Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. Its deficiency, known as hypocalcemia, can lead to effects on the epidermal, capillary, bone, muscle, or cardiac levels. It is often attributed a role in hair loss. But is this really the case?
How to recognise a calcium deficiency?
Calcium is a vital mineral for the proper functioning of the human body. It is also the most abundant mineral in the body. It is found particularly in the bones, muscle cells and in the blood. It is essential for blood clotting, maintaining a normal heart rhythm, muscle contraction, the proper functioning of many enzymes, and so on.
The termhypocalcaemia is used to describe a calcium deficiency. Hypocalcaemia is diagnosed when the plasma concentration of calcium is below 2.20 mmol/L. It can be caused by poor dietary habits, certain medications or kidney disorders. Fractures, cramps, hypertension, vitamin deficiencies, lactose intolerance… are all signs resulting from a calcium deficiency. These characteristic signs usually only appear when the calcium level is low for a prolonged period.
Does a calcium deficiency affect hair loss?
According to scientific literature, calcium is essential for healthy hair growth, even though its mode of action is not yet very clear. A deficiency in key nutrients, particularly calcium, will cause an imbalance in our body which, in turn, will affect the health of the hair.
A study conducted in 2016 demonstrated that mice nursed by a mother with a diet severely deficient in calcium and vitamin D developed alopecia at statistically significant rates, and hair growth resumed normally once the mother's diet was corrected. Indeed, vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium.
If there is a deficiency in one of these nutrients, the other is also likely to be at very low levels. However, hair follicles have vitamin D receptors (VDR: Vitamin D Receptor) that play a role in hair renewal and growth. A study showed that the expression of vitamin D receptors (VDR) was increased during the anagen phase. Vitamin D thus helps to contribute to hair growth by promoting the anagen phase (growth phase). One could suppose that a calcium deficiency would indicate a vitamin D deficiency, which could promote hair loss.
Another clinical study was conducted over a period of 4 months on 73 women aged between 15 and 45 years who were experiencing hair loss. The co-administration of zinc sulphate capsules and calcium pantothenate tablets resulted in hair growth in the patients. These results are encouraging, but not yet sufficient to conclude that calcium stimulates hair growth, as it is possible that these effects may be due solely to zinc and not to calcium.
It is still challenging to definitively state that a calcium deficiency will inevitably lead to hair loss. However, the daily intake of calcium plays a significant role in hair health and its continuous and healthy growth, as it is an essential mineral for the proper functioning of the body. The recommended daily intake of calcium for an adult is 900 mg.
DEMAY M. B. The hair cycle and vitamin D receptor. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics (2012).
MADY L. J. & al. The transient role for calcium and vitamin D during the developmental hair follicle cycle. Journal of Investigative Dermatology (2016).
SIAVASH M. & al. Comparing the effects of zinc sulfate, calcium pantothenate, their combination and minoxidil solution regimens on controlling hair loss in women: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Research in Pharmacy Practice (2017).