Hair loss can be caused by eating too much liver pate, a popular restaurant starter, leading experts have warned.
Eating too much oily fish was also found to have the same effect.
The advice comes from a new academic textbook, which advises on what you should and shouldn’t be eating when it comes to preventing premature hair loss.
Author and dermatologist Dr B.S. Chandrashekar says that a balance diet is crucial when it comes to keeping your locks – and how eating too much of certain things can be just as bad for hair health as eating too little.
Dr Chandrashekar says those with excessive amounts of vitamin A in their diet are particularly at risk.
There are two forms of vitamin A available in the human diet – ‘carotenoids’ found in plants like carrots or spinach, and ‘preformed’ vitamin A which is found in abundance in animal liver products and fish.
And it’s this animal-derived ‘preformed’ vitamin A which could be putting you into the hair loss danger zone, as it poses ‘significant toxicity’ in high doses.
Writing in the Textbook of Trichology, recently published by the Indian Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists and Leprologists (IADVL), he says: “Contrary to the old beliefs that diet had no correlation with baldness, recent studies have shown considerable association with hair loss and eating habits.”
Vitamin A in normal doses is good for hair health – as it supports cell reproduction in hair follicles.
Too much, however, means the follicles reach the end of their growth phase faster, causing them to die and fall out.
Calling for consumers to lower their dosage, Dr Chandrashekar adds: “Vitamin A supports hair follicle growth by stimulating hair growth via signalling mechanisms.
“It’s deficiency lowers cell synthesis, regeneration and turn over.
“But excess consumption from animal sources may cause hair loss, due to its storage in the liver.”
The research also adds: “One of the cause of hair loss may be an excess of nutritional supplements. Hair growth is adversely affected by more than the required intake of fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A.”
Leading UK hair transplant surgeon Dr Bessam Farjo has backed the advice, urging those who take vitamin A supplements need to monitor their intake, particularly if they’re already getting lots of it their everyday diet.
Dr Farjo, founder of the Farjo Hair Institute, adds: “A healthy and balanced diet is essential to many aspects of our bodies, and hair is no different in both men and women.
“One of the good things about Vitamin A is that it helps skin glands make an oily substance called sebum, which in turn moisturises the scalp and helps keep hair healthy.
“But while a deficiency in vitamin A may lead to hair loss, too much could also have a detrimental effect on hair growth.
“The majority of people will not have anything to worry about, but if you are taking supplements daily, and doubling up with high-content foods, then there may be cause for concern.
“Many multivitamins contain vit A, and eating liver or liver pâté more than once a week could put you in the danger zone of vitamin overdose for more than just hair loss.
“Supplements are designed to be additions to diet. Guzzling loads of pills is not good for your health — or your hair.”
Dr Chandrashekar’s textbook also repeats recent warnings that sugary diet full of processed foods may also contribute to baldness.
These foods can lead to inflammation in the body which attacks hair cells, as well as boosting the production of a hormone called Dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
This DHT affects the hair follicles in the scalp, making them smaller, shorter and lighter until the follicles shrink altogether and stop producing hair.
Dr Chandreshekar reveals: “Increased fatty meals and meals containing meat have been shown to raise sex hormones, which impact the health of scalp and hair.
“A simple way to halt the profession of hair loss is decreasing the sugar and refined cereals – carbohydrates from these processed grains are high sources of sugar.
“A high intake of sugar increases the disassociation of insulin and testosterone from binding proteins, leading to increased hormones being available for DHT conversion.
“Sugar in all forms can increase hair loss, but it has been seen that fructose is the main contributing factor. Fructose is a form of sugar that is found in fruits and corn syrup.”
It’s also bad news if you’re a fan of coffee and alcohol.
Dr Chandreshekar adds: “Consumption of caffeine in large quantities has more chances of hair loss with increasing age. One of the reasons proposed for this is the trigger of the stress response in our body by caffeine. Higher stress level is linked to the greater possibility of hair loss.
“Nutritional deficiences on account of alcohol intake with decreased iron, float and zinc absorption lead to hair loss.”
According to NHS guidelines on Recommended Daily Allowances, most people should get all they need by having a varied and balanced diet, although some few people may need to take extra supplements.
For more information about hair loss visit https://www.farjo.com