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Why does my hair fall out? Hair nutrition and emotions

The natural hair cycle consists of 3 phases: the anagen phase (hair growth), which lasts for years, the catagen phase (no growth), and the telogen phase (hair loss). However, although hair has a natural cycle of growth and destruction (physiological hair loss), when there is an imbalance between the amount of hair that grows and those that fall, we speak of "hair loss".

There are different types of alopecia

Did you know that the origin of all alopecia or pathological hair loss is not the same? Thus, when two people tell us that their hair is falling out, it may be due to different causes. In fact, there is talk of up to six types of alopecia : androgenic (of genetic origin and more common), areata (where the hair falls out in clumps and stress or an emotional component usually plays an important role), fibrosing (frontal ), diffuse, cicatricial and universal (loss of all hair).

Causes of hair loss

Many times, hair loss is associated with capillary malnutrition, caused by a deficiency of the necessary components for hair formation, and the deregulation of two endocrine response systems. This imbalance is caused by the sympathetic adrenal medullary system being subjected to stress ( 1) (secretion of catecholamines such as adrenaline and norepinephrine) and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis or HPA. When this happens, the relationship between the brain and the adrenal system is altered, remaining chronically hyperactive and giving rise to elevated levels of catecholamines and cortisol, also called hydrocortisone or stress hormone. The body goes into "alarm" mode, and it is important to take this into account, since an excess of cortisol ( 2), (3), (4) maintained over time, and not as an adaptive response, can lead to:
  • Increased blood sugar level (need to snack on unhealthy sugary, fatty and high carbohydrate foods, which in the long term could lead to type II diabetes).
  • Greater retention of liquids and fats.
  • Thyroid disorders.
  • Suppression of the immune system.
  • Alteration of blood pressure (hypertension, heart problems, etc.).
  • Digestive problems (swelling, irritation, ulcers, inflammation of the intestinal mucosa and altered stools).
  • Disturbed sleep: difficulty in falling asleep and getting a restful sleep, giving rise to daytime fatigue, forgetfulness and alterations at the metabolic level that add to the direct effects of cortisol on metabolism mentioned above, such as the nocturnal production of ghrelin and leptin, linked to the body's ability to satiate itself when eating.
  • Weight gain or difficulty losing it (impaired metabolism).
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia ( 5).
  • Anxiety and depression.
  • Hair Loss: Continued stress causes hair to prematurely switch from the anagen phase (hair growth) to the telogen phase (hair destruction and hair loss).

Nutrients for your hair

In order for your hair to grow, and also to make it strong and shiny, hair needs various components ( 6), (7) : mainly proteins (keratin), but also biotin, folic acid, vitamins such as A, C, B6 and B12 and minerals such as zinc, copper, iron, magnesium, sulfur, silicon and iodine. A diet poor in nutrients, poorly planned ( 7) and with irregular schedules , can give rise to brittle, weak hair, with split ends, discoloration or premature appearance of gray hair and dullness. This occurs as a cause of affecting protein metabolism and altering the formation of collagen (a protein that is part of the connective tissue, bones and ligaments of the body, as well as the structure of nails and hair, and ensures that it is thick, shiny and have firmness and elasticity). As a consequence, it has been seen that hypocaloric diets often give rise to hair problems.


Vitamin B7, B8 or H ( 7) is involved in the formation of keratin (structural protein of hair, skin and nails) and in the metabolism and accumulation of fatty acids. A biotin deficiency can lead to dermatitis, eczema and acne. In addition, it helps a good growth, strengthening and nutrition of the hair, avoiding brittle hair, split ends and its fall. Foods such as brewer's yeast, walnuts, peanuts, almonds, strawberries, raspberries, avocados, tomatoes, bananas, cereals, seeds, broccoli, chard and spinach contain it.

Vitamin A

Participates as a cofactor in the synthesis of collagen. Present in carrots, broccoli, sweet potato, cabbage, tomato and spinach.

Vitamin C

Promotes skin healing and is essential in the formation of collagen. It is in citrus, tomato and peppers.

Vitamin B6

Also called pyridoxine, it is a cofactor in the synthesis of collagen, provides oxygenation and nourishes the hair follicles. Interesting also in case of seborrhea. It is in legumes, avocados, bananas, legumes and corn.

B12 vitamin

The lack of this vitamin, known as cobalamin, causes dry, brittle hair and alterations in its color.

Ginkgo Biloba

Surely this plant will sound familiar to you because of its effect on improving concentration, memory and vitality, but perhaps what you did not know is that it is also very useful for our scalp, since it favors blood circulation and, therefore, a greater oxygen supply in the hair follicles (greater hair growth), nourishing them. Likewise, it provides flavonoids and amino acids such as methionine, cystine and arginine, which we have already mentioned are important in maintaining strong, thick hair, less vulnerable to external aggressions and shiny.

Folic acid

It is involved in cell regeneration and stimulation of hair follicles (greater hair growth, stronger and shinier hair). It is provided by foods such as green leafy vegetables (spinach, watercress, chard, arugula, endive), legumes, avocado, citrus fruits, red fruits, broccoli and peanuts.


It is involved in the formation of keratin (together with vitamins B3, B6, B12 and biotin) and in the formation of fatty acids that protect the hair follicle (provides structure and shine to the hair). In addition, in the case of androgenetic alopecia, zinc favors the inhibition of 5-alpha-reductase, which is involved in the hair loss process. Therefore, even in genetic alopecia , a contribution of certain nutrients, such as biotin and zinc, could help delay the process of hair loss.

Iron, copper and magnesium

They participate in the formation of collagen and essential proteins for hair. With correct levels of magnesium and vitamin B6, from methionine or cysteine, taurine can be synthesized, a non-essential amino acid accumulated in skin and hair that has a protective effect and reduces the impact of oxidative stress.


Arginine is a semi-essential amino acid (it is not essential in adults, but it is in children) with an important role in protein metabolism (and we have already seen that for healthy hair the synthesis of proteins such as keratin and collagen). In addition, it favors an increase in blood flow that reaches the scalp (more oxygenation, more hair growth) and exerts a protective effect against external damage (sun, pollution). In short, it helps us to have more protected, resistant and healthy hair.

L-Cysteine ​​HCL

It is a non-essential sulfur amino acid, formed from methionine, a precursor of taurine and cystine (also interesting for healthy hair, skin and nails). The fact that it is non-essential does not mean that it is not important, in fact, it has very important functions in the body, what happens is that non-essential amino acids can be synthesized internally or obtained through food or supplementation (unlike the essential ones that are not we can synthesize them). Even so, due to various factors, sometimes the body does not have a sufficient amount of L-methionine to be able to generate cysteine, so supplementation can help you fill this deficiency.


Essential amino acid that must be obtained through food and/or supplements. Gives structure and shine to the skin and hair (it is part of elastin and collagen) and strengthens hair follicles, giving rise to shiny, nourished, strong hair (stops hair loss) and not brittle. In addition, it collaborates in the absorption of zinc and iron which, as we have seen, are essential for healthy hair.

Solutions for strong and healthy hair

  1. Balanced , planned and healthy diet
  2. Management of stress and anxiety, since , as we have seen at the beginning, it greatly influences different metabolic and cellular processes due to the excessive release of cortisol and catecholamines. You can start to include more walks in nature or the beach, activities that you enjoy (dancing, swimming, drawing, singing, yoga) and establish meditation and conscious breathing in your day to day.
  3. Hair massages to stimulate blood circulation . You can add to your usual shampoo essential oils such as Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) if you are not hypertensive, Atlas cedar (Cedrus Atlanticus), cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) and mint (Mentha piperita).
  4. Supplementation as Hair Support from Be Levels. Contains the perfect combination of nutrients such as Biotin, Gingko Biloba or L-Arginine to prevent hair loss and recover damaged hair, giving the scalp strength and volume. In addition, it contributes to the overall aesthetics of the hair, improving its composition, promoting cell revitalization and preventing the appearance of dandruff and gray hair.

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(1)Dr. Brandan, Nora Cristina et al. 2010. Adrenal catecholamine hormones. https://med.unne.edu.ar/sitio/multimedia/imagenes/ckfinder/files/files/Carrera-Medicina/BIOQUIMICA/catecolaminas.pdf (2) Dr. Maritza Fuentes, 2021. “What happens to your body when you have excess cortisol? https://www.aarp.org/espanol/salud/vida-saludable/info-2019/exceso-de-cortisol-en-el-cuerpo.html (3) Chronic stress puts your health at risk. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20046037 (4) Cay M et al. Effect of increased cortisol level due to stress in healthy young individuals (...). North Clin Istanbul. 2018 May 29;5(4):295-301. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6371989/ (5) De Souza Ramiro, F. et al. 2014. Investigation of stress, anxiety and depression in women with fibromyalgia: a comparative study https://www.scielo.br/j/rbr/a/4YHGswb5CHDS48NfZd5FrZP/ (6) Martín-Aragón, M.Teresa. Nutrition and health of skin and hair. Pharmaceutical advice. Elsevier. 2009; Vol 23(1):58-63 https://www.elsevier.es/es-revista-farmacia-profesional-3-articulo-nutricion-salud-piel-el-cabello--13132077 (7) García Navarro, X. et al. Elsevier. 2006; Vol 20(2):71-73. https://www.elsevier.es/es-revista-farmacia-profesional-3-articulo-vitaminas-minerales-salud-capilar-13084623
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