Is Your Gut to Blame for Your Hair Loss?
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Is Your Gut to Blame for Your Hair Loss?

Battling hair loss of any kind will have you searching for remedies and quick fixes for the condition. There is that famous expression: “you are what you eat”; used to describe how health is measured or made obvious by food consumed. It does come to mind when you begin to ask if your gut is to blame for your hair loss.

The gut is the gastrointestinal tract which is involved in digestion, absorption of food and elimination of wastes. The mouth, oesophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, and anus are all included. It houses several microorganisms responsible for food digestion and absorption. Gut health involves the well-being of the gastrointestinal system. The ability of the gut microbiome to function optimally is enhanced by the food consumed and made obvious by a person’s appearance and overall health.

Is Your Gut to Blame for Your Hair Loss?
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These days when it is so easy to pick up fast food and fizzy drinks, people are hardly concerned about gut health. Absorption of food by the gut microbiome makes nutrients available to the body. Although fast food and fizzy drinks can elicit satiation enough to keep the body on the move, they do not offer much in terms of nutrients.  

Signs of Poor Gut Health 

Like most parts of the body, the gut gives warnings about its declining health in a bid to get our attention. Most times, we fail to take heed. We do not fix our poor nutrition. Ultimately, it affects our gut health. Here are some signs of poor gut health.  

  • Fatigue: Getting tired easily might be a sign that the body is not breaking down enough nutrients to keep the blood sugar at an optimal level.
  • Upset stomach: It usually manifests as bloating, diarrhoea, indigestion, constipation, gas, etc.
  • Autoimmune problem: Studies (1) have linked the presence of some autoimmune conditions to poor gut health. In the digestion and absorption of food, the gut cleans the food with stomach acids and enzymes, thus aiding immune functions.
  • Unintentional weight changes: An imbalanced gut health can affect weight loss or gains even when you are not on a diet.
  • Unexplained sugar cravings: Research (2) shows that excessive sugar consumption can lead to inflammation in the body by intrusively changing the balance of gut microbiota.
  • Skin irritation and rashes
  • Sleep disturbances: High stress levels lead to the release of stress hormones which can compromise gut health and affect rest.
  • Hair loss: The nutrients needed to produce luscious hair are affected when the gut health is compromised. The results are lacklustre hair, alopecia/hair loss, dry scalp, etc.
  • Food intolerances: The inability of the body to properly digest certain foods can be linked to poor gut health. It can be due to a problem of the gut bacteria responsible for such breakdown. It can manifest as bloating, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, gas, etc. when the trigger foods are eaten.

Healthy Foods to Improve Gut Health and Prevent Hair Loss

By eating healthy foods and improving your diet, you improve and maintain the balance of the gut microbiota which in turn, improves gut health. While some might view such a change in diet as drastic and not in conformity with their usual fast food and fizzy drink lifestyle, it is not so. A healthy diet holds more benefits and ease even in its preparation besides. Some healthy foods to improve gut health and prevent hair loss are listed below.  

Is Your Gut to Blame for Your Hair Loss?
Picture courtesy: Freepik
  1. Prebiotics and probiotics
  2. High-fibre foods like vegetables, nuts, fruits, whole grains, etc.
  3. Garlic
  4. Collagen-boosting foods like salmon skin, nuts, citrus foods, meat, broccoli, eggs, etc.
  5. Stay hydrated

Lifestyle changes to improve gut health and reduce hair loss

In addition to dietary intake, there are lifestyle changes that will aid gut health and prevent hair loss.

  1. Reduce intake of ultra-processed and sugary foods.
  2. Reduce stress levels
  3. Get more sleep
  4. Do not abuse antibiotics.
  5. Take probiotics
  6. Reduce alcohol intake

Is Your Gut to Blame for Your Hair Loss?

Is Your Gut to Blame for Your Hair Loss?
Picture courtesy: Freepik

If your diet and lifestyle have caused your gut microbiota to be compromised, we can conclude that your gut is to blame for your hair loss. Although gut microbiota is unique to each individual, a healthy gut can be maintained with an appropriate diet and lifestyle. Something as simple as drinking water and staying hydrated is an underrated game changer in maintaining gut health and preventing hair loss.

Therefore, the next time you are tempted to say your sugar cravings desire for fizzy drinks are a result of your sweet tooth, you might want to consider your gut health. It really could be one of the alarm bells your gut is ringing to warn you about something else.

Let’s look at some digestive problems and their links to hair loss.

IBS and Hair Loss 

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects the gastrointestinal tract and is characterized by diarrhoea, gas, bloating, abdominal pain, etc. It compromises the gut health and affects the gut’s ability to properly digest food to utilize nutrients. Therefore, if the gut is unable to properly digest food, the nutrients needed by the hair for proper growth will be unavailable. Hence, there will be hair loss in some cases of IBS, though it is not seen in all cases. There are drugs to help manage and reduce the symptoms of IBS. Once the symptoms can be managed enough to balance gut health, the nutrients necessary for hair growth can be accessed, thus preventing further hair loss.

Gastritis and Hair Loss 

Disturbances in the digestive system can compromise gut health which will in turn lead to hair loss if not corrected. Gastritis is the inflammation of the digestive system. It can be acute or chronic and manifests as stomach upset with the symptoms associated with it. Ultimately, there will be insufficient nutrients because the normal digestive activities are affected. An insufficient nutrient supply will result in the thinning of hair and eventually hair loss. Once the gastritis is treated, the gut health and hair growth can be restored.


  1. Baskar Balakrishnan & Veena Taneja (2018) Microbial modulation of the gut microbiome for treating autoimmune diseases, Expert Review of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 12:10, 985-996, DOI: 10.1080/17474124.2018.1517044 
  2. Satokari R. High Intake of Sugar and the Balance between Pro- and Anti-Inflammatory Gut Bacteria. Nutrients. 2020 May 8;12(5):1348. doi: 10.3390/nu12051348. PMID: 32397233; PMCID: PMC7284805.

The information provided in this blog is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. It is not intended to replace professional medical consultation, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making any decisions regarding your health. Read more

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