One of the most popular diets in recent years is the ketogenic diet, or keto diet for short.  The keto diet is a low carbohydrate and high fat diet where the typical macro breakdown is 70% fats, 5% carbohydrates, and 25% protein.  The basis of the keto diet is that you are forcing your body to enter a state called ketosis, where the body burns stored fats instead of glucose for energy.  Now the keto diet is actually not new and has been around for almost 100 years, in fact it is used to treat drug resistant epilepsy.  As a weight loss diet, there is some debate about how healthy the keto diet is long term, but the purpose of this blog is not to be pro or against the keto diet.  Rather, as many people have found success with the keto diet, we wanted to see if the keto diet could have any effect on your hair.  As it turns out, many people on the keto diet have found hair loss to be a common side effect after a few months, so why is that?

If you are experiencing hair loss that coincides with the keto diet, it is most likely telogen effluvium, a common form of hair loss that is caused by a stressor on the body.  This can be caused by pregnancy, rapid weight loss, protein deficiency, emotional stress, physical illness, surgery, trauma, and some medications.  Typically, the hair loss starts 3 to 6 months after the stressor occurs, and the hair loss almost always resolves, and regrowth occurs, once the stressor and hair loss are both treated.  So why do some people experience telogen effluvium with the keto diet?

One of the big reasons that the keto diet has gained popularity is that many people have found success losing weight quickly, as can often happen with low carb diets.  It is important to remember that any big dietary change or crash diet can cause shedding to occur.  Dietary changes and excessive weight loss can cause stress on the body and excessive stress, both physical and emotional, can cause hair loss.  Our diet also plays a key role in the health of our hair and when diets are restrictive there is the potential that your hair is not receiving the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients needed to growth healthy hair.  While keto diets typically consist of 25% protein, it is possible that many people on the keto diet are so focused on getting to ketosis, that they focus more on fats and are not getting enough protein.  Protein is a key building block for hair, so if your diet is protein deficient it will negatively affect your hair.  Lastly, some studies have shown that ketogenesis may increase the consumption of biotin, resulting in increased biotin deficiency.  Biotin is a B-vitamin that is important for the health of your hair.

If you are on the keto diet, it is important to make sure that you are supplementing your diet with key vitamins, nutrients, and minerals that are important for hair health.  We recommend Nutrafol® or Viviscal™ for patients looking for an all-encompassing supplement.  If you think you are experiencing hair loss from your diet, or any other reason, it is important to see a hair loss specialist that can diagnose the cause and determine an appropriate treatment plan.

Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team