The Daily Express
THE increasingly popular vegan diet is having a worrying impact on people’s health, reveals a top doctor.
Going vegan has never been so trendy – an estimated one in 400 people now follow the diet with even more taking up ‘part-time’ veganism, made popular by celebs like Beyonce.
You also can’t escape the vegan way of life on TV shows, in magazines and on social media. And this trend extends into Hollywood.
A-listers such as Jennifer Lopez, Ellie Goulding, Jared Leto and Michelle Pfiffer have dabbled in veganism or have taken up the diet full time.
Despite many beautiful yogis and motivational fitstagrammers crediting the vegan diet for ridding them of their ills, going vegan could be stripping people of vital nutrients and taking its toll on our health.
In particular, The Private Clinic of Harley Street have noticed an increase in patients coming into the clinic with skin and hair complaints that are a direct result of their vegan diet.
This, they claim, is due to the nutritional imbalances and lack of important vitamins associated with the complete avoidance of key food groups.
Hair loss and thinning has been associated with a vegan diet.
Dr Hair Transplant Surgeon said: “A vegan diet completely eliminates important food groups such as meat, fish and dairy. These particular food groups provide the body with key vitamins and nutrients which contribute to the growth of healthy hair.
“Diets such as veganism often lead to nutritional imbalances and a lack of important vitamins which affect the quality of the hair. Following a vegan diet often results in rapid weight loss which in itself can affect hair quality.”
She added: “Hair loss and hair thinning can be directly linked to a vegan diet. Nutritional imbalances associated with a vegan diet can cause the patient’s hair to become brittle and to break easily.
“Poor nutritional diet can also contribute to hair thinning and a scaly scalp.
“It is normal to lose around 100 hairs per day, however, it is often the case that vegans will lose more than this. If this is the case I advise speaking to a doctor.”
She notes she had one vegan patient suffered from diffuse hair thinning around the whole entire head. There was also significant hair loss on the top of her head.
The worst offender, according to Dr is almond milk.
She adds: “Almond milk falls under the same umbrella as soy-based meat replacements like tofu and tempeh.
“Fresh soy contains inflammatory lectins and Phytic acid. These will both have negative effects on the body because they bind with minerals and prevent the body from using them. This is just another way a vegan can have nutritional deficiencies.
“Seitan may be one of the worst offenders as it is 100 per cent wheat gluten like eating edible inflammation.”
She also explains some vegans may suffer from a lack of Iodine. Iodine is needed for the production of the thyroid hormone which contributes to healthy hair growth. It is therefore important we get iodine through our diet.
Some of our main sources of iodine come from fish, eggs and dairy products. All of which are not part of the vegan diet. As a result, the thyroid produces smaller amounts of the thyroid hormone essential for healthy, hair, skin and nails.
Zinc and vitamin B-12 are also essential for healthy looking and feeling hair. Zinc-rich foods such as beef, pork and chicken are not part of the vegan diet.
Moreover vitamin B-12 is found in meats, fish and other animal products that will be missing from a vegan menu. When this vitamin is consumed in inadequate amounts it can lead to a scaly scalp and hair loss.
If you’re shedding the pounds because of a vegan diet, Dr recommends consuming more protein: “If losing weight, I would advise that vegans pay special attention to ensuring they are getting enough protein. Often hair loss through weight loss can be reversed if the diet is corrected and the body receives the correct nutrients.
“It is important to consult a doctor before deciding which supplements to take and it is always better to try and get nutrients through the diet somehow.” *