Low carb diets could be thinning your hair 

Ditched carbs? This could be the reason behind your hair loss, says a leading hair transplant doctor. Plus, the four things you should eat

Thinning hair is one of the most confidence draining things that can happen to men and women. And for those of us who can't afford (or stomach) an invasive hair transplant, losing one's hair can feel like a hopeless inevitability. But, one hair transplant doctor says there is something easy you can do to grow thick, healthy hair - and it all comes down to your diet.

He's not advocating anything fancy, mind you, just an increase in carbohydrates, which will be music to the ears of many foodies, as 'carbs' have long been demonised for causing weight gain. Dr Michael May from the Wimpole Clinic  says: 'A vast amount of energy is required to keep up with the cell turnover of hair follicles. This energy comes from carbohydrates. A low carb diet or 'Keto' diet can deplete the body of these vital sources of energy and can lead to increased hair shedding.'

He points out that, although it's not healthy to consume too many processed carbohydrates such as cakes and white bread, a variety of nutrients are needed for hair growth. 'By limiting your intake of carbohydrates (some vegetables and fruits considered carbohydrates), you may be reducing the variety of nutrients like Vitamin D, C and biotin which are good for hair growth.'

Sadly, that doesn't mean you can pile up on cakes and donuts, as too many of the wrong kind of carbohydrates can have the opposite effect. Dr May explains, 'a diet that is rich in processed foods and refined carbs with high levels of simple sugars could stimulate the body to produce more androgens, which are male hormones. Too many of these hormones can cause hair thinning and balding. For example, white bread, pasta, pastries, white flour and white rice.'

He adds, 'in the case of low carb diets, during the body’s transitional stage of adapting to a new diet, energy is needed for the important functions first (our heart, organs, lungs etc...) hence there’s less energy available for hair growth. The hair then goes into a resting phase, know as the telogen phase, which can lead to hair thinning.' 

'The key message is that the foods we eat affect the growth and quality of our hair more than people think,' says Dr. May. The good news is that all it takes, in some cases, is a simple switch of diet including a balance of proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals that are especially most important for strong, healthy hair. These are Dr. Michael May's top four diet additions for thick, healthy hair growth. 

4 best foods to prevent thinning hair 

  1. Brazil nuts are an excellent source of selenium, a mineral that has proven to help hair loss. Research shows that selenium is involved in creating new hair (but too much selenium can cause hair loss) so the balance is very important. 1 to 3 Brazil nuts a day is recommended. 
  2. Healthy fats (Omega 3s) have anti-inflammatory properties and therefore can help with open hair follicles and promote hair growth. Fish is one good source of omega-3s as well as vitamin D, which both, can boost hair health. The richest fish sources of omega-3 fatty acids can be found in Salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna, and herring.
  3. Eggs are a good source of biotin. Biotin is present in many hair loss/growth supplements, but scientifically there are not many studies that can back that. Biotin deficiencies, which are rare, can cause thinning of hair, hence why the use of biotin in the supplements is important. Eggs either way are very nutritious and a great addition to a balanced diet 
  4. Protein-rich foods contain amino acids that can promote hair growth. L-lysine, for example, is found in the hair’s root, which adds volume to hair. You can take supplements of L-lysine but foods like meat, beans, lentils, spirulina, nuts and again eggs, contain a good amount already.