Suggested Nutrition for Women Facing Menopause to prevent Hair Loss

Hair Loss

Women who are facing menopause, a 12 months period of amenorrhea after the final menstrual period, often suffer from hair and skin disorders due to hormonal changes. (1) As, various nutrients play important role in the production of hormones and impact the structure, growth and upkeep of hair, nutrition support for women during menopause can help in preventing hair loss. (2)

Hair loss is a stressful experience for both men and women. In men, genetic hair loss is the major problem affecting up to 50% men by the age of 50 however in women, the major cause of hair loss is nutritional affecting 30% women before the age of 50. (3) The risk of nutritional disturbances is especially high during the menopause, when vitamin and trace element deficiencies can occur due to life style and natural events of ageing with hormonal disturbances. (4)

A 2002 study found that persistent hair shedding and reduced hair volume can be due to depleted iron stores and a suboptimal intake of the essential amino acid l-lysine. (3) Another study in 2013 also reported that chronic hair loss in females is associated with low serum ferritin and vitamin D levels, as disease severity increased with decreasing levels of these nutrients. (5)

Additionally, a review in 2006 stated that menopause is often accompanied by degenerative processes and atrophic changes of the skin triggered due to estrogen lack. Therefore, certain micronutrients with antioxidant properties (vitamin B, C, E, Beta carotene and minerals) may be useful in preventing and/or treating the physiopathological effects of oxygen stress in menopausic and post-menopausic women. (6)

Following nutrition guidelines are suggested for women facing menopause to prevent hair loss:

1. Protein: Proteins containing Sulphur amino-acids: cysteine and methionine are essential for the hair growth, while L-lysine is responsible for hair shape, volume and keeping hair in skin integument. Proteins should be taken 0.9 g/kg of body mass per day and provide 10-15% of energy value of the diet. Sources: Above mentioned amino acids are found in cottage cheese, yoghurt, fish, meat, poultry, legume seeds, seeds, nuts and grain products. Additional source of these amino acids are eggs, one can consume 2-3 eggs per week. (2)

2. Fat: Fats are important for hormones synthesis and keep hair in skin integument. Low consumption of linoleic and linolenic acids and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids can cause decrease in hair hydration and even lead to their loss. Fats should provide 25-35% of energy value of the diet. Sources: Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (EPA and DHA) are found in fish, flax seeds, walnuts, wheat sprouts. Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids are found in plant oils and should be taken in moderation for better upkeep of hair.(2)

3. Carbohydrate: Carbohydrates can also influence the state of hair, as consumption of highly processed foods, rich in simple sugars can cause excess hair loss. (7) Therefore, diet should contain complex carbohydrates with low glycemic index. Carbohydrates should form 50-70% of energy value of the diet. Sources: Complex carbohydrates with low glycemic load are found in full grain breads, grits, rice, whole meal pasta, vegetables and fruit. (2)

4. Micronutrients: 

i. Vitamins: Vitamins such as C, D, A, E and B complex play important role in proper hair growth and prevent hair fall. (2)

ii. Minerals: Minerals and trace elements such as zinc, iron, copper, selenium, silicon, magnesium and calcium are necessary for hair building and growth. (2) One study in 2007 emphasizes that calcium play significant role in keeping hair in proper state, whereas women in peri-menopause period are particularly susceptible to its deficiency (8).

Therefore, balanced and appropriate multivitamin and mineral supplementation is justified. (4)

  1. 5. Polyphenols (Antioxidants): Polyphenols, the most abundant antioxidants in the diet help in nourishing hair and stimulate growth of hair follicles. Sources: Vegetables, fruits, grains, seeds, lentils, spices, red wine, green tea and cocoa. (2)

1. Blume-Peytavi U, Atkin S, Gieler U, Grimalt R. Skin academy: hair, skin, hormones and menopause - current status/knowledge on the management of hair disorders in menopausal women. Eur J Dermatol. 2012 May-Jun;22(3):310-8. doi: 10.1684/ejd.2012.1692.

2. Goluch-Koniuszy ZS. Nutrition of women with hair loss problem during the period of menopause. Prz Menopauzalny. 2016 Mar;15(1):56-61. doi: 10.5114/pm.2016.58776. Epub 2016 Mar 29.

3. Rushton DH, Norris MJ, Dover R, Busuttil N. Causes of hair loss and the developments in hair rejuvenation. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2002 Feb;24(1):17-23. doi: 10.1046/j.0412-5463.2001.00110.x.

4. Choay P, Lafond JL, Favier A. Value of micronutrient supplements in the prevention or correction of disorders accompanying menopause. Rev Fr Gynecol Obstet. 1990 Dec;85(12):702-5.

5. Rasheed H, Mahgoub D, Hegazy R, El-Komy M, Abdel Hay R, Hamid MA, Hamdy E. Serum ferritin and vitamin d in female hair loss: do they play a role? Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2013;26(2):101-7. doi: 10.1159/000346698. Epub 2013 Feb 20.

6. Miquel J, Ramírez-Boscá A, Ramírez-Bosca JV, Alperi JD. Menopause: a review on the role of oxygen stress and favorable effects of dietary antioxidants. Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2006 May-Jun;42(3):289-306. Epub 2006 Jan 26.

7. Matilainen V, Laakso M, Hirsso P, Koskela P, Rajala U, Keinänen-Kiukaanniemi S. Hair loss, insulin resistance, and heredity in middle-aged women. A population-based study. J Cardiovasc Risk. 2003 Jun;10(3):227-31.

8. Wlaźlak E, Surkont G, Dunicz-Sokołowska A, et al. Analysis of calcium concentration in perimenopausal women hair. Prz Menopauzalny. 2007;1:51–54.

Hair Loss