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Eating a diet rich in protein and iron can prevent hair loss in men, expert says

Eating a diet rich in protein and iron and avoiding shampoos that may contain hair-damaging chemicals can help men prevent hair loss, experts say.

Massick (pictured) said hair loss often starts along the hairline, temples and top of a person's head

Massick (pictured) said hair loss often starts along the hairline, temples and top of a person’s head

dr. Susan Massick, a dermatologist at Ohio State University in Columbus, urged men to act as soon as their hairline began to recede by switching to eating more foods like eggs, beef, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, and black beans. . She said the extra protein would help hair follicles grow, while the added iron would increase the amount of oxygen red blood cells can carry to the cells.

The dermatologist also threw her weight behind the readily available 57 cents-a-day drug Minoxidil — commonly known by the brand name Rogaine — which can be given as a low-dose pill to slow or even reverse hair loss.

Other experts have previously warned against using shampoos that contain sulfates — which are used in nearly all shampoos and cause the white lather — and formaldehyde — a cleaning agent that kills bacteria. They say these can damage hair and irritate the scalp and stimulate hair loss, although studies have yet to confirm this.

More than half of American men have experienced some form of hair loss by age 40, estimates show. Many spend significant amounts of money on treatments, despite little evidence that they work.

dr.  Susan Massick, a dermatologist at Ohio State University, said a balanced diet rich in protein and iron can help slow hair loss in men (file photo)

dr.  Susan Massick, a dermatologist at Ohio State University, said a balanced diet rich in protein and iron can help slow hair loss in men (file photo)

dr. Susan Massick, a dermatologist at Ohio State University, said a balanced diet rich in protein and iron can help slow hair loss in men (file photo)

Massick revealed her tips to combat hair loss and baldness – a receding hairline and thinning hair on the top of the head – to Insider.

Pattern baldness is caused by the hormone dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, which shrinks hair follicles, making them thinner and easier to fall out.


  • Eat at least 5 servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruits and vegetables count

  • Basic meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, preferably whole grain

  • 30 grams of fiber per day: This is equivalent to eating all of the following: 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, 2 whole-grain cereal biscuits, 2 thick slices of whole-wheat bread, and large baked potato with skin

  • 50 grams of protein per day: this can be from beef, eggs, chickpeas and other sources

  • 20.5 milligrams of iron per day: This is also available from beef and other foods such as liver.

  • Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soy drinks) and opt for lower-fat, lower-sugar options

  • Eat some beans, legumes, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 servings of fish per week, one of which should be fatty)

  • Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consume in small amounts

  • Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of water a day

  • Adults should have less than 6g of salt and 20g of saturated fat for women or 30g for men per day

It can be slowed down if caught in the early stages – so one can keep as much hair as possible.

Massick said hair loss mainly starts on the hairline, temples and top of the head, before spreading to other areas.

But she said it could be slowed down by eating a balanced diet rich in protein and iron, which keeps hair “healthy” and “strong.”

She didn’t say how much a person should consume to prevent hair loss, but estimates from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggest that men should consume about 50 grams of protein and up to 20.5 milligrams of iron per day.

These estimates are based on men who exercise little, but suggest that others may need significantly more. A blood test would show whether someone has a deficiency.

It is thought that a balanced diet can also help women who suffer from hair loss. About 18 percent have this.

Several articles have already suggested that a poor diet can be the cause of causing and accelerating hair loss.

online de American Academy of Dermatology also says people should “eat healthily” and make sure they get enough iron and protein to prevent hair loss.

It adds that those who have had blood tests showing that they are deficient in iron should take supplements.

Other experts have also previously suggested that a poor diet may be the explanation for faster hair loss.

dr. Debra Jaliman, a dermatologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City, says that when the body doesn’t get enough protein, what’s available is directed to essential organs. This means that there is less available to her.

Massick said men suffering from hair loss should also avoid styling their hair, as it pulls on the weakening follicles.

She warned people not to use shampoos that claim to promote hair growth because they “don’t stay in your hair long enough” to penetrate the follicles.

There have also been suggestions from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that sulfates and formaldehyde — commonly found in shampoos — can cause hair loss because they irritate the skin.

The chemicals, which are also used in cleaning products, have raised concerns in the past. But no scientific study so far has convincingly shown that they can cause hair loss.

Products containing this include Head and Shoulders Classic Clean, available in most stores for $5.99 a bottle, and Dove’s Men+Care Sport shampoo, sold for $5.59 a bottle.

But many shampoos contain sulfates — listed on the label as sodium lauryl sulfate — including those from other well-known brands.

It was revealed last month that the cheap and readily available drug minoxidil, which has been available in pharmacies for decades, can be used to treat hair loss.

Previously, it was sold to patients without a prescription as a lotion to be rubbed into the scalp to help restore lost hair.

But now more and more doctors are telling patients to take it as a low-dose pill, which many have found to be much more effective. The treatment — which sells for 57 cents a pill — has yet to be approved by the FDA to prevent hair loss.

Men lose hair due to a number of factors, including a family history of baldness, stress, and chemicals in their environment.