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Can a diet high in sodium cause hair loss?

The average American adult consumes 3,436 milligrams of salt every day, much more than the recommended consumption level of 2,300 milligrams, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Too much sodium in one’s diet can lead to a host of medical problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease and even some degree of hair loss.

High levels of salt can be toxic to hair, as sodium deposits build around the hair follicles, preventing important nutrients responsible for hair health from entering the follicles. When hair follicles do not receive important nutrients, this can gradually lead to hair loss.

Sodium is everywhere, from canned soups to hotdogs and even less obvious foods like bread and salad dressing.  The FDA recommends keeping your daily sodium intake below 2,300 milligrams for most people and under 1,500 milligrams for those over 50 years old, especially those with pre-existing conditions like hypertension, diabetes, or kidney disease.  Avoiding sodium is definitely challenging, but you can reduce your daily intake by cooking your food from scratch, avoiding packaged, highly processed foods, and looking for products with the ‘reduced sodium’ label at the supermarket.  You can also season your foods with herb blends instead of using the salt shaker at meals.

High levels of sodium in relation to potassium levels in one’s body can also lead to hair loss. Potassium is an essential mineral that facilitates electrical and cellular functions in the body; it is absolutely crucial for the proper functioning of your heart, kidneys and other organs.  Potassium is also important for hair growth; however, potassium levels are depleted through urination, which is exacerbated by high salt intake. If your body is high in salt level and low in potassium level, it is important to increase potassium within your diet through foods such as bananas, whole grains or supplements. Having a balanced mix of potassium and sodium can help prevent hair loss related to high sodium levels.

If you are experiencing hair loss or balding and would like more information on the causes and possible solutions to your hair loss, Bosley suggests that you set up a free consultation with a Bosley professional. Once you find out which type of hair loss you are experiencing, you can seek the appropriate solutions, such as topical solutions and hair loss medications for temporary or light hair loss, and hair transplantation procedure for more advanced hair loss conditions and hereditary hair loss.


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