This is not the
first time I have heard this story from new vegans. I suspect you
are experiencing telogen effluvium:
McPhee SJ, Papadakis,
Gonzales, Tierney. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment (CMDT)
on CD-ROM 1998 Appleton Lange 1998 Norwalk, 1990 ISBN 0-8385-1480-4
effluvium is transitory increase in the number of hairs in the telogen
(resting) phase of the hair growth cycle. This may occur spontaneously,
may appear at the termination of pregnancy, may be precipitated
by "crash dieting," high fever, stress from surgery or
shock, or malnutrition, or may be provoked by hormonal contraceptives.
Whatever the cause, telogen effluvium usually has a latent period
of 2-4 months. The prognosis is generally good. The condition is
diagnosed by the presence of large numbers of hairs with white bulbs
coming out upon gentle tugging of the hair. Counts of hairs lost
by the patient on combing or shampooing often exceed 150 per day,
compared to an average of 70-100. In one study, a major cause of
telogen effluvium was found to be iron deficiency, and the hair
counts bore a clear relationship to serum iron levels.
alopecia is becoming increasingly important. Incriminated drugs
include thallium, excessive and prolonged use of vitamin A, retinoids,
antimitotic agents, anticoagulants, clofibrate (rarely), antithyroid
drugs, oral contraceptives, trimethadione, allopurinol, propranolol,
indomethacin, amphetamines, salicylates, gentamicin, and levodopa.
While chemotherapy-induced alopecia is very distressing, it must
be emphasized to the patient before treatment that it is invariably
body regards the vegan diet as a form of "crash dieting,"
and with your history of a 50 pound weight loss, not without good
reason. I don't think protein deficiency is a likely cause here,
but your Calorie intake has probably dropped, producing not only
the desired weight loss but the undesired reduction in hair cell
You also mention
that you are taking a vitamin A supplement and that may not be a
good idea in view of the above. The problem is that the establishment
has mislabelled retinol as "vitamin A." Retinol is an
essential metabolite but you don't need it in your diet if you're
eating enough leafy greens and carrots because those foods contain
a lot of beta-carotene, the true vitamin A. Beta-carotene can be
split in the body into two molecules of retinol.
is usually transitory and corrects itself. In addition to iron deficiency,
zinc deficiency has also been associated with it and since zinc
is a limiting nutrient on a vegan diet anyway, a 15 mg zinc tablet
daily might be of use.
I went to: http://www.hacres.com/diet2.asp
and read up
on the Hallelujah diet. It sounds fine, however if you're consuming
the recommended amount of carrot juice, your palms should be turning
yellow by now. That's carotenemia, the only symptom that you're
getting more beta carotene than you really need. By contrast, excess
retinol intake causes industrial strength toxicity.
out Udo's Choice Perfected Oil Blend:
Flax oil*, sunflower oil*, oil from germ of rice and oats, medium
chain triglycerides (MCT), evening primrose oil, lecithin, d-alpha
tocopherol (*from certified organically grown seeds)."
This is probably
also fine although the source of the triglycerides is not stated
and I would want to know for sure that it's not from animals.
There are only
two essential fatty acids, linoleic (LA) and alpha-linolenic (ALA-the
first of the omega-3 FA). Most everyone gets more than enough LA
and the best source of ALA is flaxseed and leafy greens. I expect
Udo Erasmus has taken all this into account however you should keep
in mind that all oils are 100% fat.
Harris MD received a degree in physics from the University of
California Berkeley, where he earned Phi Beta Kappa honors. He received
his degree in medicine from the University of California at San
Francisco, and received his postgraduate training at San Diego County
Hospital. He holds a Medical License in the State of Hawaii. He
has been an Emergency Department physican since 1963, and the Director
of the Kaiser Permanente Vegan Lifestyle Clinic on Oahu until his
retirement in 1998. Dr. Harris is the author of The Scientific Basis
In addition, he was the 1950 Big Ten Trampoline Champion, is
an accomplished hangglider and commercial pilot, and at age 70 became
a skydiver with 108 jumps to date. Dr. Harris has been vegetarian
since 1950, and vegan since 1963.