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Hashimoto's Thyroiditis Hair Loss and Your Diet: What To Eat and What To Avoid

By Stefanie Sandler Billette, MS, ACE-CHC
Find out which foods can improve your Hashimoto’s symptoms, including hair loss, and which foods can make your symptoms worse.

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder. According to a 2019 study published in the Cureus Journal of Medical Science, people with Hashimoto’s experience numerous persistent symptoms, including hair loss. You may be able to improve hair loss due to Hashimoto’s through diet and supplementation.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Hair Loss

According to a 2019 study published in the Journal of Endocrinology & Metabolism, most patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis have measurable antibodies in their blood. These antibodies indicate that your body is actively fighting itself, which leads to inflammation.

Inflammation triggers and worsens autoimmune symptoms, according to Harvard Health. Even when thyroid levels in your bloodstream are normalized, inflammation persists throughout your body, including in your hair follicles. When your hair follicles become inflamed, your hair can become weak, break easily and shed excessively

“Diet is an important component of treatment for Hashimoto's disease. If a diet can be used to decrease inflammation, Hashimoto's management improves,” Amy Burkhart, MD, RD, integrative medicine physician and registered dietician in Napa, Calif., tells WebMD Connect to Care. 

Foods to Eat

It’s necessary to eat lots of foods with bioflavonoids—in particular, berries, deeply colored fruits and vegetables,” Beverly Goode-Kanawati, DO, tells WebMD Connect to Care. Goode-Kanawati is based in Raleigh, N.C., and is board-certified in family practice and emergency medicine.

A 2019 study published in Dermatology & Therapy revealed a relationship between hair loss and low levels of certain vitamins and minerals, including the following:

  • Vitamin D, which is found in salmon and sardines
  • Selenium, which is found in pork, beef, turkey, chicken, fish and shellfish
  • Biotin, which is found in organ meats and sweet potatoes
  • Iron, which is found in mussels, oysters and beef
  • Zinc, which is found in crab, lobster, mushrooms and kale

Foods to Avoid

A 2019 study published in the Cureus Journal of Medical Science suggested that anti-inflammatory diets, particularly the paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP) diet, have shown promise in the treatment of many Hashimoto’s symptoms. On the autoimmune protocol diet, you remove all grains, legumes, nightshades (such as eggplant and peppers), dairy, eggs, coffee, alcohol, sugar, oil and food additives from your diet. After a few months, you can work the excluded foods back in one at a time to figure out which foods trigger an inflammatory reaction. This process can help you reduce inflammation throughout your body, including in your hair follicles. 

While many people find the autoimmune protocol diet to be manageable, others may find the restrictions overwhelming. If you cannot follow the autoimmune protocol diet, you may want to eliminate certain key foods that are likely contributing to your symptoms, including hair loss.

“I find that a grain-free, dairy-free, sugar-free diet has the most significant positive impact on symptoms and immune response in my autoimmune patients, including those with Hashimoto’s,” Ellen Antoine, DO, a board-certified emergency medicine and functional and integrative medicine physician based in Carmel, Ind., tells WebMD Connect to Care. 

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