Momentum in the Mountains 2024


Losing Hair on a Ketogenic Diet

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 04/11/2024

Imagine stepping into a world where your morning toast could be the culprit behind those extra strands of hair on your pillow.

Yes, you heard that right. The buzz around town is all about how a keto diet might just be playing hide-and-seek with your luscious locks. But here's the twist—it's not all gloom and doom.

With every forkful of avocado and spoonful of coconut oil, there's a science to keeping those strands firmly rooted. Think less about missing out on carbs and more about embracing fats in ways you never thought would affect your hairline.

Rapid weight loss can send shockwaves through your body, potentially triggering hair shedding known as telogen effluvium.

The good news? This isn't an inevitable fate for everyone waving goodbye to carbs under the keto banner.

Armed with knowledge and a sprinkle of strategy, navigating through this dietary change doesn’t have to mean sacrificing healthy tresses for waistline wins.

Understanding Hair Loss on a Keto Diet

The ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting have gained popularity for their potential weight loss and health benefits. However, when adopting these dietary changes, some individuals may experience unexpected side effects, such as hair loss.

While hair loss can be alarming, understanding the connection between keto, fasting, and hair health can help you take proactive steps to maintain a healthy head of hair.

The Role of Nutrient Deficiency in Hair Health

Inadequate nutrient intake on a keto diet can lead to hair shedding. Essential nutrients like protein, biotin, iron, and zinc are crucial in maintaining healthy hair follicles.

A study published in the journal Dermatology Practical & Conceptual found that deficiencies in these key nutrients can disrupt the hair growth cycle, leading to hair loss.

When following a restrictive diet like keto, it's important to ensure you're getting enough of these hair-nourishing nutrients.

Keto-Adaptation and Its Demands on the Body

During the initial stages of a ketogenic diet, your body undergoes keto-adaptation. As your body shifts from burning glucose to burning fat for fuel, it requires additional B vitamins, minerals, and potassium to support this metabolic transition.

According to a review published in the journal Current Nutrition Reports, supplementing with a high-quality multivitamin,

electrolytes and potassium-rich foods can help meet these increased nutrient demands and minimize the risk of deficiencies that could contribute to hair loss.

Consuming a low-calorie diet without enough nutrients can lead to hair loss. Protein deficiency can also contribute to hair loss. The body requires additional B vitamins, minerals, and potassium during keto-adaptation.

Woman with damaged hair

Preventing Hair Loss While on Keto

If you're following a ketogenic diet or practicing intermittent fasting, there are practical strategies you can implement to prevent hair loss. The key is ensuring adequate nutrient intake to support healthy hair growth.

Optimal Protein Intake for Hair Growth

Increasing your protein consumption can support the hair growth phase and prevent keto-related hair loss. Hair follicles require a steady supply of amino acids from protein to produce keratin, the primary component of hair.

As the Institute of Medicine recommends, aim to consume between 0.36 grams and 0.7 grams of protein per pound of body weight. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, your daily protein intake should be between 54 grams and 105 grams.

Supplementation Strategies for Keto Dieters

Incorporating targeted supplements into your keto diet can help combat potential nutrient deficiencies that may contribute to hair loss.

Nutritional yeast is an excellent source of B vitamins, while electrolyte powders can replenish essential minerals like magnesium and potassium.

Adding trace minerals like zinc and iron can further support healthy hair growth.

A study published in the journal Dermatology Research and Practice found that supplementing with zinc and other micronutrients can improve hair growth and quality in individuals with hair loss.

Increasing protein intake from 3 ounces per meal to 4-5 ounces may help prevent hair loss. Adding nutritional yeast, electrolyte powder, and trace minerals can also support hair health.

Addressing Digestive Health for Better Hair

Digestive health is crucial in nutrient absorption and hair health, especially following a keto diet. Common issues like low stomach acid can hinder the digestion and absorption of essential nutrients, indirectly contributing to hair loss.

Recognizing Symptoms of Low Stomach Acid

Low stomach acid, or hypochlorhydria, can impair the breakdown and absorption of proteins and other nutrients crucial for hair health. Common symptoms of low stomach acid include heartburn, bloating, gas, and undigested food in stools.

A study published in Gastroenterology Research and Practice found that individuals with hypochlorhydria are more likely to experience nutrient deficiencies, which can impact hair health.

Enhancing Stomach Acid for Improved Protein Absorption

Improving stomach acid levels can optimize protein digestion and absorption, supporting healthy hair growth. Natural remedies like apple cider vinegar and betaine hydrochloride supplements can help increase stomach acid production.

A review published in Integrative Medicine: A Clinician's Journal found that supplementing with betaine hydrochloride can improve protein digestion and absorption in individuals with low stomach acid.

Low stomach acid can hinder protein digestion and absorption, potentially leading to hair loss. Symptoms of low stomach acid include heartburn, indigestion, bloating, and gas.

Increasing stomach acid through apple cider vinegar or betaine hydrochloride supplements can improve protein digestion.

Jar of coconut oil

Rescue Your Locks with Proven Strategies

Hair loss on keto can be distressing, but fear not!

Alongside nourishing your hair from within with a proper keto diet, incorporating natural remedies for ringworm, like tea tree oil or coconut oil, can help address any underlying scalp issues, promoting healthier hair growth.


So, here we are at the crossroads of fats and fears, where avocados meet anxiety over thinning hair.

It's been quite the journey from those initial gasps at clumps of hair in our brushes to understanding that a keto diet isn't the villain in this story—it's just misunderstood.

The real plot twist? Our bodies and our diets need not be foes. With every gram of protein meticulously measured and each supplement strategically swallowed, we arm ourselves against unwelcome hair loss.

This tale doesn’t end with us mourning bygone strands but celebrates a newfound harmony between what’s on our plates and what stays on our heads.

Keto brought more than just weight loss; it introduced us to an intricate dance of nutrients essential for crowning glories that thrive.

Armed with knowledge about optimal protein intake, electrolyte powders, and perhaps a bit more respect for nutritional yeast than we ever thought possible, we're set not just to survive this dietary change but to flourish within it.

And let's not forget—the silent hero behind luscious locks was never really coconut oil or MCTs alone but understanding how digestive health plays into nutrient absorption.

Boosting stomach acid might have seemed like alchemy before, but now? It is common sense prevention against shedding more than tears over lost tresses.

In essence, fear less and understand more. When navigated with insight into its demands on your body and hair follicles, the ketogenic diet unfolds as an ally rather than an adversary.

So, next time you catch yourself fretting over the fallout, remember that knowledge is power. By diving deeper into how this lifestyle impacts your overall health and hair, you can take proactive steps to mitigate any adverse effects.

Maintaining healthy locks while embracing keto becomes achievable with the right strategies and a balanced approach.

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