How to Stop Hair Loss on the Keto Diet

by Patti Croft September 02, 2021

Many people today are using diet and nutrition as proactive ways to stay healthy. When it comes to eating well, various eating plans work for different people. Lots of people have found success using the ketogenic diet. 

If you've tried this diet before but had some side effects, there are things you can adjust to make it work for you. Let's jump right into learning about the benefits and possible side effects of this popular eating plan. 

What Is the Keto Diet?

The keto diet focuses on eating very low carb and high fat. The object is to get your body into a state of ketosis. That is the state where your body burns fat for energy.

Ketosis is the metabolic state where your body makes ketones from fat. These ketones get used to fuel your body rather than using carbohydrates and sugar. 

Many people use the keto diet as a way to feel better and lose weight fast. It is known to dramatically suppress your appetite because fat keeps you satiated. That automatically reduces caloric intake, because you aren't hungry. 

When eating the ketogenic diet, the recommendation is to consume moderate protein amounts. You can have foods high in fat like coconut oil, avocados, eggs, fatty meats, and low carbohydrate veggies. 

To remain in a state of ketosis, most keto advocates suggest you keep your carbs at 20 grams or below. With a standard keto diet, you will want to get 70 percent of your calories from fat, 20 percent from protein intake, and 10 percent from carbs. You don't want to consume too little protein or too much of it because that can throw you out of ketosis. 

Keto for Weight Loss and Health

Most people see fast weight loss benefits within the first week. While most of that is considered water weight, it is also detoxing your body. By eating low carb, you are getting more whole foods and eating less processed and artificial foods. 

During the first week of the keto diet, your body will use up its stores of glycogen. That is a form of carbohydrates. When your body uses that, you will lose water weight. That is the reason most people see dramatic results with their first week of keto. 

That amount of weight you will lose will vary over time. Many consider it a healthy way to slim down and shed unwanted pounds. A keto resetting phase is when you restrict carbs so much that it shocks your body and jumpstarts weight loss. 

If your weight stalls, one powerful tool to help with weight loss is intermittent fasting. That is where you eat within a specific time window. Some people eat in an eight-hour timeframe and then stop eating for sixteen hours. 

You can tweak intermittent fasting to your own specific needs. You don't have to go all-in at once. 

Many people see inflammation go away entirely with the ketogenic diet. It also reduces risk factors for health issues like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and much more. 

Side Effects of a Ketogenic Diet

The keto diet may not be for everyone. Understanding the benefits and any side effects of this eating plan is important so that you can make changes if necessary. 

One of the side effects of the ketogenic diet that most are familiar with is the keto flu. When you remove processed foods and high sugar foods from your diet, your body may not like it at first. 

If you do experience the keto flu, don't panic. It is normal, and there are things you can do to make the transition easier. You may need to replace electrolytes like potassium that you've lost. Sometimes your body is simply dehydrated and can cause a host of problems like headaches and fatigue. 

When eating low carb, some report muscle cramping. That can happen if you don't get enough magnesium in your diet. You can eat foods rich in magnesium like avocados, nuts, and seeds or use a supplement.

Some experience fatigue, headaches, muscle cramps, and nausea. These symptoms mirror those of severe flu, thus giving it the name of keto flu. During this time, people complain of less energy and often give up on their new diet plan. 

Proponents of the ketogenic diet could also experience hair loss. Most say they grow new hair over time and suggest it is no cause for alarm. You can still choose a low carbohydrate diet and stick to a healthy meal plan. 

If you have thyroid issues, you will want to consider those before starting the keto diet. Your body needs some insulin to convert thyroxine or T4 into triiodothyronine, or T3. People who have hypothyroidism experience inflammation, and if they remain in ketosis for too long, it can cause more inflammation. 

Hair Growth Phases

Another common side effect that people report is keto hair loss.  Before we dive into the why, it's helpful to understand how hair grows.  Your hair grows in phases. These growth phases happen to all of us, whether we follow a keto diet or not.

You have the anagen phase, which is considered the active phase. That is when the new hair grows and pushes out the old or dead hair. 

When you strip the keratin protein in your hair, it affects its strength. That is when nutrients are not getting absorbed into the body to support healthy hair growth. 

The catagen phase lasts for around two weeks. It is the transition phase because this is when hair growth stops and gets ready for new hair. Your hair follicles are small organs, and they react to stress like any other body part.

Why Does Keto Cause Hair Loss?

Temporary hair loss can happen when your body does not get the antioxidants and micronutrients it needs. When it comes to hair health, sometimes it is affected by your body responding to a caloric deficit. 

When many people begin a low-carb diet, they stop getting many of the nutrients they need. In many cases, because it is a new diet, people fall into eating the same few foods and are not eating a wide variety of foods. Your body requires specific nutrients to stay healthy and fuel itself.  There are a few problems that could be causing the keto hair loss, but all of them can easily be corrected.  Let's discuss... 

Not Getting Enough Calories

The causes of hair loss could be as simple as not getting in all the calories you need. When you reduce your calorie intake, you may also remove vitamins. We all need different types of vitamins and amino acids to keep your body functioning well.

We've been told for years to reduce calories to lose weight. That could be counterproductive. When you drop your calories too low, you lose energy. Your body may feel it is starving so it fights against weight loss and tries to hold on to body fat stores.

While most people who follow keto don't count calories, you don't want your caloric intake too low. That can vary by person,and you may eat fewer calories because you won't feel hungry all the time, like on high carb diets. Since the math can vary depending on body types and weight, it's a good idea to use a keto calculator when you first begin. 

Micronutrient Deficiency

Some people become potassium deficient because it's lost in urine output. That's when some people have keto flu symptoms. Getting in the proper amount of micronutrients can minimize or remove those symptoms.

With a low-carb diet, you could run into a biotin deficiency, which can cause thinning hair. Like any part of the human body, hair grows when it gets the nutrients it needs. Alopecia (or sudden hair loss) causes some to prematurely stop the keto meal plan because they worry it could be permanent. 

Not Enough Protein

Sometimes when you cut your protein intake, you increase the amount of time your hair stays in the resting phase. That is when no hair grows and leads some into temporary hair loss. Many will notice that hair will fall out during this timeframe. 

Too Much Stress

Telogen effluvium is when you lose your hair due to stress. Remember that could be the body's reaction to the shock of carb deprivation. Any stressor to the body can cause hair loss. 

How to Stop Keto Hair Loss

If you have experienced keto hair loss due to nutrient deficiencies, there are some things you can do to mitigate that. One of the things you can do is to take a good multivitamin. When you take a quality multivitamin, you get many nutrients your body needs to function well. If you have vitamin deficiencies, a good multivitamin will bridge the gap for you. 

You may need more biotin. A ketogenic diet can get linked to biotin deficiency. Biotin is a vitamin found in many foods, like eggs, nuts, organ meats, and many vegetables. 

Biotin is crucial because it promotes healthy hair. This b vitamin can fit very well into a keto meal plan since it gets found in multiple keto-approved foods. 

Collagen is great for hair health. Collagen protects the skin around the hair root. If you've noticed some hair loss, a quality collagen supplement can help. Many of these are tasteless and can mix into a smoothie, coffee, or any other beverage.

Make sure you are getting enough protein. When you begin the keto diet, you may be focusing on high fat, which is key to the success of the meal plan. You want to get in adequate amounts as well because a protein deficiency can cause hair loss. 

Eat low-carb veggies that contain vitamin c. You can get vitamin c from peppers, brussel sprouts, leafy greens, and herbs like parsley and thyme. Adequate amounts of vitamin c help produce collagen. 

The Bottom Line

The keto diet offers a meal plan that keeps you healthy when used the right way. You don't want to consume only meats and cheese. Make sure you are getting in some excellent low-carb veggies, too. 

You can also eat nuts and seeds that are full of protein and healthy fats. Give yourself some variety so that you don't get bored. With the proper supplements and nutrition, hair loss isn't something you'll have to worry about with the keto diet. 

If you experience temporary hair loss, that will remedy once your body gets used to the new meal plan and the vitamins it needs. With the keto diet, you can change your eating and have healthy hair at the same time.  This article should show you some of the benefits of a keto lifestyle and how to fix any possible side effects you encounter. 


Patti Croft
Patti Croft

Patti Croft is a Certified Health Data Analyst with a thirst for all things natural and holistic. Coupled with her MBA, Patti uses her skill set here at NuVision Health Center to dive into the research. Her expertise is in taking complex medical data and delivering it in a way that readers can understand and implement into their lives.

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