Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can too much salt in your diet cause hair loss?"
I have had really dramatic hairline hair loss in the last few months. I eat a lot of zinc to stay healthy and I eat a lot of salt. Could either or both of these things have thrown off my mineral balance and caused hair loss?
Unfortunately, your diet is unlikely to have had any effect on your hair loss. Salt intake, and the intake of zinc and other minerals are not associated with hair loss. The most common type of hair loss is the so-called male pattern hair loss also known as androgenic allopecia. This is the type of hair loss seen in men that seems to "run in families". It is caused by the presence of the natural hormone dihydrotestosterone (called DHT). This is a form of testosterone that is responsible for making men into men during development and is also partially responsible for sex drive and other male characteristics later in life. Treatments today for this type of hair loss aim to reduce the amount of DHT in the body therefore slowing or even reversing the hair loss. There are other causes of hair loss that are not associated with androgens. Theses would need to be evaluated by a specialist in the area (i.e. a dermatologist). I suggest that you schedule an appointment with a dermatologist. He or she can examine your pattern of hair loss and decide what is the most likely cause. If there is any question, the dermatologist may obtain a biopsy of your scalp. Otherwise you can discuss the options for treatment if you decide to go that route. Good luck.
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