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Anyone ever had telogen effluvium (sudden hair loss) by going paleo/primal?

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  • Anyone ever had telogen effluvium (sudden hair loss) by going paleo/primal?

    This was always a fear of mine about very low carb diets (possibly lower than paleo/primal), as I heard that people had experienced telogen effluvium in some cases due to the drop of carb intake.

    Just wanted to put my mind at rest on this. Maybe it's not true, maybe it's very rare, maybe paleo isn't low carb enough, I dunno o.O

    Just trying to understand low carb diets a bit better!


    Cheers

  • #2
    How low carb? I'm at the 50-100g level which is lower than a typical American diet but not super low carb and my hair is growing very nicely. I have an autoimmune thyroid condition that caused me to lose most of my hair. It's coming back like crazy. It had also straightened out since I developed my condition and now it's coming back curly like it had been before. It's a little funny looking since I have this really dense new growth that's super curly but it's such a treat to get my hair back, I'm ok with it looking a little strange for awhile. I even had one new gray hair revert to brown!

    Now granted none of this is stuff i attribute to lowering the carbohydrate content of my diet. As I said, it's not drastically low carb. I attribute this to getting foods out of my diet that I have a subclinical allergic reaction to. In my personal observation, gluten grains are a biggie, followed by corn, and then other grains and legumes. I think the quality of the fats in my diet makes a difference, too. I'm pretty fastidious about eating natural fats as opposed to industrial seed oils.

    I should also say that I'm not as athletic as I have normally been in my life so my lowish carb level is not a strain. I do believe it's very important to tailor your carb consumption to your exercise level. The last year I've been nursing my father through terminal cancer and now I'm dealing with the estate. My stress level has been very high. When Dad was sick, I was getting very little exercise. Now I'm stepping it up a bit but it's still mild and the weather is cold so my seasonal outdoor hobbies are naturally curtailed. When we talk about my 50-100g carb consumption, I believe it needs to be in the context of my fairly low activity level. A little walking and biking every day. A little lifting of heavy things. That's about it. I need to get my sprints back in. It's been awhile. I might find my body being less happy at my current carb level if my activity level were higher at the moment.

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    • #3
      VLC can depress the thyroid, which can in turn cause hair loss. Paul Jaminet makes a good case for the optimal carb consumption being about 20% of total calories (excluding vegetables), which is pretty much what Mark says. 20% is low carb but very reasonable. The body's capacity to burn carbohydrate is about 30% for healthy, sedentary people, much beyond that is turned to fat.
      http://thepaleopremise.blogspot.com

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      • #4
        Even if your body experiences a bit of telogen effluvium as a result of the change in diet, losing hair would be temporary. This post by Michael Eades on the horrendous and, by now, infamous Kimkins Diet and hair loss explains it near the end. Basically, your body may currently be stressed by what you're feeding it. In some cases, this causes your hair to stop growing, but, with nothing to push the hair out, it stays on your head. When your hair follicles realize the stress of the poor diet is passed, they'll start growing again. When your hair starts growing, the new growth pushes the dead hairs out of the follicles. (Read the article, if you can, because I know I flubbed up explaining it!)

        I've been primal since March, and my hair is actually thicker and fuller than it has ever been. And it's curly again, oddly enough. (My hair was curly when I was a baby and toddler, then went straight when I was a child.) I lose a lot more of it now, but I'm pretty sure that's because it's so much thicker. Or maybe the curls make it look like it's more.
        Motherhood: When changing from pj pants to yoga pants qualifies as 'getting dressed'.

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        • #5
          Thanks guys

          Yeah it seems like it's usually only a risk if you go overboard and even then as you say - temporary!

          I think it's something someone should be aware of if going intensely low carb but other than that ok.

          I'm not sure about the thyroid, that's an interesting alternative theory over it simply being stress-induced.

          It would be interesting to hear other comments, but you guys have definitely explained about it well

          Thanks!

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          • #6
            Switching to Primal/low carb last year has actually resulted in faster hair growth for me, and it's been coming in thicker over the last five months. It had been thinning on me. Could be correlation as opposed to causation but there you have it.
            August 2010: 207 lb, 37" waist, 25+% BF | Currently: 177 lb, 33" waist, ~15% BF

            I have a new site up and will soon be blogging at The Wayward Mind. (My journal is semi-retired at this point)

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            • #7
              I would suggest running your food through fitday and taking basic supplements just to ensure you are not missing something.
              -Transform!

              Groktimus Primal's Experience

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              • #8
                Originally posted by hoppimike View Post
                This was always a fear of mine about very low carb diets (possibly lower than paleo/primal), as I heard that people had experienced telogen effluvium in some cases due to the drop of carb intake.

                Just wanted to put my mind at rest on this. Maybe it's not true, maybe it's very rare, maybe paleo isn't low carb enough, I dunno o.O

                Just trying to understand low carb diets a bit better!


                Cheers
                One more time for trolls like you who have not read the book. Primal=/=paleo. Plus Primal=/=Low carb, just lower than the Standard American Diet (SAD) level of carbs. The levels of carbs used by primal people varies greatly depending on their weight loss/fitness goals, health conditions, age, gender, etc.

                Note to Primal peeps. The OP is the troll who stirred up that shit storm thread recently talking about killing the poor widdo animals and how meat rots in your colon and makes primal people have body odor problems. Let's not feed this troll. OK? He comes in with the innocuous sounding, "I'm just trying to understand better" line and then starts flinging vegan propaganda around.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Paleobird View Post
                  One more time for trolls like you who have not read the book. Primal=/=paleo. Plus Primal=/=Low carb, just lower than the Standard American Diet (SAD) level of carbs. The levels of carbs used by primal people varies greatly depending on their weight loss/fitness goals, health conditions, age, gender, etc.

                  Note to Primal peeps. The OP is the troll who stirred up that shit storm thread recently talking about killing the poor widdo animals and how meat rots in your colon and makes primal people have body odor problems. Let's not feed this troll. OK? He comes in with the innocuous sounding, "I'm just trying to understand better" line and then starts flinging vegan propaganda around.
                  Actually, I just have a broad-minded and open approach to nutrition and am fascinated by paleoanthropology, evolution, low carb / high fat diets (as well as other approaches) etc etc.

                  I have decided to try not to mention my meat eating ethical issues anymore while posting here, because... that's not really why I'm here. I'm here to discuss the things I mentioned above.


                  Anyway ok, really good to hear people did a-ok And yeah I do think the amount of carbs in the paleo diet is not low enough to cause huge problems. I'm doing a bit of candida dieting right now as I think candida is my main problem, I'm mainly on veggies and am considering adding things like chicken and coconut oil (I eat meat sometimes depending on circumstances, but again, I reeeeaaally don't wanna discuss all that on here anymore!). Hopefully candida will start to die down due to the massive drop in carbs

                  I was just scared of doing anything too harmful to myself that's all!

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                  • #10
                    If you were really paying attention, you'd know that hair is made of protein~ actually, excess protein, since dietary protein will go to repair vital organs first~ So if you have hair loss, the probable cause is too little animal protein (and the B vitamins that come with)

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Nady View Post
                      If you were really paying attention, you'd know that hair is made of protein~ actually, excess protein, since dietary protein will go to repair vital organs first~ So if you have hair loss, the probable cause is too little animal protein (and the B vitamins that come with)
                      I don't have telogen effluvium, but I was curious as to how often very low carb diets trigger it for people that's all

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                      • #12
                        My hair's looked MUCH better since I went Primal. My dandruff's also gotten better, as well as my KP. The hairs on my arms aren't growing in kinked anymore. Basically, it's been fantastic.
                        Down from 275 to 250!
                        Werewolf Primal Living Blog - http://lycanthropology.com
                        Some fact, a lot of fiction! Keep track of my progress there!

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                        • #13
                          Yeah that's good

                          How bad were carb cravings for you guys? I've been getting INSANE carb cravings after only a few days of low carb dieting!

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                          • #14
                            when i went low carb i'd get cravings for them, but i'd make mock desserts using avocado or heavy whipping cream and the sweet taste was enough
                            beautiful
                            yeah you are

                            Baby if you time travel back far enough you can avoid that work because the dust won't be there. You're too pretty to be working that hard.
                            lol

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                            • #15
                              Carb cravings?

                              Why would I crave carbs when I have Bacon wrapped Jalepeno chicken in the fridge? I just craved cheap and easy...Couldn't get any cheaper than pre-made already bought and easier than grab and go...

                              In fact, my Primal friends and I went to a Brazillian Steakhouse with the meat-swords, and my friend looked at me as she was eating this amazing filet mignon and said "Oh, Wes...I'm suffering on this diet. I really want a twinkie..." And we all laughed. It was fantastic.

                              All five of us look AWESOME as well. I'm still quite heavy at 250...but that's signifigantly down from 275! ^_^ And...suffering!
                              Down from 275 to 250!
                              Werewolf Primal Living Blog - http://lycanthropology.com
                              Some fact, a lot of fiction! Keep track of my progress there!

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