Dairy Causes Hair Loss?!

Blog comment from reader:

Dairy causes hair loss. Inuit and Native Americans have no MPB at all, and dairy is not a part of their diets. Only when they start eating dairy and become westernized can they become susceptible to hair loss. Same with Asians. If you don’t believe this check this out. My mom’s dad had hair until he was 85 when he died, and was lactose intolerant. My uncle (mom’s brother) also has all his hair at age 60, and grew up in the same household as my grandfather. I’m 1/8 Native American from my dad’s side (he is 64 and is 1/4 Native American and has slight hair loss) and my hair is slightly thinning (but my hairline is the same). I have a feelign the dermatoligist could’ve made an erroneous opinion, but nevertheless, it could be right. And I am a big time natural gym rat, and I drink milk products like it’s my job. Everyday. You name it. Milk, cheese, pizza, whey protein, yogurt, etc. And I have 3 older brothers, two of which have no hair loss and hardly take in dairy, and one of which has slight thinning (according to me) and drinks milk like it’s his job. I am on minoxidil and omega 3 fatty acids, and am starting saw palmetto and also I stopped dairy products as of yesterday. And if you still don’t believe me check this out. My mom has a twin sister, and that sister has a son, who is 34 (I’m 24). He has no hair loss at all, and guess what, that’s right, he’s lactose intolerant. How do ya like them apples now?

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Email from same reader:

Let’s say there is a risk of hair loss directly associated with dairy consumption. If this is theoretically true, does this mean that if we stop dairy consumption the dormant hair follicles may grow more hair? Also, is the hormone problem in milk the same as the hormone problem in chicken and beef? In canada they banned growth hormone almost 10 years ago and, assuming most people there eat either chicken or steak, I haevn’t heard of a significant decrease in male pattern baldness.

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DairyYou raise some interesting connections with dairy products and diets in general that might be worth investigating. So while there may be some connection with dairy or diet and hair loss, I am afraid I can not tell that from your family history alone. In fact, your family history isn’t exactly proof — I’ve had lactose intolerant patients that are still obviously balding. Your cousin likely doesn’t have the hair loss gene expressing itself, meaning he dodged the genetic bullet on that. Or his hair loss may just show up late in life, although that is rare.

Thanks for the stimulating comments. I loved your questions and enthusiasm, but I won’t go so far as to say that dairy and hair loss are linked — just that it needs to be investigated in a scientific way.

Tags: dairy, milk, cheese, yogurt, hairloss, hair loss

18 thoughts on “Dairy Causes Hair Loss?!

  1. Do you really have lactose intolerant patients who are balding or are you just saying that? It’s hard to tell if people drink a lot of milk or not, and any celebrity can say they’re lactose intolerant or not, so it’s hard to find accurate information online. Speaking of accurate information, there’s so much bad information online that I can’t believe people actually take the time to write web pages and blogs for!

  2. Derek,
    Ha! No, I’m not just saying it. I’ve had patients over the years ask about their hair loss and mention any and all afflictions they have (including lactose issues). I’ve even had employees over the years that are lactose intolerant with MPB.

  3. I appreciate the reply! There is so much contradictory stuff online from interest groups at opposite poles that it can be a task in itself trying to decipher the right information from the wrong. There is one sub question related to this. Perhaps milk is not a cause of MPB, but could it be a secondary factor that may contribute to (faster) MPB? I’ve read that milk has Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 in it and apparantly that’s related to growth hormone. Similarly, when someone injects themselves with HGH, the HGH is only in their body for a brief time, and the IGF-1 is the thing that it’s turned into and does most of the work. Could this IGF-1 hormone and/or other hormones in milk be helping to kill off our hair follicles?

  4. I’ve been vegan for 4 years or so (no dairy at all) and I’m thinning like crazy. I haven’t noticed hair actually falling out, but thinning for sure. Its not so noticeable if i keep my hair longer on top, but I expect it to be noticeable in the next year or so.

  5. I think there may be a connection to consuming dairy and hair loss, especially in women. I’m going to cut back on dairy and I’ll report back. To the vegan above, soy products may not be good for hair loss either.

  6. definitely scientific studies need to be done. no doubt the dairy industry has been pushing product on the population like it’s vital to our health. is it really necessary to drink milk? i think not but when i was a kid the propaganda was amazing…

  7. @Amanda If you’re going to give out information on the web, especially on a topic this sensitive, please make sure you’re right in what you say. “Soy products may not be good for hair loss either.” Research soy and hai rloss, and you will see soy is beneficial to hair growth.


  9. Hi
    I have never had a problem with hair loss. I am 47 and never really been a milk drinker. About 8 months ago I ate some cereal on a whim and it was great. I started losing a lot of hair ( i don’t know if its lactose intolerance- i am looking for info) When I would wash my hair it would fall out in my hands. It was weird, there was no pulling sensation, it just fell out. Stopped eating the cereal, got tired of it. A few days ago I started eating it again. Hair falling out. The lady who cuts my hair says my hair is healthy. No scalp problems and its not falling out in patches, like alapeaca (sp). Also my skin broke out. Never had a problem with blemishes until the milk thing. And not just a little break out. Acne! Does this sound reasonable to anyone or have I lost my mind? Thanks

  10. I agree with the poster of the comment. I was recently diagnosed with cicatricial alopecia. I have noticed an increase in hairloss over the past 2 years. I saw on The Doctors TV Show that dairy causes inflammation in the body. Your hair falls out at a time when your follicles are inflammed, at least in my case, and I ate ice cream or had milk and cookies at least 5 times per week. I have stopped eating ice cream and now buy milk alternatives and have been doing this for about 6 months now and I will see if I can hold on to my hair. Furthermore, zinc is good for hairloss (alopecia) most likely because zinc is an anti-inflammatory.

  11. Elsbeth, yes you are right. The show I watched, The Doctors, was speaking about acne. An outside dermatologist brought in a patient that had acne and changed her diet which took out dairy and her acne completely cleared up.

  12. I love cheese glorious cheese, no fat milk, ice cream, yogurt, kefir, sour cream, coffee creamer, lowfat half and half,….you get my point. I too eat it everyday as a lacto-ovo-vegetarian. Food aint good if it dont have some dairy. I know Im lactose intolerant. So is my mom and others in my family. Thing is, im hyper-sensitive. You know if you are allergic to something you will develop inflammation in different areas of your body. It doesnt have to be a rash or asphyxiation for you to be actually allergic. Stomach bloating after taking in dairy is an inflammatory response. My mom had clear skin as a teen but for some reason she had adult acne. She wasnt a big dairy eater either because back in the day but she did eat some…teens didnt eat a lot cuz they were active. Anyways, she landed in the hospital from lifelong anemia and blood clot in her stomach. The doctors found the blood clot in her stomach to be puzzling. Why her stomach? The Hematologist vowed find the cause as it stumped him. That was last year. My mom had a checkup this year. she always thought fleas or bedbugs must be in the house although they arent as she is always itching and told her doctor. The doctor called her back after her appt and told her she was allergic to milk. Go freakin figure. Adult acne as all acne is an inflammation of the skin. Not because its dirty but because you are allergic to something and its freakin out. My mom was a big dairy eater later in life then she slowed down on her consumption. Me on the other hand, i have more servings than i should in one day. If shes allergic, i must be hyper allergic to dairy. My hair fell out in an ophiasis pattern and the first thing a doctor will tell a black female is that their hair fell out from using wigs or braids or weaves. It may be true for some, but not for all. Nevermind that you may have a real health issue that caused it. Anyways, i learned stimulants in coffee and chocolate caused my hair loss along with soy. If soy can arrest a tumor and shrink it, imagine what it would do to your hair follicles. And they put this crap in every black hair care product. i stopped drinking coffee and no teas for me and no chocolate, but my hair is growing back in. A bit too slow though. Now for years ive been wondering why my lips keep chaffing every freaking day. Now im guessing what it may be….dairy. Im expecting with the elimination of dairy, no more acid reflux or heartburn, no more lower lip peeling and maximum hair growth. Im also expecting my iron levels to really go up so no more anemia since calcium blocks it. And im expecting lower cholesterol and weight loss. If i get all these results from no more dairy…i’ll let you know.

  13. Found this blog by accident – and the milk/baldness thing is true for me. I went on a health food kick about 3 months ago, which included milk/cereal several times a day, and my hair started thinning within two weeks. In addition I started getting severe arthritis in my hands and very bad skin outbreaks. I did not relate the thinning hair to the milk. I remembered something my uncle said about arthritis and milk – he gave up milk and his arthritis cleared up. So stopped drinking milk. Within three weeks most of the arthritis cleared. Within in about 5 weeks my hair was FILLING BACK IN. My skin cleared up also. I was drinking milk before the big health food kick (which also caused GI problems), but really upped the milk intake during that time. So had some thinning of hair, skin problems…all that stuff but to a lesser degree before going full bore on the milk. Now that I have been off the milk for about 6 weeks or so, I look 15 years younger and feel at least 20 years younger. Don’t know if it is the milk, or something in the process, but it will definitely cause balding – not to mention a host of other problems.

  14. I have gone to numerous Doctors for my hair loss. Has gotten worse in 2 years.. Internist, Dermatologists, and even a Rhymetologist for a possible auto immune problem..I am a Vegetarian, was eating a lot of soy at one time, eat a lot of cheese..and find I have itchy ears, and a dematisits of sorts on the back of my neck (scalp)..They just want to give you topical..steroids to clear things up.. It has gotten worse..All the blood tests show nothing.. They say it must be stress??? I keep asking to have one done for food allergies..Only my D showed a little low and iron. Now, I just saw a movie..Yes, movie..concerning a woman loosing her hair, because of MERCURY poisoning .. I then read, about soft cheeses have a mercury content?? I think we need to figure things out ourselves sometimes.. Dairy could be the problem. Stopping eating sugars too.. I love my cheeses..so, maybe I may just eat hard cheese and really start eating just totally natural foods and organic if I can afford to.. This was a good blog..

  15. I can testify to this. I tend to go on extreme diets and one diet in particular that had no dairy and very little fat or oil, consisting of mostly fish and vegetables gave me the best hair I’ve ever had.

    Years later on a more lax diet eating some junk food and lots of dairy I noticed that my hair became thin, lank and greasy. It made me worried and depressed.

    I never put it down to the dairy at the time. I researched the link between diet and hair thinning and several times the link was made between dairy and thinning hair but also fats and oils in general, and thinning hair.

    However, the diet that gave me thick, lustrous silky hair was also a diet that made me miserable. A typical evening meal would be boiled white fish with boiled vegetables. No oils or fats.

    But I am middle aged now and I have seen for myself the clear relationship between diet and hair growth. Eliminate dairy and your hair will thank you, but it may take months to notice the difference.

  16. I suffere from hair loss onces I consum anything with milk but as much as I lose the hair I get saws on my head throughout if I have any dairy I can have short hair for 5 to 10 years without cutting it.my scalp hurts and my hair never grows.I never got diagnosed because my African family didn’t believe in allergies.you eat what’s there until you realise that it makes you sick.my kids are all born with this condition there lose hair within the first week of birth if there formular Fed but if it’s just breast milk the kids don’t suffer from these horrible bad skin issues and hair loss.I have had bad skin since I was a kid and now I can control what I eat I have beautiful body skin that itchies now and then if I ever take in milk..

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