4 Foods That Can Cause Hair Loss

Some foods are best to avoid or minimize if you’re trying to naturally re-grow your hair and reverse baldness. In some cases certain food groups could be triggering hair loss, and reducing the amount of them in your diet can have a significant impact on your hairline.

Other times, there’s no one food in particular, but combinations of these foods over long periods of time can have an effect. Here are the best foods for hair growth.

There are some general rules for foods that are conducive to hair loss, and some specific foods that should definitely be avoided. In this post I’m going to talk about both.

BONUS: Try the quiz at the bottom of this page that calculates if your type of hair loss is naturally reversible through diet changes and other natural methods.

The first general rule is to avoid foods that could be triggering delayed allergic reactions. These are similar to the instant allergic reactions, that things like peanuts and shellfish often induce, however they occur over the span of weeks or days, and are consequently more insidious, but no less damaging.

The primary reasons delayed allergic reactions can cause hair loss is because of increased immune response which can cause our own bodies to attack the hair follicle as well as cause inflammation in the scalp which constricts blood flow to the hair follicle. These two things combined often lead to hair loss.

The second general rule is that of alkaline and acidic foods. This is a large subject that is explained in other posts on this site, and fully explained in our course, along with the exact alkaline and acid values for all different kinds of foods, so you know exactly what to eat more of and what to eat less of to reverse hair loss.

The rule is to maximize alkaline foods and minimize acidic foods in your diet. Over time this will significantly slow down the rate of hair fall, and potentially lead to hair regrowth.

Ok, let’s have a look at which foods can cause hair loss and should therefore be avoided as much as possible.

Dairy Products

Dairy can be a big problem. Not only is it highly acid forming in our bodies (remember the second rule) but it can also trigger delayed allergic reactions, so for both reasons it should be avoided. Commercially available dairy is almost always pasteurized.

The pasteurization process actually renders the naturally occurring enzyme in the milk useless. It’s this enzyme that allows us to digest the milk in the first place, and without it our bodies really struggle to digest the dairy making it bio-unavailable and nutritionally useless.

Instead it is digested by harmful bacteria that give of waste products that go into our body.

Dairy also blocks the pores resulting in pasty skin. It also means that epidermis plaque is more likely to build up on the scalp causing hair follicle miniaturization and thinning hair. Either only consume unpasteurized dairy or avoid it at all.

Carbonated Drinks

Carbonated drinks are hugely acid forming. In fact they are the most acid forming food or beverage of them all. Not only this, but the sheer about of sugar in them causes blood sugar levels to spike and then crash.  Dr Mercola has researched the link between excess blood sugar and male pattern baldness and has this to say about it.

 

“There is strong evidence that early male-pattern baldness could be a clinical marker of insulin resistance, a condition in which you lose your sensitivity to insulin, resulting in excess blood sugar.”

This provides us with another general rule that is: eat foods with low glycemic indices, so as not to spike blood sugar levels. Find out about the glycemic index of many foods and more about Dr. Mercolas research in our hair loss course.

This is a very important concept for reversing hair loss and thinning hair. We must understand that male pattern baldness is an unnatural phenomenon, it is a modern ‘ailment.’

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Concurrently processed (modern) foods all have very high glycemic indices and natural (unprocessed, unpasteurized) foods have substantially lower glycemic indices so it would seem viable that there is a link between processed foods and the ‘triggering’ of the male pattern baldness gene.

Although this link may seem tenuous to some there is more research that has come to a similar conclusion. Dr Mercola’s research included. To find out more, with tables of the glycemic indices of foods get hold of the course now. Alcohol can also cause hair loss.

Instead of carbonated drinks, stay hydrated with these instead:

Sugary Cereals

These foods have such high glycemic indices that they inevitably cause blood-sugar spikes something which is conducive to early hair thinning as we have already discussed.

It’s no wonder the ever increasing number of men suffering from hair loss when you look at the typical Western breakfast of pasteurized milk and sugary cereals.

Processed cereals have a very high glycemic load because the natural fiber from the plant has been removed, which would cause it to digest and be absorbed into our bodies more slowly.

With the removal of this natural fiber the food sugars go straight into blood stream causing a huge spike in blood-sugar levels.

This fiber would also be beneficial because it sweeps clean the colon of impacted mucus and left over feces, stopping it being absorbed back into the body, (which would cause toxemia) The answer is to eat natural unprocessed foods that contain high amounts of fiber.

This is why I always recommend a juice fast detox if you’re serious about beating hair loss for the long-term.

Greasy Foods

Greasy foods clog the arteries and can also cause greasy skin on the scalp. This often leads to hair follicle miniaturization, restricted blood flow and clogging of the sweat pores. As the pores of the scalp get clogged, DHT and other harmful hormones can get trapped which can retrigger the hair loss mechanism.

A good shampoo can help by washing away the grease and leaving the scalp ready from new hairs, but changing our diets to avoid greasy foods is best. However healthy fats can be very beneficial for hair growth so don’t take natural oils out of your diet.

There’s no need to wait years for a baldness breakthrough. Remove these foods from your diet and kick start your journey to beating pattern baldness.

87 thoughts on “4 Foods That Can Cause Hair Loss

  1. Where have you been half my life? I’ve been looking for good, honest information such as this without having to go completely broke. Thank you very much. Reading has been a joy and I can’t wait to share this info. with my husband.

    • Okay good. Keep it up in the long term, and add alkalising vegetable juices to your diet as well. 5 alpha reductase is inhibited in alkaline conditions so you’re heading in the right direction

  2. Hi, i am curious abot your book, but i am alsko sceptical so do you have any proof that it works. Thanks for your time 🙂

    • Hello Kovalski,
      We’re preparing some more case studies with before and afters so those should be available on the site soon. In the mean time I have a few before and after photos and case studies for those on my email newsletter.

    • Hello Endek,
      I think yogurt which is live, (a good probiotic) and doesn’t have added sugar is fine. I often add it to my morning smoothie 🙂

  3. Thank you for the helpful information and tips. I’ve been drinking natural ginger for over a year and it helped me in my hair problem, I’ve notice there are less hair fall and my hair became thicker and stronger.

        • Ginger tea, made from raw ginger. A new favourite of mine is cold steeped rosella tea. It’s just like drinking water, but it’s full of antioxidants and tastes amazing. Just add a few petals of rosella to water and leave it in the fridge overnight.

  4. Dairy products? Oh! That’s one big surprise considering how we’ve lived lives thinking that milk is so good for our bodies.

    • Yes it was surprising for me too, but if you want beautiful hair (and skin) get rid of all pasteurised dairy products asap.

        • Not drinking pasteurised dairy is only one small part of making your hair grow back. There are lots of other factors involved. It is a good place to start though. I suggest you try a plant based ‘milk’ such as almond milk instead.

          • What about farmer’s cheese made from pasteurized milk? I eat this all the time. I am a vegetarian and i eat only eggs. What other raw source of protein i can use besides eggs and cheese?

          • It does depend on the quality of the dairy to some extent. I wouldn’t say it’s the best source of protein, since it is quite acidifying and hard to digest since it has been pasteurised. have you tried plant based protein powders such as hemp protein and pea protein isolate. These mix in great in a smoothie.

          • will, thanks for the reply. You suggested protein powders but i was looking for whole food sources of protein for vegetarians. I mean all protein are acidfying, i would say meat are more acidfying than dairy but i agree that dairy can be hard to digest depending on an individual.

          • Plant based proteins like hemp and pea are fine – Also beans, legumes, nuts and seeds. Start vegetable juicing regularly to balance out the excess acidity.

  5. Hey Will,
    I’ m 23 Yrs male,have been using minoxidil for the past two years.Even though I have results,my problem is that my scalp it itchy.While asleep I scratch head due to itchiness which makes all the hair grown back to shed.Do using salicylic acid along with minoxidil help me in any way?

    • The problem is your itchy scalp – which is most likely due to your diet and/or the shampoo you use. You will want to optimise your diet to reduce inflammatory foods that could cause allergic reactions. Add anti-inflammatory foods to your diet. Also, test yourself for allergies to different food groups such as gluten, nightshades, dairy, eggs etc. Then, make your own shampoos from all-natural ingredients to stop the irrigation and itching. That would be the first few things I recommend.

  6. When you say ‘greasy foods’, do you include fried/deep fried foods, processed foods high in transfats or natural foods high in natural fats i.e. pork belly?

    • Yes, all of those processed foods – Pork belly is okay, but the meat is acidic and pigs tend to eat anything, so the meat isn’t ‘clean.’ It’s not an ideal source of protein. It also depends on your metabolic type and whether your body can metabolise animal proteins well. There is a 39 part questionnaire inside the Hair Equilibrium Program where you can find out more about your metabolic type. Instead of pork belly, try pea or hemp protein as your protein source of choice. It’s natural and plant based, and also alkalises the body.

    • Definitely not going to help – Ideally make your own almond milk instead, or at least use shop bought alone milk. This will be much, much better than processed milk

  7. I’ve been a big be liver in a proper diet and exercise. in the last 3 years I’ve cut out gluten, up’d my fruit and vegetable intake, everything I eat is organic, i stopped eating loads of peanut butter, I’ve worked out my whole life, I stopped drinking alcohol, I never smoked tobacco, I drink very good filtered water by the gallon, I take high end, very good quality supplements etc etc, and still my hair is falling out. it’s slowed a good amount from when it first started, but still falling out at an alarming rate. I’ve tried finastrade and minoxidil and every other potion when it first started (I’ve been off those poison medications for about 3 years now), but no matter what I do, I can’t stop this relentless hairfall. my hairline keeps getting higher, my crown gets thinner and it’s like an unstoppable force. I feel like it SO much easier to cure cancer than it is to stop my particular MPB. somethings gotta give! what else can I possibly do? I even go on 1-5 day water fasts every couple months along with enemas to boot! is there somthing I’m missing? does anyone REALLY know how the human body works??!?

    • Diet isn’t everything – there are other things you need to do – For example, the scalp exercises in the Hair Equilibrium Program that can make a BIG difference.

    • Hey I’m 19 years old, I’m suffering from a great hair fall a lot of dandruff, if I apply oil onto my hairs my baldness is clearly visible, I’m afraid of getting bald in such small age ??. Everyday almost 80-90 hairs falls. Plzzz help me what should I do?? Even though I’ve tried all home remedies and vitamins.
      Plz help me !!!

    • Nick….. according to all the research I’ve done, most everyone is deficient in zinc unless you’re eating tons of meat, oysters and/or cheese. Most veggies and fruits have a high copper to zinc ratio which makes us deficient in zinc. When your body is short on zinc, you can experience hair loss. I suggest you search on Youtube for “Chris Masterjohn Zinc”. He has an excellent video on the subject. Anyway, take 50 mg of zinc picolinate per day but not anywhere near the time you’re consuming phytate. And if 50 mg doesn’t do it, take 100 mg for a few weeks to bring your zinc level up. Don’t change anything else you’re doing so that you can see if the zinc supplements are helping. Good luck 🙂

    • I wouldn’t eat too much cheese since it is quite acidic once metabolised, and you want to alkalise your body as much as possible, but a little bit isn’t bad, especially soft cheese. Carbonated water is fine. High quality water is very important, don’t drink tap water.

      • i agree that you want to alkalize your body as much as possible. But body still needs protein and hair especially which is made completely out of protein, right? So are eggs ok? I eat about 3 eggs everyday and also i am eating a lot of farmer’s cheese daily. What else i can eat for protein?

        • The eggs are generally fine if they come from well-looked after hens. There is a remarkable difference in the nutritional profile of an egg depending on if the chicken is being fed healthy food. You will need to make sure you add alkalising foods to your diet as well to balance out the acidity.

    • An atkins diet may be better than the standard american diet, because it is low carb, however you can still eat the atkins diet and be incredibly unhealthy. It also depends on your metabolic type as to how much carbs are good for you. In Hair Equilibrium I have a questionnaire that shows you what your metabolic type is and you can adjust your diet accordingly to optimise for hair growth.

  8. What about reverse osmosis water? I’m still struggling with hair breakage and hair loss 2.5 years after giving birth to my second daughter. I’m at my wits end! 🙁

    • Are you talking about drinking reverse osmosis water rather than tap water? I would avoid tap water since it contains lots of chemicals that have been linked to hair loss. I would go for high quality bottled spring water.

  9. Hello Will. I am 30, and I have never known a day that I go to bed with a flat tummy. I went to doctor, got gastroscope and all he said was I have gastritis. But I knew that it was beyond. I have lost my hair, it is thin now. I had acne problem and I have had Roacutane treatment. It didn’t go away! And I have always had an acing scalp. Just a month ago I became vegan. And my body has changed! My skin is brighter and my belly is flat! Do you think my hair will go better too? Do you think it was dairy allergy?

    • I expect your hair will become more healthy with your new diet. However sometimes the effect of new healthy foods takes longer to appear with your hair because the body can shed unhealthy has first which can temporarily mean thinner hair while the new healthy hair grows through. Stick with it and you will notice a small difference, however remember that a diet change is only one small part of having thick, healthy hair.

  10. I add raw organic apple cider vinegar to drinks, I know this is acidic but it contains many vitamins. Should I discontinue drinking this?

    • I think ACV is fine. I sometimes take it too before a meal. Although its acidic, once digested and metabolised it may not be acidic for the body anymore. Lemon juice for example is acidic but once metabolised becomes highly alkalising.

  11. 3 years back I moved to USA and ever since then I have started losing hair. After 1.5 year, hair fall got little less but then again we moved to a different state within USA and now again hair fall is too much.

    I try consuming a lot of protein and other contents by eating beans,broccoli, yogurt, almonds , avocado, walnuts, pecans, fruits, edamame, milk and oats.

    Also I almost drink 2-3 liters of water . Not sure what should I do more to solve this issue, can you please guide me?

  12. I have begun your hair equilibrium process and am truly pumped about the holistic benefits, not just for hair loss. I received a hair laser comb this holiday season and wanted to ask if there is any harm in using laser therapy along with your equilibrium process. Thanks for considering and for your work on this natural process for healthy mind and boy.

  13. hey will I hav been suffering from male pattern baldness from 2 years .I stopped eating dairy and meat and all kinds of junk food and have been eating green vegetables and a mostly indian diet .But my hair is still falling .I use onion,ginger juice on scalp regularly and do scalp massages.help me out plzzz..?

    • Your body may still be in an acidic state, in which case you need to try a detox, and alkalising with vegetable juices. Diet isn’t the only cause and cure for hair loss. There are other reasons.

  14. Like about 10-15 hairs do fall a day and going through a itchy scalp with little dandruff? So please let me know whether it is normal or not and how to control it?

  15. Thanks for the article Will… extremely helpful.

    I drink one commercial kombucha per day (GT`S brand) to help with my gut bacteria… They`re very low in sugar but they are carbonated, is the carbonation alone a cause for concern?

    • Hi Ricky, Kombucha is a great choice because helping with your gut bacteria can protect against hair loss. Read more here So, no, the carbonation is fine in this instance.

    • With dairy, it’s more about whether it’s been pasterurized or if it’s raw than if it’s organic or not. Pasteurized milk cannot be easily digested and assimilated by the body since the enzyme that helps the digestive process is destroyed by pasteurization. Raw milk is hard to find though. A better option would be to use coconut or almond milk.

  16. My story is odd and too long to go into but my scalp has excess sebum which I realize is caused from DHT. BUT I have been consuming raw milk for years and believe it’s loaded w/live enzymes. I’ve given up all grains and other foods so it’s my one enjoyment. Is raw milk also on your list to go? Be gentle. 🙂

    • Raw milk is fine actually. It’s just very hard to find for most people. The pasteurisation process destroys the enzyme in the milk that helps our body digest it. So raw dairy is much easier to digest and assimilate.

    • Hi Judy, I am sorry you’re struggling with hair loss but it is good that you’ve started to make changes to help. Also good that you’ve figured out how DHT is playing a role. I’d love to chat more about it if you might be interested in exchanging ideas.

  17. Hi, my hair was thick & strong but now it’s heat damaged & my hair falls from the root having the white bulb. I read that shedding is normal but it’s too much these days plus my hair is not thick anymore, it’s weak & thin. I want to stop blow drying my hair but I really can’t.

    • my hair very weak and every day 100+hair fall….I have allergy so I am thinking about my hair pls tell me any way…. to solve this problem

  18. Food allergies are very well misunderstood by many, most people are allergic to dairy foods, and gluten yes they cause inflammation but also bloating burning sensation in the throat (whey protein post workout shake comes to mind) gas and stomach upset. Also your allergies to a certain food might be worst during hay fever season allergies. This is where i start drinking apple cider vinegar and lemon in hot water.

    I am glad that red meat was not added to this list, i quit red meat when i was getting treated for lower back pain, this so called specialist told me to cut out red meat and drink plenty of green tea as much as i wanted, needless to say i ended up anemic, i still drink matcha green tea but only twice per day and i eat very lean red meat, my anemia is gone, but i know the symptoms all to well.

    • Hi Elisa, it’s a complicated question to answer, and basically it depends for each individual. This comes down to ‘metabolic type’ as to whether your body does well and benefits from animal proteins. You can find out more about metabolic type in ‘The Metabolic Typing Diet’ by William Wolcott or in the Hair Equilibrium Program. I do highly recommend bone broth made from chicken, lamb or beef though.

      • Hi Will thank you for your reply. But I have a question: Wouldn’t it better to eat chicken, lamb or beef than to make bone broth?

        Best regards,

        • Hi Elisa, bone broth contains lots of collagen which is what our body needs to keep the scalp and hair healthy. We also have the issue of eating too much ‘muscle meats’ instead of the whole of the animal. This can lead to imbalance and inflammation. The short answer is I highly recommend bone broth.

  19. Hi Will!

    Interesting stuff. I didn’t know that diary can cause hair loss! However, I have some doubts: How I get calcium without dairy? I mean, should I take calcium magnesium vitamin D?

    Thank so much.

    Regards,

    • Hi Daniel, I don’t think that dairy is actually a very source of calcium (because dairy is often hard for us to digest, due to pasteurization.) As far as I know the dairy = calcium idea is mostly from the dairy industry’s marketing. There is not a clear link between dairy and pattern baldness, but I’m quite sure that it doesn’t help. Although unpasteurised, raw and grass fed dairy would be a highly recommended addition to our diet (it’s just hard to find!) We must be careful that our calcium levels don’t get too high because this can lead to calcification in the scalp. Just make sure you have enough magnesium and vitamin K2 as well.

      • Actually almond milk is heavily fortified with calcium that is poorly absorbed by the body and will lead to calcification. Check the ingredients and you’ll see that the calcium is not from the almonds, it’s added after the fact in the form of calcium carbonate. So they can falsely advertise that it has more calcium than dairy milk.

  20. I used a permanent dye and my hair one quarter spot fell 2months ago and the rest is sheeding but the spot has grown about 1in+, but it’s still sheeding all over but more so on the side that had the spot that fell, but it was growing great before then and it is growing slow now, how can I get my healthy hair back

    • Dyes can be really harsh on the hair. I recommend a ‘no-chemical’ approach from now on. So, don’t put anything on your hair that your wouldn’t eat yourself. This is one rule we follow with our products – our shampoo is completely natural and made from ‘edible’ ingredients.
      Will

      • Hi Will.

        Thanks very much for the website and the years of research, I really appreciate what you have been doing.

        I started following your ‘Hair Equilibrium’ program last week. I have male pattern baldness, Alopecia Areata (AA) and also grey hair (as you know some hairs that grow back in AA spots can be grey). Do you think the program helps with AA and in reversing of grey hair as well? And do you recommend any specific natural dye/method for disguising the grey hair for the time being while my current antioxidant-rich food helps in reversing grey hair gradually?

        Krishna

        • Hi Krishna,

          As inflammation is the ultimate cause of hair loss for both AGA and AA patients, the Program very well could be used to treat AA.

          As for the grey hairs, your hairs may begin to grow in as their original color as your hair continues to grow. As for dyes, there’s really none that we know of that don’t have possible effects associated with their use.

          It’s best to avoid dyes if at all possible, especially as your hair is just growing.

          – Steph

    • Most fruits are a good source of food for hair, but is also depends on your metabolic type. Some people thrive on fruits and others don’t need them at all. It actually varies for each individual.

  21. Hey will….i am 20 years old and i think im suffered from M pattern baldness since 3 years…please give some natural tips to stop hairfall amd regrow my hairs
    Thnks

  22. Hi,

    you are saying in first point avoid the dairy product which triggers the DHT, and in the good foods section your mentioning yogurt and cheese are the best Probiotic.so i am little confessed,do we need to avoid these because of dairy product or to consume because of Probiotic foods.

    Thank you

    • Hi Chandra,

      We recommend avoiding the majority of dairy products, though yogurt and some cheeses can provide more positive than negative effects. Of course, this doesn’t apply to individuals with sensitivity to dairy, as consumption of any dairy (even yogurts and cheeses) can cause inflammation.

      – Steph

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