Perhaps the most controversial d word these days is “diet”, and after delving deeper into this topic, I am starting to see why. I often get asked by clients with hair loss (most commonly androgenetic alopecia or AGA) if they should be following a specific diet to help their hair grow, or to slow the progression of their hair loss. Right now, these are the only things that I can say with 99% confidence:

1. Eat what makes you feel good.
2. Incorporate vegetables, fruits and fresh herbs if you can.

In the past, I have spoken about my history with IBS, and the possibility of it aggravating my AGA. I have also written about the role that inflammation is thought to play in certain hair loss conditions. Naturally, I (and most of the internet) thought it would follow that eating an anti-inflammatory diet would help reduce inflammation. But, here’s the thing. Inflammation is multi-factorial. It’s complicated. Yes, diet is one factor, but there are many others, such as stress, disease, medications, gut biome, use of drugs and alcohol, and sleep.

After reading “Food isn’t Medicine” by Dr. Joshua Wolrich, and “The Fuck-it Diet” by Caroline Dooner, I’ve started thinking about food and eating in a new way. My advice would be that instead of thinking of what you “shouldn’t” be eating, think of what you can add to your diet to support your health. While you don’t have to eat things that don’t make you feel good, try not to exclude a food outright (unless you’re allergic to it, of course). If you can, try to incorporate more vegetables, fruits, and fresh herbs to your diet. While I think this is important for health in general, research backs up this claim for hair. For example, an Italian study showed that eating raw vegetables and herbs could potentially play a role in delaying the onset and progression of male balding (…).

Lastly (and probably most importantly), don’t blame yourself for your hair loss. I know when we talk about diet and hair loss, it can make people feel that they “should have done more” or “should have followed such and such diet”. You’re doing the best you can. It isn’t your fault.

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Mandy Robertson
Mandy Robertson is an IAT Certified Trichologist with a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree of Business Administration.

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