If you are a very strict vegetarian, or over 50 years old, this vitamin deficiency may be to blame for your hair loss. Find out why there is a link between vitamin B12 deficiency and hair loss.
Vitamin B12 Basics
Vitamin B12 is an animal byproduct vitamin found in dairy products as well as meat, poultry, and fish. You can’t get this vitamin from a plant source. Therefore, strict vegetarians are more at risk of deficiency from this water-soluble vitamin than others.
This vitamin plays a role in various systems in the body. This includes nerve function, red blood cell formation, DNA production, and cell metabolism. But, deficiency is rare because the body can store up to many years’ worth of this vitamin.
Another reason you may have a deficiency of this vitamin is due to an inability to absorb it in your digestive tract. This may be because of old age or disease. But, left untreated a deficiency can lead to serious health complications.
B12 and Hair Loss
Though it is not the main symptom, hair loss has been associated with a vitamin B12 deficiency. It is usually a problem with not being able to absorb the vitamin, as opposed to not ingesting it enough, that is the culprit.
Hair loss may occur because of the impairment one of vitamin B12’s main functions: DNA production. Since hair production relies heavily on DNA, when it is not produced hair loss may occur. However, there is little direct scientific evidence for this.
One study pointed to pernicious anemia, anemia caused by a B12 deficiency, as a possible cause for spot baldness. But, it may also have been in conjunction with other factors. Nevertheless, if you suspect a vitamin deficiency as being the cause of hair loss, you can always request a blood test to check.
The evidence to link vitamin B12 deficiency and hair loss is weak. But, it is there. If you think this may be the cause of your hair loss, or you already suffer from a disease that would inhibit vitamin absorption, you can take a blood test to rule it out.