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Thread: Zinc stopped my hair loss

  1. #1

    Default Zinc stopped my hair loss

    I'm so happy about this!

    I started getting more shedding than usual in the Summer of 07. I was working out really hard at the gym and eating a mostly vegetarian/vegan diet (not out of principle, but I had an awesome farmshare through a CSA, so all I ate were delicious veggies). Anyway, that excess shedding never really stopped. But it didn't get worse, either. My scalp itched a lot.

    Then, in May of 08, I had surgery. The next week, my hair was coming out at an alarming rate and my scalp felt like it was on fire. It was actually painful. Telogen effluvium happens sometimes b/c of surgery but that is supposed to start 8 wks after the traumatic event, and it's supposed to stop at some point. My hair loss never stopped or slowed down, and I tried many different things. My thyroid panel was great and the derm didn't think my scalp looked bad.

    Finally I decided to try zinc. I had a craving for the taste of a zinc lozenge I had tried montsh ago. I googled zinc and hair loss and found some obscure small studies, nothing really conclusive, showing that in some people, their hair was falling out because of zinc deficiency and it grew back with supplements. There is also a theory that estrogen messes with zinc levels.

    Anyway, within days of starting supplementation at 150 mgs/day, my scalp started to feel better. A week later my hair loss had slowed way down. I used to lose like 80-120 hairs after a wash and comb (plus a ton more through the course of a day!), now it's more like 20-30.

    To get results I needed 150 to 200 mgs per day. When I dropped down to 75 mgs my scalp started to itch again. I do have pics of my scalp but I'm new so I can't open an album yet.

  2. #2
    Member lawyermom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zinc stopped my hair loss

    First, welcome!
    I'm glad you were able to figure out what was causing your hair loss and that there was a remedy available. I can't imagine how traumatic that must have been to go through.

  3. #3
    Member Bluebell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zinc stopped my hair loss

    Great, thanks for the information!

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    Member berr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zinc stopped my hair loss

    Good to know. Zinc is also used to help prevent or relieve colds.

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    Member Just_Isabel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zinc stopped my hair loss

    Welcome, and thanks for sharing.

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    Queen of Pentacles jera's Avatar
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    Wink Re: Zinc stopped my hair loss

    Something similar happened to me. Lots of exercise on a vegetarian diet = disasterous hair loss. It's so important to eat adequate protein, iron, zinc, potassium, etc. when you're athletic or very active.

    Hope this thread will help others here to supplement their veggie diets if they suddenly experience a profound hair loss shed. Healthy hair starts from the inside out.


  7. #7

    Default Re: Zinc stopped my hair loss

    Quote Originally Posted by jera View Post
    Something similar happened to me. Lots of exercise on a vegetarian diet = disasterous hair loss. It's so important to eat adequate protein, iron, zinc, potassium, etc. when you're athletic or very active.

    Hope this thread will help others here to supplement their veggie diets if they suddenly experience a profound hair loss shed. Healthy hair starts from the inside out.
    That's so interesting, jera! Did your hair loss stop over time?

    You reminded me of something I wanted to add. You need protein to absorb zinc. If you take supplements, take them with a protein-rich meal low in grain products. Grain products inhibit zinc absorption.

    I went back and looked at the multi-vitamin I was taking over the past year and a half, and it doesn't contain zinc at all. It does contain copper, though, which competes with zinc. Oh well, what can you do, I didn't know any better then! But I don't want anyone else to have to go through that when the solution might be so simple.
    Last edited by Beloved; December 8th, 2008 at 01:54 PM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Zinc stopped my hair loss

    Lawyermom and Just Isabel, thanks for the welcome!

  9. #9
    Member Just_Isabel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Zinc stopped my hair loss

    Quote Originally Posted by Beloved View Post
    That's so interesting, jera! Did your hair loss stop over time?

    You reminded me of something I wanted to add. You need protein to absorb zinc. If you take supplements, take them with a protein-rich meal low in grain products. Grain products inhibit zinc absorption.

    I went back and looked at the multi-vitamin I was taking over the past year and a half, and it doesn't contain zinc at all. It does contain copper, though, which competes with zinc. Oh well, what can you do, I didn't know any better then! But I don't want anyone else to have to go through that when the solution might be so simple.
    This is interesting, it reminds me of iron, which is also something you can get deficient in if you're not careful - especially if you don't eat meat.

    Beloved, how much zinc are you taking and how did you decide on what dose would be best?
    Do you take just any zinc supplement, or is it a special one - if so, why did you choose that one?

  10. #10

    Default Re: Zinc stopped my hair loss

    Quote Originally Posted by Just_Isabel View Post
    This is interesting, it reminds me of iron, which is also something you can get deficient in if you're not careful - especially if you don't eat meat.

    Beloved, how much zinc are you taking and how did you decide on what dose would be best?
    Do you take just any zinc supplement, or is it a special one - if so, why did you choose that one?
    Yeah, iron deficiency is another big one to cause hair loss. I think that one is much more common than zinc defciency. I remember supplementing with that in the summer of 07 to see if that would help. Well here is another interesting piece of information.... iron competes with zinc absorption! So taking an extra iron supp is going to make the problem worse if what you really have is a zinc deficiency.

    I take Solaray brand. They make 50 mg and 75 mg chelated capsules. I take 150 - 200 mg per day, and I will be bringing that down after I've have this under control for a while. Taking too much of one mineral for too long will decrease the amount of other minerals. All things in balance.

    The reason I take Solaray brand is that I've used it and liked it for other supplements, and because this product is "chelated" which is supposed to make it easier to absorbed. Use whatever brand you want, but research it first and make sure it's formulated in a way that makes it easy for your body to use. It's one thing to get a mineral in your body, absorption is the big hurdle. One thing is, if you use a brand that's formulated differently, you may need to adjust your dosage. I take 150 mgs of "zinc chelate", not 150 mgs of elemental zinc.

    Here is a reference to a study that helped me decide approx how much to take.

    "Zinc deficiency has been tied to hair loss in both animal studies and human cases. There is data linking zinc deficiency in humans to both telogen effluvium and immune-mediated hair loss. Zinc deficiency is a well-recognized problem after biliopancreatic diversion/duodenal switch, and there is some indication that it may occur with other procedures such as gastric bypass and adjustable gastric banding. In 1996, a group of researchers chose to study high-dose zinc supplementation as a therapeutic agent for related hair loss2 in patients who had undergone vertical banded gastroplasty. The study administered 200mg of zinc sulfate (45mg elemental zinc) three times daily to postoperative patients with hair loss. This was in addition to the multivitamin and iron supplements that patients were already taking. No labs for zinc or other nutrients were conducted. Researchers found that in patients taking the zinc, 100 percent had cessation of hair loss after six months. They then stopped the zinc. In five patients, hair loss resumed after zinc was stopped, and was arrested again with renewed supplementation. It is important to note that in telogen effluvium of non-nutritional origin, hair loss would be expected to stop normally within six months. Since the researchers conducted no laboratory studies and there was no control group, the only patients of interest here are those who began to lose hair again after stopping zinc. Thus, we cannot definitively say that zinc would prevent hair loss after weight loss surgery, and further study would definitely be needed to make this connection."

    http://bariatrictimes.com/2008/09/19...atric-patient/

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