female alopecia
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  1. #1
    Experienced Member
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    Apr 2012

    alcohol and hair loss/thinning

    So I have just spend hours reading all these post on this site below. I only researched it because my hair loss/thinning is kinda recent and I only noticed how bad it was getting a few months ago. Same time I started having a social life and going on on the weekend and having drinks!
    I am wondering what do you think about this article/post? Can anyone relate to it? The people I do know that are drinkers do have thinning/hair lost! Hmmm


  2. #2

    Re: alcohol and hair loss/thinning

    I just gave up red wine because all the research I've done unfortunately says yes it does. Booohoo. I live in France and wine drinking is a way of life here (but I want my hair back even more). Been kidding myself that a glass or two of wine a day is good for my heart but eating grapes or drinking red grape juice probably has exactly the same protective effect...minus the alcohol. This self imposed wine deprivation totally sux but now I've started taking a real interest in trying to figure out the reasons for my hair loss after about 30 years of just shrugging and putting up with it, I might as well go the whole hog and do it properly.

    Alcohol is a liver poison and a healthy liver is incredibly important for almost everything. Poor liver function can affect the immune system, iron levels, cholesterol levels, sugar levels, hormones levels etc etc and it eliminates toxins. Look it up on wikipedia.

    Alcohol (and coffee) can also cause B12 deficiency which can lead to hair loss so I've just given up coffee as well.

    But I've decided it's time to take a real hard look at my bad lifestyle habits. Hair and nail health reflects general heath (I have lousy ridged nails with no moons except on my thumbs as well) and I do not want to rely on conventional drugs because they often do more harm than good.

    I saw a really interesting you tube video about magnesium yesterday (And yes, I'm afraid alcohol and coffee lowers your magnesium levels as well).


    What that guy says makes a lot of sense to me and he's a strong advocate of a gluten free diet as well.

    Sigh. I haven't tried going gluten free yet but I've a horrible feeling I should... gluten intolerance is very common when you have auto-immune Hashimotos apparently.

  3. #3

    Re: alcohol and hair loss/thinning

    Oh it really sucks giving up things you like and hoping it stops this madness. I have recently given up all sugar (yes alcohol too is made of sugar) and it might be helping. It is helping my weight loss. I am also gluten free because my dr said anyone with an auto immune issue should not have gluten. It causes inflamation and cell attack.
    I miss bread, I miss wine, I miss icecream.... I miss my hair. I am drinking coffee (one cup/day).
    Interesting about the b12. I have been getting b12 shots for the past few months and didn't go for two weeks. In that two weeks I have had 3 ocular migranes but hair seems okay. i am going in today for a shot. I love the effect but I get bruised every time.
    I am looking at this as temporary. I will not drink wine often but if a special occation comes up, I will have it (after my hair is all back). Same with bread and icecream.
    The reason I am off sugar is because dr thinks I have candida and it is causing skin irritation in my scalp, If you don't feed the candida, it will die. it eats sugar. So I am trying to kill it. Interestingly since giving up sugar I have no itching or redness on my scalp. Could just be that my AA has run it's course and I am a ton less stressed than i was a year ago.

  4. #4

    Re: alcohol and hair loss/thinning

    Alcohol absolutely either caused or contributed to my own hair loss. Here is my experience: I have been losing my hair for about three years. It was slow at first, then gained some momentum. In 2011 I decided to go on a low carb diet, and Lost 30 pounds. It wasn't THAT low carb, about 125 carbs a day, not really extreme, just enough to keep you from craving sugar and carbs. I went on one with the packets that give you a very controlled amount of vitamins, and I had one meal a day with 3 servings of vegs and 6-7 oz of protein. Of course, NO ALCOHOL.

    In all the time I was on the diet, I lost no hair at all. Not sure if I had any regrowth, but I guess I wasn't paying much attention, since my loss had stopped. And I mean stopped--no shed at all!

    Once I got to my goal weight, I started adding little cheats. For me, that was some more carbs, and a glass of wine every few days. Then it became every day, and more than one glass, because I felt it helped with my migraine headaches.

    Suddenly, after about 6 months of this, I started to shed heavily, to the point that I could see me scalp through my hair, and I had easily lost half of my hair. When I thought back to the time when my loss had stopped in it's tracks, I tried to think of what I had been doing differently. I was still doing the little packets and one meal a day, but the glaring difference was the alcohol consumption.

    I then completely stopped all alcohol. That was about a month ago. My hair loss has diminished greatly. I never counted daily hairs lost, but I would count the ones in the shower and the ones in the comb after I washed my hair. I went from maybe 100 to about 10. I am confident it will stop completely in another month. To grow it back, that is the problem.

    I am not suggesting that this is everyone's answer, but it was mine.

  5. #5

    Re: alcohol and hair loss/thinning

    I started looking at B12 because many of the chronic fatigue/brain fog symptoms which I'd assumed were something to do with having hashimoto's are also signs of B12 deficiency and I do have bad habits that would exacerbate a vitamin B12 deficiency. I travel a lot and often go completely without alcohol for a month or two when I'm in Muslim areas of Indonesia but when that's the case I drink even more (strong) coffee to make up for it! It helps to boost my energy levels a bit... or so I thought. Coffee is a quick fix and is in fact counterproductive. It's similar to the effects of prescription drugs on vitamins in that magnesium deficiency video link I posted.

    Vitamin B12 is hard to absorb if you have any kind of gastric problem (eg gluten intolerance?)

    In addition, deficiency is very hard to detect in normal blood serum tests because folate can mask B12 deficiency. I checked how much a more accurate test would cost in the US the other day ... about $200 ... so most doctors don't order it.

    Anyway, here's another video to watch, about vitamin B12 this time. It's a BBC video about a doctor who nearly got struck off the medical register in the UK when the National Health Service noticed that he was giving a large number of vitamin B12 injections to his patients. The NHS were worried he was causing them harm, even though vitamin B12 is known to be an extremely safe water soluble vitamin at very high doses. The doctor in that video thinks the current "normal" levels of B12 are far too low and his treatment helped someone with MS to walk again (that figures, B12 is essential to make the myelin sheaths on nerves) and he ALSO cured someone of alopecia. Worth watching.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=en ... lobLSxv6i0

  6. #6

    Re: alcohol and hair loss/thinning

    Just found this too. I have been getting b12 shots since January. I feel better and my shed is down. I didn't think it was related but now I do.

    Here Today. I know you have some of these symptoms. Have you had b12 checked? Always check with dr before adding supplements. But if you have symptoms like this, check it out.

    this is what i found.

    Pernicious anemia is a type of anemia due to a deficiency of vitamin B12. Though more rare than other forms of anemia, this iron deficiency typically affects people over 40 years old. In addition to some of the symptoms present in other forms of anemia, pernicious anemia has unique symptoms such as rapid hair loss, sore tongue, nosebleeds, and loss of appetite. To increase your intake of vitamin B12 and treat pernicious anemia, eat red meat, eggs, liver, salmon, shellfish, fortified breakfast cereals, and plain yogurt.

    Anemia can cause hair loss and can usually be cured. Modify your diet and talk to your doctor about adding vitamin and mineral supplements.

    Just a thought.

    Oh I have to laugh. While I am reading this my husband brings me a glass of wine. I have been off wine for almost 2 months and still he says "Oh, i didn't know your were still doing that". lol

  7. #7

    Re: alcohol and hair loss/thinning

    Estrogen's affect on human head-hair is not remotely the same as its affect on rodent body-fur. I wouldn't give this opinion piece from "hairlossbuddy" a second thought -- esp. given that it's attempting to sell a book.

    Now, too much alcohol obviously isn't good for anyone, but many alcoholics (and drug addicts) have full heads of hair.

    And neencali mentions that that alcohol "is made of sugar." A "sugary" diet can indeed raise insulin levels, which can raise cortisol, which in turn can raise certain androgens and steroids, which can contribute to hair loss. However (and I say this as someone who controls my type-two diabetes strictly through diet), alcohol itself LOWERS blood sugar. If you're drinking fruit juice or sugary soda with your alcohol, then the glucose-lowering effects of alcohol might not be strong enough to counter the glucose-raising effects of the juice or soda. But dry wine, lagers, and straight spirits (or spirits with water) in moderation can actually be beneficial to Type II diabetics. The risk is that a diabetics' blood sugar will get too low when consuming alcohol (not too high), which is why it's recommended that diabetics eat a little something if they choose to drink.

    I recommend that people look to the "biggies" first: sex hormones, thyroid, adrenals, immunological disorders, genetics, and perhaps iron and B-vitamin anemia. It you have adrenal fatigue or anemia, then it's likely wise to give up alcohol and coffee until you remedy the problem. But personally, I don't believe that moderate drinking causes hair loss. I drink 4-7 glasses of wine over the course of every week -- and my hair has gotten progressively better over the last few years (because of hormonal treatment).

    Btw way, waterbaby, you're so lucky to live in France (at least from what I've heard about the country)!

    Quote Originally Posted by mycurlyhair
    So I have just spend hours reading all these post on this site below. I only researched it because my hair loss/thinning is kinda recent and I only noticed how bad it was getting a few months ago. Same time I started having a social life and going on on the weekend and having drinks!
    I am wondering what do you think about this article/post? Can anyone relate to it? The people I do know that are drinkers do have thinning/hair lost! Hmmm


  8. #8

    Re: alcohol and hair loss/thinning

    Yeah, alcohol can be blamed for your hair thinning as well as hair loss. Study states that alcohol can be very bad for our over all health. Stay away from alcohol as much as you can in order to have a strong hair.

  9. #9

    Re: alcohol and hair loss/thinning

    This is a really interesting discussion. I found a study on risk factors for AGA on Pubmed that listed alcohol as one of them:
    The study sample were male and over 40 but I don't see why it shouldn't have a general relavence to anyone who is prone to AGA.
    and certainly alcohol consumption can contribute to zinc deficiency, which in turn can contribute to hair thinning.

    I think Chickadee is right that noticable hair thinning is unlikely to be totally to do with alcohol consumption, and other factors should definitely be checked out and dealt with. BUT I think excessive alcohol consumption definitely won't help and may well have a negative influence on top of other factors.

    Personally, I have been drinking a lot more regularly over the past year, and my hair loss has got significantly worse in that time frame, so now I'm attempting to cut down. I can't help thinking that, if i'm willing to take intensive life-long medications like manoxidil, I should at least consider making this small, life-style change. At the very least I know its not going to do any harm!

  10. #10

    Re: alcohol and hair loss/thinning

    Alcohol and coffee are not the only things that can impair liver function. Many common drugs do too, including aspirin, paracetamol, birth control pills, steroids, anesthetics, antibiotics...

    Steroid sex hormones like bcps affect the liver quite a lot actually according to this article in wikipedia.


    Lots of FDA approved drugs have had to be pulled off the market because the liver toxicity didn't get picked up even with rigorous testing prior to commercialization. Also there are two types of liver toxicity according to that wikipedia article. One is a simple dose effect (ie the more you take the worse it gets) and the other is what they call idiosyncratic reaction.

    Idiosyncratic (type B) injury occurs without warning, when agents cause non-predictable hepatotoxicity in susceptible individuals which is not related to dose and has a variable latency period.[15] This type of injury does not have a clear dose-response nor temporal relationship, and most often does not have predictive models. Idiosyncratic hepatotoxicity has led to the withdrawal of several drugs from market even after rigorous clinical testing as part of the FDA approval process; Troglitazone (Rezulin) and trovafloxacin (Trovan) are two prime examples of idiosyncratic hepatotoxins pulled from market.
    When used orally, ketoconazole has been associated with hepatic toxicity, including some fatalities.[16]
    I'm just wondering if AA might be not sometimes be triggered by that kind of hepatotoxicy... because it's an idiosyncratic unpredictable disease that happens without warning too.

    And that wikipedia article only covers a few of the 400+ known drugs that can cause liver damage. There are a multitude of other liver toxins that never get rigorously tested for health effects before being unleashed on the general public. Things like weedkillers, pesticides, plastics, teflon, flame retardants, paints, solvents, things in cosmetics and food and household cleaning agents ... the list goes on and on and they are everywhere in our environment.

    So even if you don't drink alcohol or coffee, there could still be something damaging your liver without you even realizing it.

    I also found an article listing cutaneous symptoms of liver disease. They refer a lot to alcoholic livers but like I said, alcohol is not the only thing that damages livers.


    That article mentions alopecia and says the liver even affects the GI tract ... could a liver not functioning properly even be one of the reasons gluten sensitivity develops I wonder? The liver is implicated in immune responses too. Hmm... seems the more things you learn the more questions there are.

    Anyway, I think it's worth trying to do something to make my liver a bit healthier, just to put as much as I can in my favor, both for hair loss and other health issues. And now I think about it I've been exposed to liver toxins a lot...several gas anesthesias for dental work when I was a kid, plus a couple of operations with general anethesia, not to mention 10 years on liver toxic antimalarials (because the doctors and the WHO insisted it was absolutely necessary... even though there was widespread resistance to these anti-malarials and my DH very nearly died of malaria while he was taking them). My liver has had more than chronic wine and apperitif damage and I've never done anything to help it, poor thing.

    Soooo.... I've just bought a juicer to make liver friendly juices to drink first thing in the morning. I even bought some organic beetroot to put in the juice....yeuch, I NEVER eat beetroot and can't stand the stuff but it appears to be an essential ingredient. Hmm which is worse, thin hair or drinking beetroot juice first thing in the morning? My god, the things I have to do to make my hair grow. I'm very glad DH isn't at home at the moment. I can just imagine his face if he saw me covered in beetroot stains with a load of onion puree on my head. He'd probably call 911 and have them bring a straight jacket... or run.

    PS. France doesn't always quite match the idyllic image you might have of it Chickadee but I am lucky enough to live in a small village rather than a suburban wasteland full of high rise concrete boxes so I can't complain. Canada looks pretty wonderful from Europe too!

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