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Hair Loss Caused by Lack of Protein - Topic Overview

Hair loss may occasionally be caused by lack of protein in the diet. Some people who go on crash diets that exclude protein or who have abnormal eating habits may develop protein malnutrition. When this happens, the body will help save protein by shifting growing hairs into the resting phase. Increased hair shedding can occur 2 to 3 months later.

This condition can be reversed and prevented by eating the proper amount of protein and, when dieting, maintaining adequate protein intake. For adults, this means 2 to 3 servings of protein a day. Protein is found in meat, chicken, fish, eggs, some cheeses, dried beans, tofu, grains, and nuts.

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Understanding Hair Loss -- the Basics

Hair grows everywhere on the human skin except on the palms of our hands and the soles of our feet, but many hairs are so fine they're virtually invisible. Hair is made up of a protein called keratin that is produced in hair follicles in the outer layer of skin. As follicles produce new hair cells, old cells are being pushed out through the surface of the skin at the rate of about six inches a year. The hair you can see is actually a string of dead keratin cells. The average adult head has about...

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 29, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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