Increased daily hair loss, also known as effluvium, can be physiological or pathological. Examples of the latter include drug side effects, disorders of thyroid function, iron deficiency, syphilis (a sexually transmitted disease), or postpartum effluvium.
Hair loss of up to 100 hairs per day is normal, with substantial interindividual and seasonal variations. Anything that exceeds this limit can be investigated. The administration of heparin often leads to a decrease in hair density four months later. Hormonal changes, such as after discontinuing a contraceptive or the postpartum period may also lead to hair loss.
Laboratory testing for iron, ferritin (iron transporter), thyroid hormones, and a syphilis screening test should be done. In many cases, an iron deficiency anemia, a thyroid dysfunction, or in some cases a syphilitic infection can cause a diffuse hair loss.
In order for hair to grow, the scalp requires basic mineral nutrients such as calcium and magnesium. A healthy scalp contains a sufficient amount of these nutrients. A lack of calcium or magnesium could lead to hair loss. An intake of these nutrients solely through food is often not enough to correct the existing deficiency.
In the case of increased calcium demand such as when suffering from hair loss, taking a natural and organic supplement that supplies the missing nutrients is recommended. Certain foods, including nuts, almonds, sesame, flax, figs, whole grains, kale, Chinese cabbage, and spinach are good calcium providers.
Selenium is a trace nutrient which, even if only required in small amounts, is very important for several bodily functions, including healthy hair growth. In order to prevent an overdose of selenium, it is important to consume it only naturally from food or mineral supplements. Good, natural, and vegetarian sources of selenium are nuts and whole grains.
Iodine may prevent hair loss as it is an important component of the thyroid hormones triiodothyronine and thyroxin. Besides impairing the thyroid gland, a lack of iodine can also lead to hair loss.
In order to naturally maintain a sufficient amount of iodine in the body, a dietary plan should include saltwater fish and/or algae from time to time. Furthermore, a high-quality sea salt or crystal salt should be used to season meals. Iodine is naturally contained with other minerals within these salts.
Zinc stimulates hair growth. It is an important trace nutrient when it comes to scalp and hair health as a lack of it can lead to hair loss. Keratin is one of the main components of skin, hair, and nails.
Zinc is equally involved in the formation of keratin as it is in the formation of collagen. The form of cell division that leads to hair growth also does not function without zinc, making this trace nutrient an important companion when suffering from hair loss.
Micronutrients such as vitamins play an important role in immune cell function and normal hair follicle development. In some studies, vitamin D deficiency was associated with diffuse hair loss. The major natural source of the vitamin is the synthesis of cholecalciferol from cholesterol in the skin through a chemical reaction dependant on UVB radiation.
Dark-skinned people may be less efficient at making vitamin D because melanin in the skin hinders vitamin D synthesis. The darker the skin and the weaker the sunlight, the more minutes of exposure are needed. Therefore, depending on skin phototype and sun exposure, taking vitamin D could improve hair loss.