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Does Red Meat Cause Thinning Hair?

By Roger Thorne J.D. ; Updated August 14, 2017

Hair loss is a problem that affects both men and women, though it is rarely more serious than a cosmetic problem. If you're going through the early stages of hair loss you may hear a number of theories about what's causing it and what you can do about it. Unfortunately, hair loss is often hereditary, and dietary factors play little, if any, role in a thinning head of hair.

Red Meat

Red meats, ranging from hamburger to ham, are excellent sources of protein. Red meats are complete proteins with all the amino acids your body needs. But red meats also tend to be high in cholesterol and saturated fat.

Hair Loss

Hair loss can have a variety of causes, according to the Mayo Clinic website. Typically, you lose your hair because of hormone changes, genetic influences or damage to the hair follicles. Also, a gradual thinning of your hair is a normal part of getting older, as your body sheds hair daily, and your aging body is less able to replace lost hairs. However, if you have poor nutrition -- if you don't get enough iron or protein, for example -- you can lose hair. This can typically be corrected by changing your diet.

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Red Meat and Hair Loss

There appears to be no evidence to suggest that people who eat red meat are at an increased risk of losing their hair. To the contrary, as red meat is rich in a variety of nutrients you need to maintain overall health, some dermatologists claim that abstaining from red meat while failing to eat foods that supply the nutrients that meat supplies may impede your hair growth, according to the American Hair Loss Association. As red meat is typically rich in protein and iron, and a loss of these nutrients can lead to hair loss, eating red meat may prevent nutritionally caused hair loss in some situations.

Other Concerns

While red meat doesn't appear to cause hair loss, other nutritional factors may affect hair health and hair loss. For example, people who suffer from bulimia or anorexia nervosa often suffer hair loss as a result of malnutrition. Ensuring a properly balanced diet that supplies all your required nutrients won't necessarily prevent hair loss, but it will help you maintain overall scalp and hair heath.

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