View Full Version : Anyone else get Alopecia once raw?
05-10-2006, 09:57 PM
Hi -- I started eating raw last November and was doing really well for the first few months, then my dh noticed a bald spot on the top of my head (near the back). It started out about the size of a dime and is about the size of 2 quarters now. It's been about 2 months and my dh thinks it's starting to grow back a bit.
But it's gotten me off track with raw eating because I started doubting that it's the best way to eat. From what I've read of Alopecia, it can be brought on my a Vitamin B12 deficiency and I've also since read that a Vegan diet can lead to B12 deficiency if not supplementing or getting plenty of greens.
I've never loved my greens, but eat them when I really push myself. So I know this is key. I'm also supplementing with a B complex and B12 vitamin now. (And I've tried Rosemary oil and the vodka/cayenne pepper mix as a topical remedy).
So I guess I'm just saying that the Alopecia bursted my bubble a bit in how much confidence I had in what raw foods did for me. I really want to go 100% again and am just wondering if anyone else had this hurdle in their raw journey and how they got past it.
05-11-2006, 12:19 AM
From what I have read, hair loss is usually associated with zinc deficiency, not B-12. (Though I think taking the B-12 is a good idea!) Other main causes (according to David Wolfe) are poor oxygenation, acidification of the body, dietary deficiency of zinc and/or copper and a lack of sunlight.
So I think raw is the right track, but it can be a challenge to get the nutrients you need. Pumpkin seeds & poppy seeds are great for zinc. Green juice and deep breathing are essential to oxygenate the body. Have you tested your pH?
I haven't personally experienced it though.. good luck, let us know how it goes!!
05-11-2006, 12:25 AM
I believe that all the symptoms that show up when we go raw, is because we are finally releasing all the toxins that we had stored in our bodies. Which is a good thing.
sometimes we must go through the challenge before we can heal.
Helen Of Tennessee
05-11-2006, 06:05 AM
I was reading in Dr. Gina Shaws article on B-12 deficienies that it takes many years of eating vegan for a B-12 deficiency to show up:
"Reabsorption is the reason it can take over 20 years for a deficiency disease to develop. In comparison, if B12 deficiency is due to a failure in absorption, it can take only three years for a deficiency disease to occur."
Dr. Virginia Vetrano wrote:
"We can store enough B-12 in the liver to last approximately two years or more"
I'm guessing that eating vegan since November, 6 months, wouldn't cause a B-12 deficiency symptom this soon. I would have to agree with the other posts above that it's probably a detox symptom. Many people do lose hair with they first go raw, but it does grow back eventually; although I think most people lose it all over and not just in one spot, more like thinning, but we each are different and we'll each have our own detox symptoms. (just thinking out loud - just my humble opinion)
05-11-2006, 08:54 AM
Thanks for all the info. I haven't had my PH tested, but I've read that you're likely to be too acidic if you eat mainly fruit? (And I mainly do eat fruit). Maybe that contributed too.
The B12 info came from Alopecia being an autoimmune disease (where your body attacks the roots of the hair shaft), which is most commonly brought on by stress (a young I know had it last year when her sister was diagnosed with brain cancer and her grandpa was dying). But in further study, I found that stress depletes the B vitamins which leads to the autoimmune disease. So that all went together. I wasn't experiencing any unusual stress at the time, but I did much earlier last year and maybe that on top of detox, not enough greens -- who knows?
I am learning from this though -- the body sure does tell a tale, doesn't it?
05-11-2006, 09:02 AM
my mother has this problem, she is pretty much vegan, but she does not eat much sprouts and rarely enough greens and often depliets her nutrition intake with alcohol. (which she quit 9 days ago)
05-11-2006, 10:59 AM
That's great that she's quit the alcohol. I wish her the best with that.
I'll have to look into what foods contain zinc too -- I'm probably not eating enough of those too.
I've had hair loss since going raw and it's pretty obvious in my case that the problem is related to my change in diet. I lost a lot of weight quickly from going raw (25 lbs in January alone), and rapid weight loss is a factor in hair loss, however, I've lost a lot of weight in a short in the past and never had hair loss problems. Also, I've been told by other raw foodists that it is not uncommon for women to experience this type of hair loss after going raw, but that they usually experience regrowth after some time, implying they did nothing special- the problem just went away.
However, from my investigations, low protein is considered one of the biggest factors in hair loss. I tracked my food intake and found I was eating less than 20 grams of protein a day sometimes- a huge difference from my pre-raw days. I've started drinking green smoothies (romaine lettuce is a complete protein) and adding other protein sources to my diet, like nuts and seeds. I also eat raw milk cheese, hemp bread and hummus from time to time. I tried brewer's yeast but hated it! When I can afford it, I'll be getting my blood tested to see if problems show up.
This experience has been slightly depressing, but it'll probably take for me to become almost completely bald for me to want to give up raw. In the meantime, I wear hats and have a wig handy as well!
05-11-2006, 08:12 PM
Here's a great place to look for B12 information: http://www.veganhealth.org/b12/
They do talk about raw foodists there, so take note.
However, I wish I could tell you what to do to help, but all I can do is make the same suggestions others have. I do think lots of raw vegans get protein-deficient, especially those who are afraid of nuts and seeds (one of my current fave links: http://www.rawfoodinfo.com/hotline/Jan06_hotline.html).
There are a number of companies that make cold-milled (i.e. raw) hemp protein, just ask Google. And if you're willing to supplement with non-raw supplements, nutritional yeast is very high in protein and usually fortified with b vitamins. It's the same species of yeast as brewer's yeast, but nutritional yeast is intended for human consumption and has a cheesy flavor as opposed to bitter and grainy. It's a great flavoring agent for nut cheeses.
And if you don't like to eat greens (and you should eat plenty), search around this site for recipes for green smoothies, which are generally mostly fruit & some greens. I think a frozen banana makes almost any drink better. I also like blending greens with water, lemon juice & sweetener for a super-refreshing green lemonade. Fresh mint (greens!) added is also great.
05-11-2006, 08:58 PM
Thanks Ambiguous -- You're complimenting my thoughts exactly. I've been thinking today that instead of focusing on the 100% goal (which I've had a hard time keeping since this hair loss), I should focus on the green smoothies. I think it's my key to getting greens -- at least to start with. I've juiced with Kale and chard, which I like, but I feel like I'm missing nutrients by juicing instead of smoothie-ing. :) -- so I'll go make use of my greens right now. My poor fridge is stuffed with vegetables all the time and I rarely make good use of them. A bad habit that I'm determined to break!
05-11-2006, 08:59 PM
DrPr -- I agree with you about it being slightly depressing. I don't have your determinations to stick it out with raw to that point though -- I'm sure it won't get to that point with you sticking it out though - - keep going strong!
05-12-2006, 11:43 PM
It is also important to get enough calories for hair growth. Sometimes on a raw diet, people don't get enough calories and that could cause hair loss.
05-12-2006, 11:51 PM
I'm pretty sure I was getting enough calories and protein and fat at the time. I ate plenty of nuts/seeds and lost weight in the first month, but maintained in the few months following. This is all good to know though because I hope to reverse this and not have more of it occur. The only person I know with it had several patches fall out -- thankfully mine is still just the one.
05-13-2006, 08:47 AM
A friend of mine (a hairdresser) said that it's not uncommon for people to lose hair six months after a major change in their life - death of a spouse, that sort of thing. Maybe the switch to a raw diet is a major change and the body is reacting to it?
05-13-2006, 09:52 AM
my friend too had alopecia....she got it after a stressful time in her life....
her endoctrinologist (sp??) attribitued it to her thyroid....she was diagnosed with hypothyroidism at that time...
she is now now on synthroid (sp)....her hair is back....yet the whole idea of meds is serious one....i hate meds....yet this has helped her tremendously...but she is not raw at all....
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