Prevent hair-thinning by lowering fat intake, says science

New research has found that a healthier diet could prevent the loss of hair

Man checks his hairline as he looks in the mirror
(Image credit: Getty)

Hair thinning is often associated with getting older. As much as the process of ageing can factor into the loss of hair for some, it isn’t the only cause. Scientists have found that obesity can lead to hair thinning as well. 

Researchers from Tokyo Medical and Dental University discovered that both obesity and eating a high-fat diet can result in the depletion of hair follicle stem cells (HFSCs). Instead of forming new hair follicles, the cells begin to differentiate into keratinized skin cells. Essentially, this blocks hair follicle regeneration which contributes to the loss of hair follicles.

When a high-fat diet is mentioned by this study, it’s important to note that not all fatty foods are going to see you lose your hair. There is a difference between saturated fats, which we find in things like cooking oil, and beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, which we can get from foods like oily fish (or best fish oil supplements if you aren’t a fan of eating fish). 

Hironobu Moringa, the lead author of the study said, “High-fat-diet feeding accelerates hair thinning by depleting HFSCs that replenish mature cells that grow hair,” The team of researchers even recorded increased oxidative stress and signs of epidermal differentiation (bald patches) in older mice within just four days of eating a high fat diet. 

Woman dealing with thinning hair

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Although the research was done on mice, it lines up with previous, human-focused research which found hair loss was consistent with nutrient deficiency. People eating a well-rounded, healthy diet don’t tend to be overweight, which is a big contributor to hair thinning according to the Tokyo study. 

There are plenty of ways to begin lowering your fat intake and lose weight in the process. As mentioned before, there are good and bad fats so this doesn’t mean you have to give up your favourite meals altogether. The way you choose to cook certain foods can be a simple and healthy fix. For example, heating a steak on a best health grill will drain out a good amount of excess fat and prevent the need for lots of fatty butter while cooking.

Another way to reduce your intake of unhealthy fatty foods could involve trialling the vegan diet with one of the best vegan cookbooks. Not only can the vegan diet lower your chance of hair thinning, but another study found that eating a plant based diet from a younger age can help prevent the risk of heart disease when you are older. 

Our hair is made from protein so we want to make sure we are eating a high-protein diet so that our hair stays strong and healthy. Eggs, nuts, beans, fish, low-fat dairy products, chicken and turkey are all protein rich foods. Additionally, things like high-protein salad recipes will keep you full and help you lose weight which should hopefully prevent any thinning of the hair.  

Jessica Downey

Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her career in journalism began in local news and she holds a Masters in journalism. Jessica has previously written for Runners World, penning news and features on fitness, sportswear and nutrition. 

When she isn't writing up news and features for Fit&Well covering topics ranging from muscle building, to yoga, to female health and so on, she will be outdoors somewhere, testing out the latest fitness equipment and accessories to help others find top products for their own fitness journeys. Her testing pairs up nicely with her love for running. She recently branched out to running 10Ks and is trying to improve her time before moving on to larger races. Jessica also enjoys building on her strength in the gym and is a believer in health and wellness beginning in the kitchen. She shares all of this on her running Instagram account @jessrunshere which she uses for accountability and for connecting with like-minded fitness lovers.