Just as having one drink may not significantly put you at risk for drunk driving, having the occasional beer, wine, or cocktail will not increase the chances that you will lose your hair. But if you drink heavily and regularly, your alcohol consumption can lead to health issues, like nutritional deficiencies and hormonal problems, that directly impact the strength and resiliency of your hair in ways that can lead to hair loss.
Interference With Absorption of Nutrients
Like the rest of your body, your hair follicles need a steady supply of essential nutrients for strength and growth. If hair does not receive or cannot absorb sufficient vitamins and minerals, it will weaken, die, and fall out.
Excessive alcohol consumption can distract people from eating enough nutrients in their diet. Even if someone who drinks too much eats well, all of that booze interferes with the body’s ability to process and use that fuel to maintain its optimal functioning.
Specifically, heavy drinking can deny hair a sufficient supply of iron, zinc, copper, and protein, all of which are necessary for hair health.
An inadequate amount of iron is one of the more common causes of dietary-related hair loss. Low iron levels limit proper blood flow – something hair follicles need to receive and absorb growth-stimulating nutrients. Excessive drinking can lead to a decrease in the amount of iron-rich foods a person consumes.
Alcohol may also diminish zinc absorption, further increasing the possibility of hair loss. A 2013 study involving people suffering from alopecia areata, telogen effluvium, female pattern hair loss, and male pattern hair loss revealed that zinc deficiency might contribute to hair loss.
As you may remember from your high school biology class, protein and their amino acids are the “building blocks” of the body. That applies to hair, as well. A diet that includes a sufficient amount of protein from various sources can be the key to resilient and growing hair. Drinking alcohol may interfere with the absorption of protein or lead to lower protein consumption.
Drinking Can Lead To Thyroid Problems
When the thyroid produces too much or too little of the hormones that play a critical role in hair growth and retention, hair loss is often the result. Unfortunately, excessive alcohol consumption can contribute to just such disruption.
Both hypothyroidism (too few hormones) and hyperthyroidism (too many) can cause hair loss through its impact on the development of a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). A synthesized version of the hormone testosterone, DHT plays a role in the development of sexual organs and secondary sexual characteristics, including physical appearance. Unlike testosterone, however, too much DHT disrupts the natural growth cycle of hair and can cause hair follicle shrinkage or elimination, resulting in shedding or thinning hair.
Schedule an Appointment for a Hair Loss Evaluation
Of course, hair loss isn’t the only health problem associated with excessive drinking, and excessive drinking isn’t the only factor that can contribute to hair loss. No matter what the nature or cause of your hair loss issues, we can help. At the Miami Hair Institute, our skilled hair restoration physicians diagnose and treat hair loss cases through the most advanced hair transplant surgery techniques and alternative non-invasive treatments.
To receive a personalized evaluation and treatment plan, contact us online or call our office directly at 305-925-0222.