Hair loss can run in families, so if you had a balding mum or dad, chances are you’ll be losing your hair strands too. How do you keep hair loss at bay? One mineral supplement has been proven to prevent it from happening.
The Boston University School of Medicine has found hair loss to be a common symptom of zinc deficiency.
Supporting this finding, a study by the Kurume University School of Medicine found participants deficient in zinc responded well to zinc supplements.
The researchers tested whether “zinc deficiency-related alopecia” – alopecia being the medical term for hair loss – improved with zinc supplements.
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The researchers said: “In all patients, hair loss was cured or improved.
“The administration of zinc for zinc deficiency-related alopecia may recover appropriate activities of metalloenzymes, hedgehog signalling, and immunomodulation, all of which are required for normal control of hair growth cycle.”
There are three stages to the hair growth cycle: anagen, catagen and telogen.
Philip Kingsley, the leading authority in hair and scalp health, said hair grows around half an inch a month – usually growing faster in warmer weather.
Hair growth cycle: Anagen
Philip Kingsley continues: “The growth phase, or anagen phase, lasts an average of three to five years.
“The anagen phase is generally longer in people of Asian descent, and can last as much as seven years.”
Hair growth cycle: Catagen
The hair expert said this phase follows the anlagen phase, and “lasts approximately 10 days”.
Hair growth cycle: Telogen
This is described as a “resting phase when strands are released and falls out. The follicle then remains inactive for 3 months, before the whole process is repeated”.
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Each hair strands goes through the growth cycle at different times – otherwise, all our hair would fall out at the same time, leaving us bald every three to five years.
On a healthy head of hair, Philip Kingsley stated between 80 to 100 strands of hair falls out every day.
“Hair loss, hair thinning and hair growth may occur when your growth cycle is disrupted,” added Philip Kingsley.
The hair expert concluded: “This can be triggered by improper nutrition.”
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The National Institute of Health states: “Zinc is an essential mineral that is naturally present in some foods, added to others, and available as a dietary supplement.”
The government body notes adult males are recommended to take 11mg of zinc every day, whereas women are suited to 8mg of zinc per day.
It adds: “Oysters contain more zinc per serving than any other food.
“Other good food sources include beans, nuts, certain types of seafood (such as crab and lobster), whole grains, fortified breakfast cereals, and dairy products.”
The NHS says hair loss can “occasionally be a sign of a medical condition”.
It advises people to visit their GP about hair loss if any of the following occurs:
- You have sudden hair loss
- You develop bald patches
- You’re losing hair in clumps
- Your head also itches and burns
- You’re worried about your hair loss
For male and female pattern baldness, Minoxidil is recommended as the main treatment.
Minoxidil is available in shampoos in high street stores, including Superdrug.
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