A story from the UK of a young mother losing her hair following a switch to Veganism is a salutory warning. We look closer.

Jessica Drue

Jessica Drue

Following the birth of her daughter in 2013, Londoner Jessica Drue was faced with a problem. Her daughter, Kayla-Ria, was born with a severe allergy to milk and eggs. So severe was it that Jessica was forced to stop eating dairy products as they were making their way through her breast milk to Kayla-Ria and making her extremely ill. Jessica told the UK paper, the Daily Mail, “I was terrified of cross-contamination, so I got rid of it entirely and stopped eating it myself. Initially, I still ate fish and meat though.” She spoke about how friends were switching to a vegan diet and decided to make the change herself, “I’m already dairy-free, I may as well stop meat too,” she reasoned.

Early Problems

The switch to a meat-free diet gave Jessica a brief sense of feeling well and energised, but this was not to last. Within months lethargy set in, requiring, she tells us, several alarms to get out of bed in the morning. More worryingly, she noticed her hair had begun to fall out in clumps. Jessica had gone from having thick hair, “healthy with bouncy curls,” to experiencing a general thinning all over. She lost huge amounts of hair, especially at the front leaving her extremely self-conscious – as you might expect for a girl in her twenties.

Many in her situation might panic, try to google their way through their problem by searching “female hair loss causes” or “hair loss solutions for females.” Jessica took a more sensible course of action and got along to her doctor. Eventually receiving a diagnosis of telogen effluvium, a type of hair loss associated with general hair loss from across the head. It can be triggered by a number of causes, poor diet is among them, as is medication, low iron and thyroid conditions.

The Science

Telogen effluvium is a hair loss condition that typically comes with a root cause, no pun intended. Diet is becoming a major contributor to the number of women experiencing hair loss, where vital iron and amino acids are not suitably replaced. Protein, which hair is made of, is also difficult to replace in sufficient quantities from a plant-based diet.

Hair Loss For Women

Jessica’s story is a familiar one to us, she joins the ranks of vegans working hard to improve her own diet, making sure she gets enough beans, lentils and soya, to replace the animal sources of those vital amino acids. Her hair is currently in good shape, though she is acutely aware of the need to sustain her efforts in the long term.

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