two months after upping your vitamin D intake.
In conclusion, vitamin D deficiency-related hair loss is preventable. All you need to do is to spend time outdoors regularly or take supplements on months when there is no ample sunlight.
On the other hand, if you are suffering from hair loss already, do not fret as this problem is usually reversible for as long as it is treated early.
So, make sure you see a dermatologist or trichologist the moment you start noticing excessive hair shedding. Lastly, do not self-medicate; consult a specialist first before taking any medication or supplement.
Are you worried about vitamin D deficiency-related hair loss? Schedule a consultation with our experienced trichologist to determine the best treatment plan for you. Call us now on +353 (0)1 6793618!