View Full Version : Longhaired Vegetarians

July 31st, 2011, 11:54 PM
I have been a veg for a year and seven months. I felt better, lost any excess weight, and enjoyed a more consciously aware lifestyle. I have had only good things to say about it. I have eaten well, exercised, and maintained a healthy overall look. I would never switch back if possible, but as of late, my hair and nails seem to be taking a hit. Within the last two or three months I have noticed the strength of my nails (always strong and healthy) have begun to peel and break easily. My hair (always a medium thickness) has been losing body and thickness. I can't imagine I would be so healthy for such a length of time, and then suddenly feel this rapid change. I am afraid it is a lack of protein, but I try very hard to keep my intake up. I eat eggs, milk, legumes, and rarely a fish or seafood dish (I know I know...call me a Pescetarian if you like).

I am wondering if any other longhaired people practice a vegetarian lifestyle. If so, for how long as it been your path of choice? Did you/do you see ANY impact on hair, nails, or skin? I am very much afraid of what is happening to my body. I feel terribly guilty at the thought of eating meat again, but if my hair and nails are weakening it is a sign of a much greater problem. Please help me with any information you may have to share. I really don't want to go back to my old way of living, but I will never choose it over my longterm health. I'd rather eat free range and organic meat with guilt each time than lose my hair, become lethargic, and harm my immune system.


Thank you so much!

August 1st, 2011, 03:25 AM
You dont need meat for good hair! i'm a vegetarian for over 10 years and i m healthy as a fish.
I dont eat meat and no fish and seafood.
I do love flaxseed and almonds and cheese and yoghurt.
Take a multivitamin and test your blood once a year to see if you are ok.
Take care :-)

August 1st, 2011, 03:55 AM
It doesn't sound like you are lacking in protein if you are eating eggs, dairy, and legumes. Have you been tracking your nutrition? I use the Cronometer, it's very helpful to know where I might be lacking in nutrients. There's also FitDay and other software too for nutrition tracking.

Also some nutrients that you might want to consider that aren't typically tracked in those software programs are: carnitine, taurine, choline, DHA and EPA.

Also as we age our needs change too, so what worked for us in our 20s might not work in our 30s or 40s.

ETA: FYI, eggs are a great source of choline, so if you're eating at least 2 eggs per day, you're probably fine for choline. But taurine and carnitine are harder on a vegetarian diet. Also DHA and EPA - we are limited in how much we can process out of flax and other foods, so I was taking Opti3, a vegan DHA/EPA supplement.

August 1st, 2011, 04:13 AM
I've been a veggie for about 10 years and if anything my hair and nails are better for it. However when I was a vegan for a year or so my hair thinned a lot. If you've been a vegetarian for a year and this problem is more recent it's probably not your diet. I would go to the doctor to make sure there isn't another issue and ask them about nutrition while you're there. Good luck!

August 1st, 2011, 04:33 AM
I haven't eaten meat for over 20 years, and I think it takes a little time to adjust. I doubt that lack of protein is a problem, or calcium, but there could be minerals that you are lacking at the moment - maybe it's worth trying a general supplement (provided it doesn't contain non veggie ingredients. Good luck!

August 1st, 2011, 04:34 AM
I would definitely go to a doctor to get tested for any possible other deficiencies. I would not ask them about diet. Speaking from experience, we do not learn about nutrition in medical school. For that your best advice will come from a nutritionist knowledgeable about vegetarianism. Have you made any changes in the way that you eat in the last few months? If you're on a healthy vegetarian diet, you shouldn't be protein deficient.

August 1st, 2011, 04:50 AM
I would suggest taking a multivitamin supplement. When I first went vegetarian I lost a lot of hair! However, this year, since I've started supplementing more, my nails have improved A LOT (hair it's harder to tell because it takes sooo much longer to grow lol but I'm hoping for a difference to show in the next year or so!).

I don't know what/if I was deficient in, but there was obviously something! Sure I could have had lots of tests, but for me it's easier to take a vitamin supplement ;).

August 1st, 2011, 05:12 AM
I have been a veggie for over 20 years. I have often suffered from weak nails that split easily, but that is caused by having anemia (I had it before I became veggie) and dehydration is another cause of weak nails that split. See your doctor to check if you are low in iron and vitamin D. I have been taking iron and vitmain D supplements for a couple of months and my nails are strong and healthy and my hair is growing pretty well (almost 2 inches in 6 weeks). I would recommend using a nail and cuticle cream every day. Sally Hanson's is one of the best. For those who live in the UK boots no7 cuticle cream is just as good.

August 1st, 2011, 05:15 AM
My hair was at its longest, healthiest and shiniest after 6 years of vegetarianism (or pescatarianism, like yourself). One thing I can think of is that my mum pushed me to take my multivitamin.

August 1st, 2011, 09:30 AM
I've been vegetarian all my life, so I can't really tell if it made a difference to my health and body in any way. My only problem is I have a protein deficiency because I rarely eat eggs and dislike legumes.

August 1st, 2011, 09:50 AM
There are quite a few longhaired vegetarians on this board. I think that any healthy diet should be fine for growing long hair. Make sure that you are eating a variety of vegetarian foods.

August 1st, 2011, 11:47 AM
I've been a vegetarian for around 5 years, and at this point my hair and nails are loving it. My nails are a lot harder and stronger (and faster-growing) than they've ever been. They get as long as fake nails with no problems before I get annoyed with them and trim. My hair seems to be growing a little over 1/2" per month, as well. I make a conscious effort to get protein (I like eggs, so this isn't too much of a chore, but I can tend to neglect it) and drink lots of water and generally just try to eat healthy.

That being said, when I first became a vegetarian I didn't eat very healthily, and shortly thereafter I developed an eating disorder (unrelated to vegetarianism). So for about a year or a year and a half I was severely limiting calories and I dropped probably 30 pounds below my normal (healthy) weight. That caused my hair to thin. Before that period, my hair was very thick. Now it's just on the thicker side of normal. But I've since recovered and my hair and nails are doing great, so it's definitely possible to have nice hair on a vegetarian diet. Maybe you should bring it up with your doctor and see about taking a multivitamin (I used to, but don't anymore). Good luck!

August 1st, 2011, 11:51 AM
I've been vegetarian for three years and vegan for 6 months. When I went vegan I started to lose my hair really badly though, but I think it was a mixture of stress and bad diet.

August 1st, 2011, 12:47 PM
My middle daughter has been vegan for nearly three years and has very thick healthy hair and long strong fingernails. She takes a good multivitamin, B12, and is careful to eat proper amounts of protein.

August 1st, 2011, 01:14 PM
I have also been vegetarian for over 20 years and I think it does take some time to find out what works for you best. I have definitely found what works for me. My hair is thick, long, and healthy and it has always grown well (my nails also grow like crazy). Being vegetarian and long haired is very easy once you learn what you need. People have already given you great advice on where to start so I won't add anything but this: veg. threads come up all the time at LHC, so if you do a search you will find a lot more on the subject.

August 1st, 2011, 02:23 PM
I've been veg since 8, and vegan since 15. I pretty much take vitamins randomly, but as long as I take iron once in a while, I feel just fine. I eat lots of tofu!!! My nails are stronger than they've ever been in my entire life :)

August 1st, 2011, 02:34 PM
I was a vegetarian for 12 years, during that time I grew my hair out to hip length with no problems.

However, before I started growing my hair, I did have a bit of a crisis where I was not getting proper nutrition; I worked at a live-in job that included meals, and they didn't have good (any) veggie options. At that time my hair became horribly brittle, nails bad, skin dull. After I was able to pump up my diet a little, everything was fine.

Plenty of dark leafy greens was key for me; they have lots of vitamins and iron too. Iron can be a problem for non-red-meat eaters, so keep an eye on that.

August 1st, 2011, 03:35 PM
I've been a vegetarian for most of my life and I've never had any problems with my hair so far :). I think it's very important to take care that your blood has a good iron-level. (tomatoes are very good for that) I've always eaten lots of tofu, nuts and mushrooms because of their nutritious values. The combination of beans and rice is a very good replacement for meat as well, because it provides a lot of proteins. I hope you'll find a way to make your nails and hair healthy again!

August 1st, 2011, 03:58 PM
Note to self: never use teh "quick reply" to reply...browswer can't retrieve the text if I accidentally end up forwarding or "back-ing".Now if I can recall what I wrote...

I'm pushing 50 and have been vegetarian for 20+ years.

Prior to going veg I never paid much attention to my hair, so I have nothing to compare it to. As for my nails, they have always been paper thin and inclined to peel.

Come to think of it, they don't seem to be peeling as much lately. "Recent" dietary changes: 2 years ago having to give up gluten. Earlier this year, told I may be "pre-diabetic" so to be proactive I've dropped eating many fruits, as well as starchy food (=low carb). Mainly I'm eating dairy and LOTS of salads. I wonder if that has anything to do with it.

PS: boy am I glad I DID NOT use the quick reply -- I hate this laptop...it seems to have a mind of its own and I ended up back several screens again. Happily it SAVED. I love Firefox for that! :heartbeat:

August 1st, 2011, 06:29 PM
Thank you all so very much for your information, advice, and encouragement. It was so good to hear that many of you have been veg for 10 to 20 years and find no issue with hair strength. I feel so much better than when I ate meat. I don't know how long I will stay away from meat, but I would love for it to be as long as possible. (I realize having a family could change that, but I'm perfectly content with my eating right now)

I have been drinking over 64 ounces of water for the last two weeks to increase hydration to see if that helps any. My skin has benefitted, but my nails have remained weak. I am also going to discontinue using shampoo with sulfate due to some disturbing research about hair thinning with it. I used to take a food based, vegetarian multi-vitamin and an iron supplement. During that time I felt the best, but with college ending for the year, I got out of the routine. I will once again take the vitamins!! I've learned my lesson :). Again, thank you all so much for your wisdom!