Hair Loss and Weight Loss

Although there is no direct link between hair loss and individual body weight, in certain instances chronic undernourishment can lead to increased hair loss. This is due to the body lacking certain vital nutrients that are necessary for growing healthy hair. This situation mainly relates to health conditions known as anorexia and bulimia. It often happens that starvation and the resulting lack of proper nutrients causes not only damage to the digestive organs such as liver, it can also lead to changes in hair’s growth cycle such as shortening of the hair’s growth phase, extending of the resting phase and thus increasing the ratio of hair in the resting phase. In extreme cases a starving person can suffer from sudden telogen effluvium, losing a significant portion of one’s hair within a very short period of time.

One should realize that the hair is made of protein called keratin. The body places a low priority to developing hair when it is faced with starvation. Therefore, in times of food scarcity, the vital nutrients are primarily used to feed vital bodily functions and the hair is left to suffer. Telogen effluvium is often a result of sudden traumatic changes and excessive starvation can be considered as one of them. However, hair loss caused by the lack of nourishment is typically reversible and once you start eating normally you will regrow most of the hairs you have seemingly lost, since they were not lost, just resting. They will quickly wake up and return to their growth phase, which will give you an impression of suddenly having thicker hair.