Vitamin Deficiencies and Hair Loss (How To Fix It!)

5th June 2023

Could your hair loss be due to vitamin deficiency? As we age, many people notice that their hair is not as thick or healthy as it used to be.

While hair masks and other topical treatments can help in the short term, there may be an underlying nutritional deficiency that needs to be addressed for long-term results.

In this video, learn the five most common nutritional deficiencies that can be linked to hair thinning and hair loss, including iron deficiency, iodine deficiency, vitamin D deficiency, B12 deficiency, and protein deficiency. Don’t forget about other issues, such as hormonal imbalances and gut absorption, known as gluten intolerance.

vitamin deficiency hair loss

Key Takeaways About Vitamin Deficiency and Hair Loss

  • Nutritional deficiencies can be linked to hair thinning and hair loss.
  • Iron, iodine, vitamin D, B12, and protein deficiencies are the most common culprits.
  • Addressing these deficiencies through diet and supplementation can help improve hair health.

Iron Deficiency

Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies that can lead to hair thinning and hair loss. Women who still have their monthly cycle are especially vulnerable to this deficiency.

In this section, we will discuss the causes of iron deficiency, foods rich in hemi iron, non-hemi iron plant-based foods, and supplementation.

Causes of Iron Deficiency

Iron deficiency occurs when the body lacks enough iron to produce proper amounts of red blood cells. These cells carry oxygen around the body and into the tissues, allowing them to function optimally.

When the body is short on oxygen or hemoglobin, it starts to prioritize its supply to the most vital organs instead of the hair follicles. As a result, the hair follicles are no longer able to function optimally, leading to temporary hair loss.

Foods Rich in Hemi Iron

Hemi iron is the most absorbable form of iron and can be found in foods such as red meats, seafood, chicken, and eggs. Consuming these foods can help to quickly increase iron levels in the body.

Non-Hemi Iron Plant-Based Foods

For vegans, non-hemi iron plant-based foods can also help to increase iron levels. Some of these options include lentils, chickpeas, spirulina, and dark leafy greens like spinach.

It is important to consume these foods with foods rich in vitamin C because vitamin C increases the absorption of iron.


While isolated synthetic iron supplements work for some people, it is not the most natural approach. A high-quality grass-fed beef liver or beef spleen supplement can be a better option as they are whole food extracts that the body can recognize and absorb better.

In conclusion, iron deficiency is a common nutritional deficiency that can lead to hair thinning and hair loss. Consuming foods rich in hemi iron, non-hemi iron plant-based foods, and supplementation can help to increase iron levels in the body and promote hair growth.

Vitamin Deficiency Hair Loss: Iodine Deficiency

Importance of Iodine for Thyroid Health

Iodine is an essential mineral that plays a vital role in thyroid health. The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate metabolism, growth, and development.

Iodine is required for the production of these hormones, and a deficiency in iodine can lead to hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones.

Hypothyroidism can cause a range of symptoms, including fatigue, weight gain, and hair loss. Hair follicles require thyroid hormones to function correctly, and a lack of these hormones can lead to hair thinning and hair loss. It is crucial to maintain proper iodine levels to support thyroid health and prevent hair loss.

Sources of Iodine

The best dietary sources of iodine are seafood, seaweed, and dairy products.

Seaweed is an excellent source of iodine, with some varieties containing up to 4,500 mcg per gram. However, it is essential to be cautious when consuming seaweed, as excessive iodine intake can lead to thyroid dysfunction.

If you do not consume seafood or dairy, you can obtain iodine from iodized salt or supplements. However, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional before taking iodine supplements, as excessive iodine intake can be harmful.


If you have an iodine deficiency, your healthcare provider may recommend an iodine supplement.

Iodine supplements come in different forms, including tablets, capsules, and drops. It is crucial to follow the recommended dosage carefully, as excessive iodine intake can lead to thyroid dysfunction.

Additionally, it is essential to be aware that some supplements may contain excessive amounts of iodine, so it is essential to choose a high-quality supplement from a reputable brand.

Vitamin Deficiency Hair Loss: Vitamin D

Role of Vitamin D in Hair Growth

Vitamin D plays a critical role in stimulating new and old hair follicles.

When vitamin D levels are low, it can actually stunt new hair growth.

In fact, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to alopecia, which is an autoimmune condition where your immune system starts to attack your hair follicles, and this can lead to bald patches in the scalp.

Sources of Vitamin D

One of the best sources of vitamin D is direct sunlight exposure.

However, it is important to use common sense and not burn your skin.

Just a few minutes a day or a few times a week of direct sunlight exposure is great for most people.

In terms of food, pasture-raised egg yolks contain a small amount of vitamin D, as do fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and cod liver oil.

Vitamin D drops are also a great option, as they are submerged in some sort of oil base, which is important because vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin.


If you are not getting enough vitamin D through food or direct sunlight exposure, supplementation may be necessary.

Vitamin D drops and cod liver oil supplements are great options, as they are whole food extracts and your body is going to recognize and absorb them a lot better.

It is important to get a high-quality supplement to ensure that you are getting the proper amount of vitamin D.

Vitamin Deficiency Hair Loss: B12

Vitamin B2 is an essential nutrient that plays a critical role in the production of red blood cells. When the body lacks B12, it can lead to anemia, a condition where the body doesn’t produce enough red blood cells.

This can lead to fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath. But what does B12 deficiency have to do with hair thinning and hair loss? Let’s take a closer look.

Role of B12 in Red Blood Cell Production

B12 is necessary for the proper formation of red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body. Without enough B12, the body can’t produce enough red blood cells, which can lead to anemia.

When the body is low on oxygen, it prioritizes the oxygen supply to the most critical organs, such as the heart and brain, rather than the hair follicles. As a result, the hair follicles don’t receive enough oxygen and nutrients, which can lead to hair thinning and hair loss.

Sources of B12

B12 is found in animal products, such as meat, fish, and dairy. The best sources of B12 are liver, clams, beef, salmon, and eggs.

Vegetarians and vegans can get B12 from fortified foods, such as soy milk, nutritional yeast, and some breakfast cereals. However, it’s important to note that plant-based sources of B12 are not as readily absorbed by the body as animal sources.


If you suspect that you have a B12 deficiency, it’s essential to get tested by a healthcare professional. If you are deficient, your doctor may recommend B12 supplements.

There are different types of B12 supplements, including cyanocobalamin, methylcobalamin, and hydroxocobalamin.

Cyanocobalamin is the most commonly used form of B12 supplement, but some people may have trouble absorbing it. Methylcobalamin and hydroxocobalamin are easier to absorb and may be a better option for some people.

In conclusion, B12 deficiency can lead to hair thinning and hair loss, as it affects the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicles. It’s important to ensure that you are getting enough B12 in your diet or through supplementation to maintain healthy hair and prevent hair loss.

Protein Deficiency

Protein is an essential nutrient that plays a critical role in the health of your hair. Your hair is primarily made up of protein, and a lack of protein in the diet can lead to hair thinning and hair loss.

While protein deficiency is the least common of all the nutritional deficiencies that can be linked to hair thinning and hair loss, it’s still important to be aware of its impact on your hair health.

Importance of Protein for Hair Health

Protein is necessary for the growth and repair of all the cells in your body, including the cells that make up your hair. Your hair follicles require a steady supply of protein to produce new hair cells and maintain the health of existing ones.

Without enough protein, your hair may become weak, brittle, and prone to breakage.

In addition to its role in hair growth and maintenance, protein also helps to regulate the production of hormones that can affect your hair’s health. Hormonal imbalances, particularly those related to your thyroid and adrenal glands, can lead to hair thinning and hair loss.

Protein can help to balance these hormones and promote a healthy hair growth cycle.

The general guidelines suggest consuming up to 35% of your calories from protein. However, the amount of protein you need may vary depending on factors such as your age, gender, activity level, and overall health.

For most people, it’s easy to meet their daily protein needs through a balanced diet that includes a variety of protein-rich foods such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy, legumes, and nuts.

However, if you’re struggling to consume enough protein in your diet, you may consider adding a protein supplement to your routine.

It’s important to note that consuming too much protein can also be detrimental to your hair health.

Excess protein can cause your body to produce too much sebum, which can clog your hair follicles and lead to hair thinning and hair loss. So, it’s essential to find a balance and consume protein in moderation as part of a healthy and balanced diet.

Protein is a vital nutrient for the health of your hair. While protein deficiency is not as common as other nutritional deficiencies, it’s essential to ensure that you’re consuming enough protein to support the growth and maintenance of your hair. By incorporating protein-rich foods into your diet and monitoring your protein intake, you can help promote healthy hair growth and prevent hair thinning and hair loss.

Bonus Mentions

In addition to the five nutritional deficiencies discussed earlier, there are two more factors that can contribute to hair thinning and hair loss: hormonal imbalances and gut absorption issues.

Hormonal Imbalances

Hormonal imbalances, especially those related to the thyroid and adrenal glands, can affect hair growth.

The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate metabolism, which includes the growth of hair follicles.

An underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism, can cause hair to become thin and brittle.

The adrenal glands produce hormones that regulate stress response, and chronic stress can lead to hair loss.

Gut and Absorption Issues

Proper absorption of nutrients is essential for healthy hair growth.

Gut issues, such as leaky gut syndrome or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), can affect nutrient absorption. In addition, certain medications, such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) used to treat acid reflux, can interfere with nutrient absorption.

To promote healthy hair growth, it is important to address any underlying gut issues and ensure proper nutrient absorption. This can be done by eating a healthy, balanced diet that includes plenty of fiber and probiotics, as well as taking supplements to support gut health.

While nutritional deficiencies are a common cause of hair thinning and hair loss, there are other factors to consider as well. By addressing hormonal imbalances and gut issues, individuals can promote healthy hair growth and prevent further hair loss.

Learn about hair loss causes by nutritional deficiencies and hormones, gluten intolerance


Mayo Clinic


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