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Hair and hair-loss on Paleo/Primal with varying levels of carbs

by (1195)
Updated about 2 hours ago
Created December 02, 2012 at 3:07 PM

I have had a weird hair experience on my 5.5 month primal journey, and I am curious if this has happened to anyone else. When I first started, I was trying to do low-carb, aiming for about 50 carbs a day. After about two months, I would start to feel really deeply cold on occasion for the first time in my life (I was always someone who ran hot). I also started noticing much more hair falling out as well as many tiny hairs all over the top of my head. I should also mention that this whole time I have also been lifting weights rather intensely 3x/week after mostly just running, doing yoga and casually lifting pre-primal. I also got a ridiculously high LDL reading at this time and had a lot of insomnia.

This lead me to the connection between low-carb and hypothyroid symptoms and high LDL as discussed by Chris Kresser and Paul Jaminet, so I began to add in "safe starches" to up my carbs to 100-120/day. I also began eating 2 tablespoons of dulse and 2 Brazil nuts each day to help the thyroid, and I began doing bone broth daily and taking magnesium at night. Since then I have never felt the cold feeling again and my sleep is much better. The hair loss seems to have stopped (though short of sitting and counting hairs, this is a more a feeling than a certain fact). I have read several accounts of people experiencing hair loss when going paleo. My question is, is this purely related to low-carb paleo (I know hair guru Danny Roddy is very much against low-carb) and if you did experience it, did it resolve? I am especially wondering about people who have been doing this for a while. I know when you adopt a new diet, there is a period of adjustment. I want to know if long-term paleo/primal is pro-hair. I really want to believe it is because everything about eating this way makes sense intuitively to me, but I would love to hear anyone's experiences.

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1195 · December 03, 2012 at 10:18 PM

Thanks Robin...

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2978 · December 03, 2012 at 1:05 AM

And here are symptoms of hyperthyroid: http://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/hyperthyroidism/hyperthyroidism-symptoms

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2978 · December 03, 2012 at 1:05 AM

Maybe that will work for you! In case, you might want to read this list of symptoms which are either iodine overload or bromide detox, depending on who you ask: http://www.breastcancerchoices.org/bromidedetoxsymptomsandstrategies.html

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1195 · December 02, 2012 at 10:26 PM

Hmmm...I didn't know that age could affect the thyroid's ability to deal with changes in iodine levels. I was hoping that since dulse is a whole foods (and I am half Japanese and they historically have eaten a lot of seaweed) that I could just start eating it. I went from nothing to 2 tablespoons/day and have felt like it really helped. On the other hand, I am not really in tune with what hyperthyroid symptoms look like.

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2978 · December 02, 2012 at 6:50 PM

Directly, but less than the RDA. Have since learned a great deal about iodine & the thyroid. I now rely on iodized salt, and am careful to replace my salt regularly. But I'm also 50...with age, your thyroid can lose its ability to easily adjust to big changes in iodine intake. But all very personal, obviously.

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15400 · December 02, 2012 at 6:29 PM

I think the symptoms are different for everyone. I had no idea I had any gut problems. I was quite regular while eating fiber, fruit and veggies. The only sure way to tell is to take hydrogen methane breath test.

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1195 · December 02, 2012 at 5:55 PM

Thanks for the answer. I certainly get plenty of fat!

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1195 · December 02, 2012 at 5:22 PM

This may be a dumb question, but how do you know if you have gut problems. Pre-primal and after, I have always been regular and haven't experienced bloating to my knowledge. I have always eaten a organic whole foods diet early on as a vegetarian, then WAPF and now primal. I guess my recent foray into daily bone broth is probably helping my gut. I have also been adding gelatin to my breakfast drink after reading a little Ray Peat.

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1195 · December 02, 2012 at 4:59 PM

Interesting about the iodine supplementation causing hyper. Were you taking iodine directly or from food?

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795 · December 02, 2012 at 4:25 PM

Thanks - both of you!!! I absolutely look and feel like a new person. Can't say that's all positive, but it's a new journey with a lot to learn about myself, for sure!

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15400 · December 02, 2012 at 4:10 PM

Go Anthony!!!!!

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1195 · December 02, 2012 at 4:04 PM

That's good to know and encouraging. Congratulations on the major loss! You must feel like a new person!

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1195 · December 02, 2012 at 4:03 PM

I did up my raw egg yolks from one to two a day and this has coincided with things seeming to be better.

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1195 · December 02, 2012 at 4:02 PM

Thank you VB, I never considered the gut thing since I have not had any obvious problems in that regard, but I will look into it.

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5 Answers

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795 · December 02, 2012 at 3:49 PM

Just speaking from personal experience and living this life (which, in my opinion, is just as important as a doctor's research), after losing 215lbs in a year with VLC paleo, my hair loss absolutely slowed down. It's become part of the entire, healthy-looking, picture. That's not to say I don't have thinning areas, but it has seriously slowed down and appears much fuller.

Also, I went from being dramatically hot all the time to being dramatically sensitive to the cold. Doing a re-feed day and/or adding about 25-40g of carbs a day helps but only just a bit. If I go to town on carbs, I am a sweaty mess in bed no matter the room temperature which is enough of an answer for me!

63479974b34930b7bedb12afa19083d3
795 · December 02, 2012 at 4:25 PM

Thanks - both of you!!! I absolutely look and feel like a new person. Can't say that's all positive, but it's a new journey with a lot to learn about myself, for sure!

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15400 · December 02, 2012 at 4:10 PM

Go Anthony!!!!!

Ef32d6cc543a74319464e2100e5a9ffd
1195 · December 02, 2012 at 4:04 PM

That's good to know and encouraging. Congratulations on the major loss! You must feel like a new person!

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15400 · December 02, 2012 at 3:42 PM

I know very little but I am willing to share what I do know:

  1. I had hair loss as well as brittle nails, etc. Reason? Lack of nutrients. What was happening to my nutrients? They were consumed by my lovely gut bacteria overgrowth. I did not know it at the time and thought I had hormone problems, etc. When I added biotin vitamins, my hair stopped falling out. But the root problem was still there.

  2. Low carb works for insulin resistant people. Higher low carb (keep it within 75-100 carb grams per day) works for insulin sensitive people.

  3. Your gut and your thyroids are connected somehow. The last time I checked Chris Kessler's blog, he recommended .... GAPS diet. Interesting, isn't it?

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790
15400 · December 02, 2012 at 6:29 PM

I think the symptoms are different for everyone. I had no idea I had any gut problems. I was quite regular while eating fiber, fruit and veggies. The only sure way to tell is to take hydrogen methane breath test.

Ef32d6cc543a74319464e2100e5a9ffd
1195 · December 02, 2012 at 5:22 PM

This may be a dumb question, but how do you know if you have gut problems. Pre-primal and after, I have always been regular and haven't experienced bloating to my knowledge. I have always eaten a organic whole foods diet early on as a vegetarian, then WAPF and now primal. I guess my recent foray into daily bone broth is probably helping my gut. I have also been adding gelatin to my breakfast drink after reading a little Ray Peat.

Ef32d6cc543a74319464e2100e5a9ffd
1195 · December 02, 2012 at 4:02 PM

Thank you VB, I never considered the gut thing since I have not had any obvious problems in that regard, but I will look into it.

366c23d69eadce094a2b22299c58a424
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2978 · December 02, 2012 at 4:05 PM

I think it's really hard to say generically if "paleo/primal is pro-hair" -- there are a wide range of possible nutrient intakes (and carb intakes) within primal / paleo, first of all, and then second, nobody can say what effect different diets will have on YOUR thyroid -- that might depend on all kinds of factors, including your age and your long-term iodine & carb intake before you started paleo.

Carb intake below 25% does not work for me at all, and very low dose supplemental iodine made me hyperthyroid which caused more hair loss.

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1195 · December 03, 2012 at 10:18 PM

Thanks Robin...

366c23d69eadce094a2b22299c58a424
2978 · December 03, 2012 at 1:05 AM

And here are symptoms of hyperthyroid: http://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/hyperthyroidism/hyperthyroidism-symptoms

366c23d69eadce094a2b22299c58a424
2978 · December 03, 2012 at 1:05 AM

Maybe that will work for you! In case, you might want to read this list of symptoms which are either iodine overload or bromide detox, depending on who you ask: http://www.breastcancerchoices.org/bromidedetoxsymptomsandstrategies.html

Ef32d6cc543a74319464e2100e5a9ffd
1195 · December 02, 2012 at 10:26 PM

Hmmm...I didn't know that age could affect the thyroid's ability to deal with changes in iodine levels. I was hoping that since dulse is a whole foods (and I am half Japanese and they historically have eaten a lot of seaweed) that I could just start eating it. I went from nothing to 2 tablespoons/day and have felt like it really helped. On the other hand, I am not really in tune with what hyperthyroid symptoms look like.

366c23d69eadce094a2b22299c58a424
2978 · December 02, 2012 at 6:50 PM

Directly, but less than the RDA. Have since learned a great deal about iodine & the thyroid. I now rely on iodized salt, and am careful to replace my salt regularly. But I'm also 50...with age, your thyroid can lose its ability to easily adjust to big changes in iodine intake. But all very personal, obviously.

Ef32d6cc543a74319464e2100e5a9ffd
1195 · December 02, 2012 at 4:59 PM

Interesting about the iodine supplementation causing hyper. Were you taking iodine directly or from food?

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4176 · December 02, 2012 at 3:45 PM

Not related to thyroid, but I was noticing bigger and bigger clumps of hair coming out in the shower after about the ten month mark of eating paleo. I got a shower filter and drink a breakfast drink with 1 - 2 raw egg yolks in it daily and my hair has become noticeably thicker. I don't know if it is the biotin or the filter, but I am quite pleased.

Ef32d6cc543a74319464e2100e5a9ffd
1195 · December 02, 2012 at 4:03 PM

I did up my raw egg yolks from one to two a day and this has coincided with things seeming to be better.

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60 · December 02, 2012 at 5:46 PM

I have notice hair loss I the summer when I tend to eat lower fats. I know during times of stress too my hair falls out and I need more fats. I usually reach for the avocados and coconut oil and it helps within a day or two.

Ef32d6cc543a74319464e2100e5a9ffd
1195 · December 02, 2012 at 5:55 PM

Thanks for the answer. I certainly get plenty of fat!

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