For proper functioning of the body cells, potassium is a much-needed mineral. If there is a deficiency of potassium in the body, the cells may not function normally, resulting in many side effects, including hair loss. In this HairGlamourista article, we will let you know how potassium deficiency and hair loss are interrelated as well as some effective ways of overcoming this deficiency in the body.
Hair Loss Due to Potassium Deficiency
Research has shown that potassium deficiency in most women is the result of intake of excess salt in their diet. What happens is that when a woman consumes a lot of salt, the excess sodium gets accumulated around the hair follicles. This means that potassium is unable to reach the cells, resulting in hair loss. Although, this may not be the only reason behind potassium deficiency in the body, yet it is one of the most common ones.
Potassium deficiency in the body, which is medically known as hypokalemia, may have numerous causes behind it, such as, lack of potassium in the diet, increased urination resulting in excess potassium excretion from the body, intake of any medicine which reduces the potassium levels in the body, and certain diseases which increase bowel motions. Due to all or any of these reasons, a person may suffer from hair loss.
The recommended daily intake (RDI) of potassium, according to the Food and Drug Administration, is 4700 mg. So, in order to supply the body with the required amount of potassium, foods which are rich in this mineral, such as bananas, lean meats, rice, apricots, avocados, dates, cooked Brussels sprouts, orange, pears, raisins, prunes, yogurt, skimmed milk, baked potatoes, spinach, peanuts and Lima beans, should be consumed daily. Besides these, eating a well-balanced diet, which supplies the body with the right amount of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins and fats, is equally important. Limiting the intake of salt is recommended too, to aid in proper potassium absorption by the cells.
There are medication and treatment methods available to treat this condition. To start with, potassium supplements can be taken to increase the level of this mineral in the body. Then there are topical creams, which if applied to the hair, break the excess sodium which collects around a hair follicle, allowing potassium to reach the cells. One of the most popular topical creams is Minoxidil 2%.
Spironolactone is a water pill or a potassium-sparing diuretics, which reduces the amount of fluid in the body, however, does not lead to potassium loss. This means that it maintains the right potassium levels in the body, preventing hair loss caused by increased urination and bowel motions. All these medications can prove to be effective in treating hair loss, provided they are combined with a proper, healthy diet. Also, the topical medications need to be applied for a very long time i.e. till the deficiency in the body is overcome completely, in order to be truly effective.
For those of you who are looking for an alternative treatment for potassium deficiency, a few teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, if taken everyday, can increase the levels on this mineral in the body. Apple cider vinegar can be used in cooking or used as a dressing or taken in its natural liquid form with water, to increase the potassium levels in the body.
Hair loss can occur due to deficiency of many other vitamins and minerals in the body, such as vitamin C and zinc, so it is important that besides high potassium foods, foods rich in these are consumed in everyday diet too. Eating disorders, certain diseases or medicines, might be the culprit behind potassium deficiency. That's why, before beginning with any treatment or diet change, it is recommended that you consult a doctor for proper diagnosis.