A hairdresser has shared a tip for potentially identifying if you could be suffering from vitamin D deficiency.
Sharing a clip of her combing a client’s hair to TikTok, the salon owner, who goes under the name @westbrookco.thesalon, explained that the multiple strands of hair her client was losing could be an indication of a lack of vitamin D.
In the accompanying caption for the video, which has been viewed more than three million times, the stylist explains: “This is what vitamin deficiency looks like.
“If your hair looks like this as you comb, you need to talk to your doctor, it can get better.”
In the clip, the hairdresser explains she’d spotted strands of her client’s hair coming out as she shampooed it, and encouraged her to visit the doctor to check.
After running tests, it was revealed that the client did in fact have low Vitamin D levels.
Since she shared the clip, it has clocked up over 87K likes, with many viewers offering their thanks for drawing attention to the issue.
“I have to take vitamin D also cause my hair falls out,” one wrote.
“I had hair loss and my dermatologist also had me get tested for vitamin D too,” another commented.
“I have been having this hair loss and just found out I have low vit D and my hair is doing this,” another added.
Watch: Is COVID-19 causing hair loss?
What the experts say
Anabel Kingsley, a consultant trichologist at Philip Kingsley, told Yahoo UK hair is non-essential tissue, so it is the last part of the body to receive the nutrients we intake.
Even a small deficiency can cause hair loss - with the most common deficiencies being iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D and zinc deficiency.
Dr Daniel Cichi from Doctor-4-U explains that vitamin D deficiency has been linked to hair loss, particularly a form known as alopecia areata, which is an autoimmune disorder that causes the hair to fall out in patches.
“Evidence of those with alopecia having low levels of vitamin D suggests that there is a link between the two,” he explains.
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According to Dr Cichi, vitamin D has many roles including supporting the immune system, supporting bone and muscle growth, as well as supporting the formation of new and healthy hair follicles and stimulating them to encourage the hair to grow, and may also prevent hair from falling out too soon.
“Nutrients are important for hair growth and you often find that when you lack the essential nutrients such as vitamin D, your hair, skin and nails are affected and may be the first noticeable signs that you’re lacking in these vitamins,” he explains.
“Of course, there are many reasons why your hair may be falling out: stress, illness, or simply not looking after your hair, are all factors in this.
“But if hair loss is accompanied by other signs of vitamin D deficiency then it’s worth having a blood test to check your levels of vitamin D in the blood.”
Other signs that you may be deficient in vitamin D include getting frequent infections or illnesses such as colds and flu, day time fatigue or weak and painful bones and muscles.
“You may also have lower back pain, and you may notice a change in your mood,” Dr Cichi continues.
“Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to low mood in particular, and may even be a cause of depression and other mental illnesses.
“Research into this is ongoing, but it’s thought that vitamin D has an important role in healthy brain function, and those with vitamin D deficiency may be more susceptible to depression.”