Doctor's Note

For other videos on the health risks associated with mercury, see:
Mercury vs. Omega-3s for Brain Development
Hair Testing for Mercury Before Considering Pregnancy
Nerves of Mercury
How Long to Detox From Fish Before Pregnancy?
Fish Intake Associated With Brain Shrinkage
Pollutants in Salmon and Our Own Fat

And check out the companion video, Maternal Mercury Levels, on mercury poisoning from maternal fish-eating. 

For more context, see my associated blog post, Mercury Testing Recommended Before Pregnancy.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the companion video on mercury poisoning from maternal fish-eating. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them as well!

    • Juan Live

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22178180

      J Ethnopharmacol. 2012 Feb 15;139(3):765-71. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2011.12.010. Epub 2011 Dec 13.
      5α-reductase inhibition and hair growth promotion of some Thai plants traditionally used for hair treatment.

      check this thai plants inhibit 5 alpha red… hope it helps

  • zack

    Im just curious. You eat a healthy plant based diet (vegan) i assume, and usually the people that do have great hair health but ou seem to be balding. Is this a genetic thing or maybe exposure to something in your past?

    • Juan Live

      rude

  • Amit

    Dr. can olive oil using on scalp prevent DHT ? if yes, can it work so actively . Actually as you know revivogen a natural DHT inhabitor product which has omega3( i believe its derived from either flax seeds, olive oil or fish) plus it has alcohol which I think make it quite active along with zinc. revivogen is quite thin actually. it really works , I’ve found it incredible product but its costlier to me that is why I also bought hairmax comb also which is a one time investment but I believe I still miss revivogen.
    I want something topical, so I was searching what aleternative can be of revivogen, last week I used extra virgin olive in my hair at bedtime , trust me any kind of itching/ tigling which specially occurs after hairmax went away, i washed hair in the morning they were shiny like they had a life, though revivogen also does same work. I am just wondering can it really helpful using olive oil into scalp to stop DHT ?

    • barbarabrussels

      check out amla in smoothies or on scalp. Good luck.

    • dave

      to help stop DHT use saw palmetto herb good for both your hair and prostate, and fo-ti herb also good for hair and keeps it from graying.

  • Jenn

    Are there any studies you know of that show correlation between diet and alopecia? I could not find anything on this site or pub med, but I may have missed something!

    • mparent

      Me too, i’ve read several blogs regarding vegetarianism and hairloss. I’ve heard b12 and possibly zinc can help, but was hoping to see some studies regarding diet and hair loss.

    • Sinazo

      I’ve been losing my hair. Bald patches. I’m actually KNOWN for having thick and long hair. It’s thinning and falling out. I don’t know what to do.

      • Thea

        Sinazo: Here is reply I recently gave to someone else who asked about hair loss. Hopefully something in the links will help you too.
        .
        ———————————
        I had a relative who went vegan and her thinned hair started to grow back! From what I have seen, going vegan is not a generally recognized cause of hair loss. But, the devil is in the details:

        Following is a link to an article from Jack Norris who talks about the link between thyroid problems and hair loss–and how a change in diet may bring a thyroid problem to the fore. Other potential issues are also listed. http://jacknorrisrd.com/category/hair-loss/ Specifically note: “Summary: Occasionally, women who become vegetarian or vegan report experiencing hair loss. If there is a dietary cause, the most likely are rapid weight loss, thyroid problems, or iron deficiency. Zinc deficiency and not getting enough of the amino acid lysine could also be culprits.”

        For the full article where Jack goes into lots of detailed information, check out: http://veganhealth.org/articles/hairloss

        My 2 Cents: After looking at this information, I would think that if someone feels that they are really having hair loss, then it is time to see the doctor to figure out what the specific cause is. Once the cause is known, it can be directly addressed in a healthy way. For example, if someone is short on zinc, the ideal would be to address that zinc problem, not to revert back to a diet that is otherwise unhealthy in every other way.

        I hope this helps!

  • Guest

    Can you say the same about Japanese? I only look at your site 1h and concluded that you cherry picking studies to supports your claims.

  • Ryn Wedunashe Mahlunge

    What is a fish frog

  • Saved1973

    Where there studies to determine which fish had the least mercury contamination? Thanks, love your videos.

  • Hello

    Hi Dr. Greger, I would much appreciate your help with a hair loss issue.

    Young woman in 20’s, at least half of my hair fell out and keeps falling out since going vegan several years ago; it’s so much thinner, dull, crazy split ends and breaks easily; my nails became brittle and have ridges. No weight loss, actually some weight gain, regularly active, supplement with D3, B12, and Iodine. I’ve been coming across a lot of testimonials of people losing hair after going vegan and regaining hair health after including meat again. I’m worried. I don’t want to start eating animals, but I’m at a loss how I can help it. Appreciate your suggestions, thank you!

  • Destiny

    Hello (: this is someone else’s question that was asked but never answered.. I too have this same exact problem since becoming a vegan and was wondering if you could please help us with our hair loss/breakage problem as well as our nails becoming brittle. Is their something that we are lacking in our diets?

    Hi Dr. Greger, I would much appreciate your help with a hair loss issue.

    Young woman in 20’s, at least half of my hair fell out and keeps falling out since going vegan several years ago; it’s so much thinner, dull, crazy split ends and breaks easily; my nails became brittle and have ridges. No weight loss, actually some weight gain, regularly active, supplement with D3, B12, and Iodine. I’ve been coming across a lot of testimonials of people losing hair after going vegan and regaining hair health after including meat again. I’m worried. I don’t want to start eating animals, but I’m at a loss how I can help it. Appreciate your suggestions, thank you!

  • Les kruse

    Hi, my daughter is on a vegan diet lifestyle and she has been noticing her hair getting thinner. Do you know of anything in her diet that she might be missing that might cause hair loss

    • Rami Najjar – NF Moderator

      Hello,

      Be sure she is consuming enough omega 3 rich foods, like ground flaxseed, walnuts or chia seeds. Also be sure she is eating a diet comprised primarily of whole foods, as nutrient deficiencies occur on a vegan diet due to lack of whole food intake and high processed food intake, such as oreos, chips, refined grains etc.

  • p.

    are there vitamins/food most likely to help curb or prevent hair loss in a newly subscribed vegetarian?

  • drjoetrim

    My wife and I have been eating Vegan for a few months now and she is experiencing hair loss. Can this be attributed to a Vegan diet?

    • Thea

      drjoetrim: I had a relative who went vegan and her thinned hair started to grow back! From what I have seen, going vegan is not a generally recognized cause of hair loss. But, the devil is in the details:

      Following is a link to an article from Jack Norris who talks about the link between thyroid problems and hair loss–and how a change in diet may bring a thyroid problem to the fore. Other potential issues are also listed. http://jacknorrisrd.com/category/hair-loss/ Specifically note: “Summary: Occasionally, women who become vegetarian or vegan report experiencing hair loss. If there is a dietary cause, the most likely are rapid weight loss, thyroid problems, or iron deficiency. Zinc deficiency and not getting enough of the amino acid lysine could also be culprits.”

      For the full article where Jack goes into lots of detailed information, check out: http://veganhealth.org/articles/hairloss

      My 2 Cents: After looking at this information, I would think that if someone feels that they are really having hair loss, then it is time to see the doctor to figure out what the specific cause is. Once the cause is known, it can be directly addressed in a healthy way. For example, if someone is short on zinc, the ideal would be to address that zinc problem, not to revert back to a diet that is otherwise unhealthy in every other way.

      I hope this helps!

  • hhardesty

    Help, I am losing my hair! I started eating a plant based diet last November and starting losing my hair in April. I have lost a total of 56 pounds since November, but never lost more than 1-2 pounds a week so it has been gradual. I eat very little processed foods and mostly plants. I have been taking a daily vitamin, B12, and iron supplement. It isn’t stopping and my hair has thinned about 40%!!!! I have had my thyroid levels checked and all is normal there. Is there anything I can do to stop the loss and promote new hair growth! I am not interested in eating meat or dairy again but would like my thick hair back!!! Thanks!

    • Thea

      hhardesty: I understand you have checked out your thyroid, but maybe there is something else in the following links that will help you. Here is a reply that I gave to someone else who had a hair loss problem:
      .
      ————————————-
      I had a relative who went vegan and her thinned hair started to grow back! From what I have seen, going vegan is not a generally recognized cause of hair loss. But, the devil is in the details:

      Following is a link to an article from Jack Norris who talks about the link between thyroid problems and hair loss–and how a change in diet may bring a thyroid problem to the fore. Other potential issues are also listed. http://jacknorrisrd.com/category/hair-loss/ Specifically note: “Summary: Occasionally, women who become vegetarian or vegan report experiencing hair loss. If there is a dietary cause, the most likely are rapid weight loss, thyroid problems, or iron deficiency. Zinc deficiency and not getting enough of the amino acid lysine could also be culprits.”

      For the full article where Jack goes into lots of detailed information, check out: http://veganhealth.org/articles/hairloss

      My 2 Cents: After looking at this information, I would think that if someone feels that they are really having hair loss, then it is time to see the doctor to figure out what the specific cause is. Once the cause is known, it can be directly addressed in a healthy way. For example, if someone is short on zinc, the ideal would be to address that zinc problem, not to revert back to a diet that is otherwise unhealthy in every other way.

      I hope this helps!

  • Clint Sevilla

    Is there any research on hair loss and whole food plant based diets? I ask because I have reversed my hair loss on the diet. While I still have balding, there is a noticeable difference. I have only been on the diet (not perfectly) a couple months with little change in physical activity, so I was surprised by this outcome.

    P.S. I just ask here because I couldn’t find any relevant videos.

    • Thea

      Clint Sevilla: I am not aware of such research. I just thought you would be interested to know that I have a relative who had a similar experience. :-) Congrats!

      • Clint Sevilla

        That is really good to know. Thank you for the response.