Can too much vitamin D lead to hair loss?

Q: I have always had abundant hair, even after menopause. The last few years, though, I have been shedding hair excessively, more on one side than the other. I have to tease the thin side to match the rest.

I’ve tried specialty shampoos and scalp treatments. My stylist says my scalp is healthy.

I had radiation for breast cancer more than five years ago and that did not affect my hair. I am in excellent health.

An article I saw about vitamin D toxicity has me wondering. It said one symptom that can occur when taking 5,000 IU daily is hair loss. That jumped out at me, since I have been taking this dose for several years.

I stopped taking all vitamin D three weeks ago. Do you know if this is really a cause of hair loss? How long would I have to be off vitamin D to detoxify my body? I plan to resume taking it, but at a lower dose .

A: Your story intrigued us, and we searched the medical literature for an answer to your questions. Vitamin D and its receptor are intimately involved in hair growth. A deficiency in this nutrient can lead to hair loss (Dermatology Online Journal, Feb. 15, 2010 ). We could, however, find no research on the effects of excess vitamin D on hair loss.

We did find that COVID-19 infections can lead to “telogen effluvium,” in which hair falls out in clumps (Irish Journal of Medical Science, Aug. 31, 2021). If you had a COVID-19 infection before your symptoms began, that might explain the situation.

Because vitamin D is fat soluble, it might take quite a while to “detoxify.” Your health care provider could order a test of 25-hydroxyvitamin D to check your blood levels. That would guide you regarding supplementation.

Q: After reading an article you wrote about cinnamon, I started adding ½ teaspoon of Ceylon cinnamon to the dry coffee grounds in my four-cup brew pot daily. That’s my daily ration of half-caf coffee.

Before that, my A1c had risen to nearly 6. Consequently, I was prediabetic, but I do not want to take metformin. I will have my A1c checked again in several months and hopefully it will be lower.

Thank you for offering alternatives to medications. They often come with too many side effects for my comfort.

A: Controlling blood glucose is crucial for good health. There’s good reason to expect your daily dose of cinnamon will help you do that (Clinical Nutrition, April 2019).

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