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Can a B12 Deficiency Cause Hair Loss?

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B12 is a commonly discussed B vitamin, that is well known as a way to help improve energy levels (in those that are deficient). But, having B12 levels that are too low can take a toll on your body way worse than just a bit of fatigue. As it turns out, there may even be a negative impact on your hair from sub-optimal B12 levels as well.

Below, we will cover if a B12 deficiency can cause hair loss, what B12 has to do with your hair, the symptoms you may experience if your B12 levels are too low, how to identify a deficiency, and ways to go about improving your B12 levels safely.

Can a B12 deficiency cause hair loss?

While it has not currently been confirmed with studies that low B12 levels can lead to hair loss directly, we do know that pernicious anemia which can develop from a B12 deficiency can increase rates of hair loss, lead to slowed growth, or cause hair color changes.

However, hair color changes from low B12 levels are commonly noted, with one study stating that low B12 levels may contribute to premature hair greying or whitening. Another study even reports that in two Latin American patients with pernicious anemia, their hair took on a reddish color while the disease persisted, but returned to their normal dark brown color after treatment of their B12 levels.

What is the B12 and hair connection?

B12 is needed by the body for appropriate DNA replication and red blood cell production. When there is not enough B12 around to meet their body’s needs, healthy cell division may slow and there may be fewer blood cells around to carry nutrients and oxygen around in optimal amounts for healthy hair growth from the scalp. 

Also, considering that the hair follicle cells are some of the fastest dividing cells in your body in order to uphold a steady stream of new hair growth, impeding healthy DNA replication could put a damper on this process.

What are the symptoms of a B12 deficiency?

Symptoms of a B12 deficiency may come on slowly, and be difficult to detect until they become severe. A B12 deficiency is actually extremely common, with about 6% of all adults under 60 and up to 20% of adults over 60 likely dealing with the problem -- whether they know it or not.

Symptoms of a B12 deficiency may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Lethargy
  • Headaches
  • Feeling faint
  • Breathlessness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Very pale skin
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss

How can you determine if your B12 levels are too low?

The best way to check your B12 levels is to talk to your doctor. They will be able to order a B12 blood test to see if your levels are in range.

B12 levels are not always tested when blood tests are done with your doctor, so if you suspect a deficiency, it may be worth bringing it up to them.

Ways to improve your B12 levels

Your body does not make its own B12, so you need to get your B12 through food or supplements.

If you want to get your B12 through food, you can find it in foods like meat, dairy, eggs, fortified cereals, fortified plant milks, and nutritional yeast

For people who are vegetarian or vegan, they may not be consuming their B12 through animal products, so they will need to monitor their B12 levels to help prevent a deficiency. They may be able to get their B12 in adequate amounts from regularly including fortified cereals and plant milks, from nutritional yeast, or from a B12 supplement.

Supplementation is also a way to ensure that you are getting enough B12, or to help correct a deficiency. B12 supplements may include tablets, sublingual lozenges, liquids, or even injections. If you are found to have a deficiency, your doctor will likely recommend one of these supplementation routes in a strength and dosing regimen appropriate for you.

Strut Health prescription hair loss medications online

While it is possible that anemia from a lack of B12 may have negative consequences on your hair, there are also other more likely causes behind hair loss that you may want to also rule out. It is also possible to be dealing with a B12 deficiency as well as hair loss from another cause at the same time.

The most common form of hair loss in both men and women is androgenetic alopecia, with is also known as male and female pattern hair loss. 

Androgenetic alopecia is driven by your genetics, but there are medications that may be able to help slow the progression of hair loss and thinning from patterned hair loss.

At Strut, we make it easier to get professional help for androgenetic alopecia hair loss. We offer a range of hair loss medications for both men and women utilizing prescription ingredients that can be formulated specifically to fit your needs.

If you are interested in seeing if a prescription hair loss treatment is a good fit for your hair loss concerns, simply select a medication and complete a free online questionnaire and image-based online consultation in under 15 minutes. Our U.S. licensed doctors will then review your information, determine if treatment is appropriate, and develop a treatment regimen for you. Your medication will then be put together at a U.S. compounding pharmacy and shipped to your front door.

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