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Nutrient Deficiencies in Dry or Oily Hair

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 03/05/2024

When it comes to fixing dry or oily hair, understanding the underlying causes of these issues is crucial for finding practical solutions.

Learn about the role of vitamin deficiencies in hair health and look at potential causes of dry and oily hair issues. Discover how a zinc deficiency can contribute to oily hair and reveal some surprising connections between insulin levels and scalp oil production.

The Importance of Sebum for Your Hair

Sebaceous glands release sebum, an oil that contains essential nutrients for healthy hair and skin.

Functions of Sebum for Your Scalp

  • Lubrication: Sebum keeps your scalp and hair strands from becoming dry and brittle.

  • Moisturization: Sebum prevents dehydration that can lead to itchiness or flakiness on your scalp.

  • Bacterial Barrier: Sebum's antimicrobial properties protect against harmful bacteria that may cause infections or inflammation on your scalp.

Factors That Affect Sebum Production

Hormonal changes, stress levels, dietary habits, and certain medical conditions like hypothyroidism or PCOS can influence sebum production.

Identifying the underlying causes of imbalanced oil production is crucial for healthier hair.

Woman with damaged hair

Fat-soluble vitamin Deficiencies and Dry Hair

Bile and gallbladder issues can impede the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and E, essential for proper sebaceous gland function and healthy hair.

Vitamin A (Retinol) is Crucial for Healthy Hair

Vitamin A promotes healthy sebaceous glands and keeps your scalp moisturized, which prevents dryness and breakage.

Foods rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene include carrots, beef liver, fish oils, eggs, spinach, and kale.

Remedies for Fat-Soluble Vitamin Deficiencies

  • Dietary changes: Incorporate foods high in vitamins A, D, and E, such as fish oil-rich sources like salmon or mackerel.

  • Supplements: Consider taking supplements containing these essential nutrients under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

  • Address underlying issues: Consult with your doctor to develop an appropriate treatment plan if gallbladder or liver problems are causing poor nutrient absorption.

Choose The Right Shampoo 

Your liver produces bile to break down fats and absorbs fat-soluble vitamins like retinol. Poor liver function can hinder nutrient absorption, leading to hair health deficiencies. A healthy diet focused on liver support can help improve nutrient intake.

While a healthy diet is crucial for hair health, using the right hair care products can make a big difference.

Many people wonder, "Is Pantene good for your hair?" Pantene is a famous hair care product brand that claims to help restore damaged hair. While some individuals may see positive results with Pantene, it's important to note that not all hair types are the same. Pantene uses harsh chemicals on the scalp and hair that could cause more damage than good.

Finding a hair care routine and products that work best for your specific hair type and needs is crucial.

Cod Liver Oil - An Effective Remedy for Dry Hair

Virgin cod liver oil is an excellent solution for addressing fat-soluble vitamin deficiencies that cause dry hair by providing necessary amounts of vitamins A and D while supporting overall scalp health.

Benefits of Virgin Cod Liver Oil on Scalp Health

Omega-3 fatty acids in cod liver oil can reduce inflammation, keep the scalp's natural moisture balance intact, and prevent dryness or brittleness that could lead to dandruff.

Vitamin A and D, both present in cod liver oil, help regulate the functioning of sebaceous glands.

Purified Bile Salts Boost Fat-Soluble Vitamins 

Purified bile salts can boost fat-soluble vitamin absorption if you've had your gallbladder removed or suffer from low bile production.

By enhancing the digestion process of dietary fats like those found in virgin cod liver oil, bile salts ensure the proper digestion of nutrients required for optimal hair health.

Zinc Deficiency: The Culprit Behind Oily Hair

While low zinc levels can cause excessively oily hair by increasing oil production through sebaceous glands, healthy zinc levels can help decrease androgens and DHT, contributing to oiliness.

Zinc regulates hormone levels, including testosterone, and a deficiency can lead to an imbalance of hormones characterized by oily hair.

Causes of Zinc Deficiency

  • Phytic acid in grains can hinder zinc absorption. Limiting grains and carbs can help to restore healthy zinc levels. 

  • Excessive alcohol, antibiotics, and digestive problems like Crohn's disease can impair zinc absorption and contribute to low zinc levels.

  • Low hydrochloric acid production, a common issue in older people, can also reduce mineral absorption, leading to zinc deficiency.

Consult a healthcare professional to address any potential underlying medical conditions linked to hair issues. 

Foods Rich in Zinc for Healthy Hair

Combat oily hair with zinc-rich foods like oysters, red meat, and liver.


Oysters are delicious and packed with high levels of zinc, which regulates oil production and supports immune function and wound healing.

Red Meat and Liver 

Organ meats like liver and red meat, including beef, lamb, pork, and venison, are another excellent dietary zinc source.

Opt for grass-fed or organic meats whenever possible and combine zinc-rich foods with other nutrient-dense options to promote optimal hair health.

Insulin: The Sebum Promoter

High insulin levels, typically a result of a high-carb diet, stimulate the release of growth factors that promote sebaceous gland activity, exacerbating oily hair.

Combat Oily Hair with These Tips:

  • Consume a nutritious low-carb diet like Healthy keto. 

  • Exercise regularly.

  • Combine keto with intermittent fasting to promote balanced blood sugar and insulin levels.


Having dry or oily hair can be frustrating, but remedies are available to improve your hair health.

Vitamins A and D in cod liver oil are essential for hair health, and zinc-rich foods such as oysters, red meat, and liver also contribute to healthy hair growth.


1. How to Fix Dry Oily Hair

If you're struggling with dry or oily hair, you can do several things, including following a ketogenic diet, taking cod liver oil, and consuming plenty of zinc-rich foods.

Avoid harsh shampoos that can damage your hair and dry out your scalp, the main culprits for oily or dry hair.

2. What to Do If Your Hair Is Both Dry and Oily

If you're dealing with dry and oily hair, balancing sebum production while nourishing your scalp is essential. This may involve avoiding carbs and sugars and using mild shampoos for combination-type scalps.

3. Natural Remedies for Dry Scalp and Oily Hair

If you're looking for natural remedies for dry scalp and oily hair, consider several options. One of the most effective is to make dietary changes that boost essential nutrients like vitamin A and zinc.

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