Are you experiencing hair loss for a while and do not know why? Well, vitamin D deficiency can be one possible reason. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in maintaining bone health. However, the lack of vitamin D in the body can cause hair loss and alopecia areata (1).
In this article, we have explored the role of vitamin D in maintaining hair health, how it may cause hair loss, and how you can prevent it. Let’s dig in.
Table Of Contents
Does Vitamin D Deficiency Cause Hair Loss?
The answer is yes. Vitamin D and hair loss are interlinked.
Research indicates that vitamin D plays a crucial role in stem cell renewal and maintaining the hair follicle cycle. Deficiency of vitamin D interferes with both the processes and causes hair loss.
The lack of vitamin D in serum is also linked to female pattern hair loss and alopecia. The vitamin D receptors in the hair follicles’ bulge region are crucial for maintaining the healthy keratinocyte stem cells (2). The lack of these receptors may trigger hair loss.
Your body may lack vitamin D due to multiple reasons. They are listed in the next section.
What Causes Vitamin D Deficiency?
1. Improper Diet
An improper diet is one of the main reasons for the lack of vitamin D in the body. To improve vitamin D levels, consume foods like (3):
- Cod liver oil
- Egg yolk
2. Poor Absorption Of Vitamin D
Your gut health may affect the proper absorption of vitamin D in your body (4). Poor gut health may be caused by:
- Crohn’s disease
- Chronic pancreatitis
- Other diseases of the gut
This may put you at risk of vitamin D deficiency.
3. Inadequate Exposure To Sunlight
When it comes to the best natural source of vitamin D, the sun is a clear winner (5). The time you need to spend in the sun varies according to the skin color. If you have a lighter skin tone, 5-15 minutes of sun exposure is enough. If you have darker skin, you may stay in the sun for at least 30 minutes. About 10-15 minutes of sun exposure during the mid-day is sufficient.
However, excessive exposure to the sun puts you at the risk developing of skin cancer. Even if you are spending 5 minutes in the sun, apply sunscreen lotion to prevent UV damage.
4. Inability Of The Liver Or Kidney To Convert Vitamin D
When the liver or kidney does not function properly, it cannot convert vitamin D to a usable state. This may also cause low vitamin D levels and hair loss.
5. Medications Influencing Vitamin D Conversion
Certain antiepileptic drugs, anti-estrogens, and bisphosphonates may interfere with vitamin D metabolism (6). They activate the pregnane X receptor, causing vitamin D deficiency. If you are taking any such medications, talk to the doctor for alternatives to improve your body’s vitamin D levels.
Hair loss can happen due to many reasons. How do you identify if it is due to vitamin D deficiency? Here are the signs and symptoms you can check for.
What Are The Symptoms Of Vitamin D Deficiency?
- Lower Immunity Levels: Your immunity depends on your vitamin D levels. If you keep falling sick regularly, you may lack vitamin D. Pneumonia or other respiratory tract infections could also be a sign of vitamin D deficiency (7).
- Fatigue: Do you always feel tired or fatigued? This could be a sign of vitamin D deficiency. A study found that non-specific musculoskeletal pain, headache, and fatigue could signify vitamin D deficiency (8).
- Bone Pain And Osteoporosis: If you experience lower back pain and bone pain, get your vitamin D levels checked. Research states that chronic lower back pain is linked to low vitamin D levels (9).
- Depression: Are you feeling depressed regularly? This could be a sign of vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is crucial for your mental health. A lack of this vitamin may cause depression and other psychiatric disorders (10).
- Slow-Healing Wounds: If your vitamin D levels are lower than normal, your wounds may take longer to heal. Vitamin D produces certain compounds that help in new skin formation (11). This is a crucial part of the wound-healing process.
It is now clear that vitamin D plays a crucial role in maintaining multiple body functions. Lack of vitamin D affects not only the body but also hair growth. Find out the ways to prevent it in the next section.
How To Prevent Hair Loss Caused By Vitamin D Deficiency
- Take Vitamin D Supplements
- Cod liver oil
- Milk (fortified, soy, almond, and oats milk)
- Fatty fish (sockeye salmon, rainbow trout, Atlantic sardines, tuna)
- Meat (chicken breast, beef, beef liver)
- Vegetables (raw broccoli, carrot, portabella, and white mushrooms)
- Almonds and sunflower seeds
- Fruits (Apple, banana)
You may also take vitamin D supplements.
- Modifying Medications
Some medications and steroids may interfere with vitamin D absorption. If you are taking any such medication, talk to your doctor to modify the dosage, or use any alternative.
- Increase Your Exposure To Sunlight
Try to increase your exposure to sunlight. Go out for a walk on a bright and sunny day or spend at least 10-15 minutes outside. However, do not forget to apply sunscreen.
- Be Gentle When Grooming The Hair
This is also crucial to prevent hair fall. Be gentle when combing or brushing your hair. Avoid using harsh shampoos and conditioners. You may also ask your doctor for some topical medication to prevent hair loss.
If you are taking vitamin D supplements, follow the doctor’s prescribed dosage. The recommended dietary allowance is given below.
Recommended Dietary Allowance Of Vitamin D
The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin D varies according to the age group (12).
|0-6 months||25 mcg||25 mcg|
|7-12 months||38 mcg||38 mcg|
|1-3 years||63 mcg||63 mcg|
|4-8 years||75 mcg||75 mcg|
|9-18 years||100 mcg||100 mcg||100 mcg||100 mcg|
|19+ years||100 mcg||100 mcg||100 mcg||100 mcg|
Lack of vitamin D can cause hair loss and other health issues. If you think your hair loss is due to a lack of vitamin D, get yourself tested, and start taking preventive measures. However, consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis and follow the prescribed treatment to prevent hair loss. Also, improve your lifestyle. Consume a balanced diet, exercise, and do not forget to get plenty of sunlight.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
How long does it require to cure a vitamin D deficiency?
It depends on your age, level of vitamin D in your serum, and medical conditions that you may have. You may start healing after 6-8 weeks. However, complete healing may take time.
When should I take vitamin D – morning or night?
There is no ideal time to take vitamin D, and it may depend on your health condition and other factors. Consult a doctor to know the proper time to take vitamin D supplements.
- Vitamin D Deficiency in Alopecia Areata
- Serum Vitamin D3 Level in Patients with Female Pattern Hair Loss
- Vitamin D deficiency: a worldwide problem with health consequences
- Vitamin D status in Crohn’s disease: association with nutrition and disease activity
- Sunlight and vitamin D for bone health and prevention of autoimmune diseases, cancers, and cardiovascular disease
- Influence of drugs on vitamin D and calcium metabolism
- Age and low levels of circulating vitamin D are associated with impaired innate immune function
- Vitamin D status in patients with musculoskeletal pain, fatigue and headache: A cross-sectional descriptive study in a multi-ethnic general practice in Norway
- High prevalence of vitamin D deficiency, secondary hyperparathyroidism and generalized bone pain in Turkish immigrants in Germany: identification of risk factors
- Vitamin D and Depression: Where is all the Sunshine?
- The effects of vitamin D supplementation on wound healing and metabolic status in patients with diabetic foot ulcer: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial
- Vitamin D