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HindustanTimes Wed,17 Sep 2014

Weight loss or hair loss?

Debasmita Ghosh, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, September 22, 2012
First Published: 18:03 IST(22/9/2012) | Last Updated: 00:48 IST(23/9/2012)

You might be glad that you have finally started to shed that extra flab to be able to fit into that sexy choli on Navratri or Diwali, all thanks to the magical diet plan you saw online. But, even as you focus on your weight loss plan, make sure to consult a stylist who can suggest a bald look to go with your dress, or may be shop for some fancy wigs instead! Well, crash diets may help you lose weight instantly, but often lead to deficiency of protein, biotin and folic acid, which in turn affect the texture of the hair, leading to uncontrolled hair fall, say experts.

Crash diets and hair fall
Hair follicles need several nutrients to stay healthy. “The nutrients crucial for hair health are omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin E and vitamin C. They are severely lacking when one is on a weight loss diet. The most common mistake that people make on a stringent weight loss diet is to make it fat-free. Once the fat is cut out, the omega 3 fats and vitamin E content is bound to be below what is required for the growth of healthy hair,” says nutritionist Neelanjana Singh of Nutri Life Clinic. “Lysine is also an essential amino acid that is required to promote healthy hair growth. Several bizarre weight loss diets are low in protein content, due to which, excessive hair fall occurs,” adds Singh. Dr Manoj Khanna, cosmetic and hair transplant surgeon, Enhance Aesthetic & Cosmetic Studio, says that fitness freaks often take steroids. “These steroids are similar to testosterone, a main contributor to hair loss,” he says.

hairThe other reasons for hairfall
According to Neelanjana Singh, apart from crash diets, excessive hair loss can occur due to a variety of other reasons, including malfunction of the thyroid gland, scalp infections or side-effects of medications. “Accumulation of salt on scalp also causes hair to shed and break as they get dull and dry. Salt buildup and moisture can be controlled by washing hair with a mild shampoo and balanced pH content at least once a week. Conditioning weekly with a moisturizing protein conditioner is also important,” says Dr Khanna, adding, “Also, limit your use of hot tools such as curling irons and blow driers, as they hugely damages hair.”

Diet for healthy hair
* The health of your hair depends on the health of your diet. A balanced diet of dairy products, proteins and fruits and vegetables is very necessary to maintain that luscious hair. Protein is essential for any type of growth in the body, and without it, hair can become dry and brittle or may take longer to grow.

* Fruits and vegetables are packed full of vitamins that are important for hair growth. Vitamins A and C play a role in the function of the sebaceous gland, which secretes the oil needed for healthy hair. Citrus and tropical fruits, as well as tomatoes, are examples of good sources of vitamin C. Carrots, sweet potatoes and spinach contain high amounts of vitamin A. 

* Folic acid, which is also found in fortified grains, and is abundant in green, leafy vegetables is important for hair growth.

* Last but not the least, always consult a doctor before going for any weight loss programme to ensure that you still get to have a balanced diet, which retains your overall health.

(Inputs by Sandhya Pandey, chief dietician, Columbia Asia Hospital Gurgaon)

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