When it comes to hair loss, doing a proper diet is essential for maintaining healthy hair. Eating healthy foods is a prerequisite to hair loss prevention and hair loss treatments once it occurs. Having a balanced diet maintains hair growth. So, what you rather have, hair health or hair loss conditions.
The fullness of hair connotes a feeling of youthfulness and health. Balding men are often regarded by society as old. Hair loss and its significant impact on patients’ quality of life. While most hair loss is caused by genetic factors, your lifestyle and diet choices can also have an impact on your well-being.
Everything in Potassium plays an essential role in your body. It helps regulate muscle contractions, maintain healthy nerve function and regulate fluid balance. In this article and the accompanying sidebar, we will give you information about potassium in general and what leads to deficiency and cause Brittle Hair, Change In Hair Texture, Hair Loss, And Irregular Heartbeat including hyperthyroidism, Alopecia.
Stages of Hair Growth
There are 4 stages of hair growth in the hair cycle, from actively beginning growth from the root to hair shedding. These hair conditions are known as the Anagen phase, Catagen phase, Telogen phase, and exogen phase.
The stages of hair growth begin with the anagen phase. It’s the longest phase, lasting about 3 to 5 years for the scalp hair on your head. The duration of anagen length determines hair length. At the end of the anagen phase, the hair follicle enters into a catagen phase.
The catagen, transition phase starts when the anagen phase ends, and tends to last about 10 days or so. During this chapter, hair follicles shrink and hair growth slows. The hair also separates from the bottom of the hair follicle, yet remains in place during its final days of growing. The hair follicles are the point from which the hair grows. The lower part is destroyed and the dermal papilla breaks away to rest below. The basement membrane surrounding the dermal papilla and weaker staining in the cells of the dermal sheath. In this phase, the cell division and pigmentation stop.
The telogen, resting phase typically lasts around 3 months. An estimated 10 to 15 percent of your scalp hairs are in this phase. Hairs don’t grow during the telogen phase, but they don’t usually fall out either. This phase is also when new hairs start to form in follicles that have just released hairs during the catagen phase.
The exogen, shedding phase is essentially an extension or a part of the telogen stage of hair growth. During the exogen phase, hair is shed from the scalp, often helped along by washing and brushing. During the exogen phase, new hairs are growing in the follicles as old hairs fall away.
Under the light microscope, the conditions of human hair follicles contain two forms of ATP-sensitive potassium channels, only one of which is sensitive to minoxidil. Minoxidil, or rather its active metabolite minoxidil sulfate, diazoxide, and pinacidil reduce blood pressure by opening KATP channels in vascular smooth muscle, causing the musculature to relax.
Hair disorders cause psychological distress but are generally poorly controlled; more effective treatments are required. Despite the long-standing use of minoxidil for balding, its mechanism is unclear; suggestions include action on vasculature or follicle cells. Similar drugs also stimulate hair, implicating ATP-sensitive potassium (K(ATP)) channels hair follicle. Minoxidil and tolbutamide, a K(ATP) channel blocker, opposed each other’s effects on the growing phase (anagen) of scalp follicles cultured in media with and without insulin. When hair bulb tissues were examined separately, epithelial matrix expressed SUR1 and Kir6.2, whereas both dermal papilla and sheath exhibited SUR2B and Kir6.1. These findings indicate that human follicular dermal papillae contain K(ATP) channels that can respond to minoxidil and that tolbutamide may suppress hair growth clinically; novel drugs designed specifically for these cell membranes could treat hair disorders.
Vitamin and Minerals Deficiencies
According to the author of the book, VITAMINS AND HAIR LOSS, Lisa H. Gregory PH.D., “Vitamins and minerals are important for normal cell growth and function and may contribute to hair loss when they are deficient.”
The book reiterates that because the lack of these vitamins and minerals in one body causes hair loss, where supplements are recommended. They are everything responsible for maintaining bodily functions and to some extent, your hair health.
Micronutrients are major elements in the normal hair follicle cycle, playing a role in cellular turnover, a frequent occurrence in the matrix cells in the follicle bulb that are rapidly dividing.
These are the vitamins and minerals content that cause hair loss when deficient:
Iron contributes to hemoglobin production, which helps deliver nutrients and oxygen to hair follicles. Without enough iron, the hair won’t grow, causing progressively thinner hair. Women with heavy periods may also develop iron deficiency namely anemia. Ferrous sulfate is an iron supplement used to treat or prevent low blood levels of iron (e.g., for anemia or during pregnancy).
“Iron deficiency in pre-menopausal women is one the main causes of hair loss and could indicate an underlying medical condition,” said a renowned author, Abraham Armani, MD, a hair restoration surgeon and hair loss expert in Dallas, Texas.
Biotin, a B vitamin that is important for hair, skin, and nail health. Being low on biotin has been linked to hair loss, as well as loss of hair color. A 2016 study in the International Journal of Trichology found that 38% of women who said they had hair loss were deficient in biotin. Eating egg whites only without the yolk may predispose you to biotin deficiency.
Vitamin B12 or folic acid like biotin, they said, has a relationship with hair loss, but the lack of extensive studies proves otherwise.
Research shows that a lack of vitamin D in your body can lead to hair loss. One role vitamin D plays in stimulating new and old hair follicles. When there isn’t enough vitamin D in your system, new hair growth can be stunted and may start hair thinning especially for men.
Androgenetic alopecia (AGA), telogen effluvium (TE) are two common types of hair loss. Studies show that supplementing the diet with low levels of vitamin D can improve symptoms of these diseases. Androgenetic alopecia is caused by miniaturizing of hair follicles.
Alopecia areata occurs when the immune system attacks the hair follicles. Studies have shown a relationship between Alopecia areata and low vitamin D levels. Vitamin D should be supplemented if levels are low.
Zinc plays an important role in hair tissue growth and repair, deficiency can cause damage to any remaining hair, causing it to break and change in hair texture. It also helps keep the oil glands around the follicles working properly. Hair loss is a common symptom of zinc deficiency. Studies show zinc supplements reduce hair loss caused by zinc deficiency. The type of hair loss that results from a nutritional issue.
Armani cautions that selenium deficiency is rare. When it occurs, it may disrupt thyroid functioning, which can cause hypothyroidism and hair loss. Another report said that newly forming hair takes up selenium after receiving trace elements from the blood. A decrease in hair loss and other gastrointestinal symptoms in patients receiving selenium supplementation also recorded.
However, too much selenium can cause changes in hair texture, brittle hair, and hair loss, along with nausea, skin rashes, and nervous system problems. The recommended upper limit for selenium in adults is 400 micrograms (mcg).
Both excess and deficiency play a role in hair loss, so, be careful.
Hypokalemia is the medical term for potassium deficiency, which can actually cause hair fall. Thinning hair is more common in cases where people experience potassium deficiency. High-salt diets cause excess sodium accumulation around the hair follicles, preventing the absorption of vital nutrients required for healthy hair. This, in turn, causes hair loss.
We will dive into Hypokalemia deeper later.
Causes of Low Potassium
Causes are different from symptoms. Causes are the things that started the ailment and the symptoms are the effects of that causes. Now we will discuss causes.
Common causes of low blood potassium include:
Medicines such as diuretics (water pills) Diuretics like furosemide, bumetanide, hydrochlorothiazide, and chlorthalidone are the main medication-related cause of low potassium levels. Drugs may lead to hypokalemia which is potassium Deficiency. Other medicines like certain antibiotics, albuterol, insulin, Sudafed, laxatives and enemas, Risperdal, and Seroquel cause low potassium levels.
Gastrointestinal losses, from diarrhea, vomiting, or nasogastric suctioning, also are common causes of hypokalemia. Vomiting, diarrhea or both, result in excessive potassium loss from the digestive tract. You can get this illness mostly by using unclean or contaminated tap water.
Hypokalemia, or low potassium in the blood, is the most common electrolyte problem seen in eating disorders. Eating disorders are characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits, and they are quite common. Bulimia is an eating disorder characterized by frequent episodes of binge eating followed by extreme efforts to avoid gaining weight.
Hyperaldosteronism is a disease in which the adrenal gland(s) make too much aldosterone which leads to hypertension (high blood pressure) and causes hypokalemia. This causes your body to lose too much potassium and retain too much sodium, which increases water retention, blood volume, and blood pressure. Primary hyperaldosteronism can be caused by either hyperactivity in one adrenal gland (unilateral disease) or both (bilateral disease). Watch out for your sodium intake.
Laxative overuse, which can cause diarrhea, is the most common cause of low potassium levels. The risk of overuse increases for people on diuretics or with prolonged vomiting or diarrhea.
Chronic Kidney Disease
Some of the effects of hypokalemia include muscle weakness, cramping, and fatigue. When kidneys fail they can no longer remove excess potassium, so the level builds up in the body. High potassium in the blood is called hyperkalemia, which may occur in people with advanced stages of chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Low Magnesium Level
Magnesium deficiency (hypomagnesemia) is muscle weakness, also known as myasthenia. Scientists believe the weakness is caused by the loss of potassium in muscle cells, a condition associated with magnesium deficiency.
Potassium deficiency is characterized by a blood potassium level below 3.5 mmol per liter. Deficiency occurs when your body suddenly loses a lot of fluid due to excessive sweating.
A genetic disorder is a condition caused in whole or in part by a change in the DNA sequence away from the normal sequence.
The following genetic disorders may result in hypokalemia: Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (11-beta hydroxylase or 17-alpha hydroxylase deficiency) Glucocorticoid-remediable hypertension, and Bartter syndrome.
Foods to Reduce Hair Loss
Diet choices can also have an impact on the health of your hair. Diets with high salt content are not good for you because of their sodium content. A condition that is not hereditary is simple to fix. Let’s look at five of the best types of food for hair loss that would help in reducing the effect immediately.
Some types of fish that have essential fatty acids, including omega-3s, and vitamin D are:
Fatty fish is also a good source of protein, selenium, and B vitamins, all of which help to promote healthy hair and don’t have much sodium content.
Eggs are like nature’s multivitamins because they contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Some of these that are related to healthy hair include protein, biotin, selenium, and zinc.
Eggs are a great source of protein, which is important for preventing hair loss. A low-protein diet puts hair growth in a “resting” phase, which can lead to hair loss and less hair growth.
Dark green leafy vegetables are full of nutrients that prevent hair loss. Some good choices are:
These contain vitamin A, iron, beta carotene, folate, and vitamin C. Carrots have a high concentration of vitamin A, which helps promote hair and scalp health but less sodium content.
One cup of cooked spinach contains about 6 milligrams of iron, a nutrient that is important for strong, healthy hair. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), low iron is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world. It’s also linked to many different types of hair loss.
Vitamin A, which helps promote hair and scalp health, is another important nutrient found in leafy greens that plays a role in hair health. It helps your body make sebum, an oil that protects hair by moisturizing the scalp.
Fruits rich in compounds that are important for healthy hair, including vitamin C and antioxidants, include:
These fruits contain a number of antioxidants, including vitamin C, which can help to protect hair follicles from free radicals. Vitamin C also helps your body absorb iron and make collagen, which is one of the proteins that build hair and helps prevent hair loss.
Nuts and Seeds
These nutrient-dense foods have many nutrients that are important for preventing hair loss, including vitamin E, zinc, selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids. If you’re worried about hair loss, some of the best choices to reach for are:
- Brazil nuts
- Flax seeds
- Chia seeds
Zinc and selenium are essential trace elements that your body can’t make, so it’s important to get them through foods like nuts and seeds. These trace elements are important for hair growth, and being low on them may lead to hair loss, according to a 2019 review in Dermatology and Therapy.
Is Potassium Good
The importance of potassium to our body is so highly underrated.
This mineral is classified as an electrolyte because it’s highly reactive in water. When dissolved in water, it produces positively charged ions. This special property allows it to conduct electricity, which is important for many processes throughout the body.
Interestingly, a potassium-rich diet is linked to many powerful health benefits. It may help reduce blood pressure and water retention, protect against stroke and help prevent osteoporosis and kidney stones and also prevent hair loss.
Potassium Deficiency Symptoms
A national survey found that approximately 98% of Americans are not meeting the recommended potassium intake. A Western diet is likely to blame, as it favors processed foods over whole plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts.
Potassium deficiency occurs when your body suddenly loses a lot of fluid. Common causes include chronic vomiting, diarrhea, excessive sweating, and blood loss.
Here are 8 signs and symptoms of potassium deficiency, so that may learn about these possible conditions :
1. Weakness and Fatigue
Weakness and fatigue are often the first signs of potassium deficiency. You may notice muscle problems during exercise. In severe cases, muscle weakness can lead to paralysis and possibly respiratory failure.
First of all, potassium helps regulate muscle contractions. When blood potassium levels are low, your muscles produce weaker contractions. Deficiency in this mineral may also affect how your body uses nutrients, resulting in fatigue. For example, some evidence shows that a deficiency could impair insulin production, resulting in high blood sugar levels
2. Breathing Difficulties
A deficiency of potassium may also affect breathing. Breathing requires the use of several muscles, particularly the diaphragm. This essential nutrient regulates the nerve signals that cause your lungs to contract and expand.
In severe cases, muscle weakness can lead to paralysis and possibly respiratory failure.
Weak lungs can make you short of breath, as it can cause the heart to beat abnormally. This means less blood is pumped from your heart to the rest of your body. Blood delivers oxygen to the body, so an altered blood flow may cause shortness of breath. Also, a severe potassium deficiency may stop the lungs from working, which is fatal.
3. Tingling and Numbness
Tingling and Numbness known as paresthesia and usually occurs in the hands, arms, legs, and feet.
Low blood levels of potassium can weaken nerve signals, which may result in tingling and numbness. While occasionally experiencing these symptoms is harmless, persistent tingles and numbness may be a sign of an underlying condition.
4. Muscle Aches and Stiffness
These symptoms may indicate rhabdomyolysis. Rhabdomyolysis is the rapid breakdown of muscle tissue that leads to the release of muscle fiber contents into the blood.
Blood levels of potassium help regulate blood flow to your muscles. When levels are severely low, your blood vessels can contract and restrict blood flow to your muscles. This means muscle cells receive less oxygen, which may cause them to rupture and leak. This results in rhabdomyolysis, which is accompanied by symptoms like muscle stiffness and aches
5. Heart Palpitations
Potassium is an essential nutrient that the body requires for a wide range of functions, including keeping the heart beating. Heart palpitation is when you have irregular heart rhythms. That is when you noticed your heart suddenly beating harder, faster or skipping a beat.
No, you are not in love.
Heart palpitations can also be a sign of potassium deficiency. This is because the flow of potassium in and out of heart cells helps regulate your heartbeat. Low blood potassium levels can alter this flow, resulting in heart palpitations.
In addition, heart palpitations may be a sign of arrhythmia, or an irregular heartbeat. Unlike palpitations, arrhythmia has been linked to serious heart conditions.
High sodium foods can cause palpitations, too.
6. Digestive Problems
Digestive problems have many causes, one of which may be potassium deficiency. Potassium helps relay signals from the brain to muscles located in the digestive system. These signals stimulate contractions that help the digestive system churn and propel food so it can be digested.
When blood potassium levels are low, the brain cannot relay signals as effectively. Thus, contractions in the digestive system may become weaker and slow the movement of food. This may cause digestive problems like bloating and constipation.
A new study found that individuals reported more gastrointestinal bloating when they ate a diet high in sodium.
7. Muscle Cramps and Spasms
Muscle cramps are sudden, uncontrolled contractions of the muscles. They can occur when potassium levels are low in the blood. Within muscle cells, potassium helps relay signals from the brain that stimulate contractions. It also helps end these contractions by moving out of the muscle cells.
When blood potassium levels are low, your brain cannot relay these signals as effectively. This results in more prolonged contractions, such as muscle cramps.
Sodium and water are key because as you exercise, your body flushes sodium out with your sweat. If you lose too much water, you’ll get dehydrated, and muscle cramps may happen
8. Mood Changes
Potassium deficiency has also been linked to mood changes and mental fatigue. Low blood potassium levels may disrupt the signals that help maintain optimal brain function, such as mental lethargy, depression, mood swings, psychosis, disorientation, and confusion. For example, a study found that 20% of patients with mental disorders had a potassium deficiency.
That said, there is limited evidence in the area of potassium deficiencies and mood. In some cases, rapid mood changes are also related to changes in sodium and water metabolism.
More research is needed before making any recommendations.
Does Too Much Potassium Cause Hair Loss?
As one reply to a question about taking too much potassium said, “Regular excessive potassium consumption may lead to hair loss in extreme cases, however, shedding is more likely to occur as a result of a potassium deficiency.”
Like taking some other vitamins in excess or otherwise, you must take precautions and make sure that you are taking the right amount. You might not know the effects it may cause regardless of it’s under or beyond what is required.
Hair Loss Due to Potassium Deficiency
Eliminating a potassium deficiency is best accomplished by increasing the amount of potassium-rich foods in the diet. According to the Food and Drug Administration, the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for potassium is 4,700 mg per day. Considering that a banana only contains about 450 mg of potassium (depending on the size of the banana), more potassium-rich foods are required to increase potassium in the diet.
According to experts, additional food choices should include dairy foods, including milk, cheese and yogurt; meats such as beef, pork, chicken, and fish; vegetables including broccoli, carrots, potatoes, yams, and lima beans; grains such as whole-grain bread, brown rice and wheat bran; fruits such as apricots, avocados, figs, apples and peaches; dried fruit such as raisins and dates; and even some melon such as cantaloupe.
You may also want to season your food with garlic as well as adding some healthy snacks to your diet such as banana chips nuts or sunflower seeds. A well-rounded diet of potassium-rich foods is a vital step in eliminating a potassium deficiency that may cause hair loss.
Can a Diet That’s High in Sodium Cause Hair Loss
The human body requires a small amount of sodium to conduct nerve impulses. But too much sodium is bad.
High-salt diets cause excess sodium accumulation around the hair follicles, preventing the absorption of vital nutrients required for healthy hair. This, in turn, causes hair loss. Increasing potassium intake will remove excess sodium and eliminate potassium deficiency and resulting in hair loss.
There is an intimate relationship between sodium and potassium in the human body. Both are positive ions–however, when ingested, potassium will replace sodium through the sodium-potassium pump in the kidneys. Sodium causes water retention and is at least partially to blame for high blood pressure, whereas potassium does not cause water retention and is actually recommended for reducing blood pressure. The sodium-potassium pump in the kidneys allows potassium to replace sodium when ingested and therefore reduce or eliminate the problem of hair loss.
Too much sodium intake at more than 2,300 mg a day is generally not good for our health. There are some studies showing medications for high blood pressure and hypertension causing hair thinning and hair loss. The bottom line is, therefore, to take salt and sodium in moderation.
Hair loss reminds me of the holy book story of Samson, who lost his hair. Here, we are certain, even without eating bananas, potassium deficiency is not the culprit in his hair loss.
More studies are conducted on different fields about hair loss, such as experimenting on skin samples on individuals undergoing elective cosmetic surgery operations; gathering information on the conditions of the hair cycle in different temperatures; and even, more information about how bananas improve the manageability and shine of our hair. We know Bananas are rich in potassium, natural oils, carbohydrates, and vitamins, which help soften our hair and protect their natural elasticity, but is there more to our favorite banana.
Anyone experiencing significant levels of hair fall should consult professional experts for advice like Scalp International Hairline is specializing in hair growth and scalp micropigmentation treatment.