Preventing or Minimizing Hair Loss after Weight Loss Surgery
Hi and Welcome to Mexico Bariatric Center. I’m Prudence Ticknor, bariatric dietitian, and Health Coach.
There seems to be a lot of concern with losing your hair after having weight loss surgery. Although hair loss can be a side effect of rapid weight loss, you are more likely to experience hair loss if you have had gastric bypass or duodenal switch due to the malabsorption.
There is a big misconception that losing your hair is an absolute, and there is nothing you can do about it. This is incorrect. The truth is we all lose hair every day, but it is steadily growing back, so we do not notice it. Hair growth is not essential for survival, so if you are not taking in the proper amount of nutrients, your body temporarily shuts down functions that are not necessary for living. There are certain steps you can incorporate to minimize and even prevent excess hair loss.
First thing to look at is your caloric intake. Are you getting in a minimum of 800 calories most days of the week? You want to have a minimum intake of 800 calories post weight loss surgery. If you are having a difficult time getting in 800 calories add some healthy fat like coconut oil, Barlean’s Essential fatty acid swirl or even an avocado to your protein shakes to get the extra calories and nutrients in.
The next thing to look at is your protein intake, are you getting the minimum requirement of 60 grams of protein per day? If not increase your daily protein to get the minimum requirements. I know you may not feel like eating or even drinking the first few weeks or months after surgery, but it is crucial for you to get the minimum requirements of nutrients post bariatric surgery to help prevent nutritional deficiencies.
Taking the proper vitamins. You may have been told by a friend that it does not matter what type of vitamins to take or even to take a children’s gummy vitamins. There really are two areas you do not want to look for the cheapest option; that is your vitamins and your protein powder. You may not see nutrient deficiencies right away, but they may develop over time like osteoporosis and even nerve damage if you do not take the proper vitamins. Make sure you take the recommended vitamins specific to the surgery you are having, and you want to ensure you get a quality bariatric specific multi-vitamin. It’s similar to when a woman gets pregnant she stops taking regular vitamins, and she starts taking specific prenatal vitamins. After bariatric surgery, there are specific amounts, types and forms of vitamins that are needed due to the lack of absorption. So chose a bariatric specific multi-vitamin.
With your supplement regimen be sure to take a vegetarian based digestion enzyme with your meals. This will assist in helping your food break down and increase the amount that is absorbed.
Extra Biotin is another thing that can be added. I would not take this right away because your multi has some biotin in it. But if needed you can add additional biotin to your supplement regimen. It is recommended to take 1 to 2.5 mg every day.
Also, you may have low iron. If your ferritin levels are below 40, it is sometimes associated with hair loss. Additional iron may help.
The amino acid l-lysine makes up almost 30% of the protein in our hair. Adding 1 to 2 grams may assist with excessive hair loss. Eggs, fish, and meat are also high in L-lysine.
It’s important to start with checking your total caloric and protein intake and making sure you are taking a bariatric specific multi-vitamin before adding anything else.
Feel free to join our Facebook support page for more information or view the post-surgical meal plan for specific guidelines that you can print out from our website; Links are below. Here at Mexico bariatric center our goal is to take this journey with you and provide you with excellent care with both pre and post-surgical support.
In Brief: The one big thing is perception of surgery and how your body handles surgery. People that are highly stressed, it is the stress itself that causes the hair loss. The other big thing which we mention in the video is the first 3 months people are ecstatic of how much weight they are losing so they are not eating, they are losing weight. Your hair does not fall out right away, so the malnutrition at the beginning affects them usually around 4 – 6 months. Even if they change their diet, they still are being affected by malnutrition they had for the first 3 months.