Suffering loss of hair post-Covid? Indian experts recommend these 5 things that actually work to tackle it – GQ India

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A number of people are experiencing severe loss of hair after recovering from Covid 19. Research suggests that hair loss post-Coronaivus is due to stress and nutritional deficiency. We spoke to leading dermatologists and nutritionists to learn about which foods to include in our diet and other things we can do to overcome this problem. Here’s what they had to say. 
“While many people think of this as loss of hair, it’s actually hair shedding. The medical name for this type of hair shedding is telogen effluvium. It happens when more hair than normal enters the shedding (telogen) phase of the hair growth life cycle. A fever or illness can force more hair into the shedding phase,” says Dr Ruby Tandon, Aesthetic Dermatologist & Medical Director at REVIV India. People typically shred upto 100 hair strands per day. Telogen effluvium can cause around 300 strands to fall out every day for up to 6 months, which can cause a lot of anxiety.
During recovery, try to maintain a nutritious diet with sufficient protein intake. Include food such as eggs, chicken, soybean, paneer, seafood, milk, cheese etc. “We have to understand that the virus attacks the immune system. As it’s a battle that happens over weeks, you require huge amounts of protein to rebuild your white blood cells. Also, there is a lot of muscle tissue damage because the body turns towards the muscles to provide these necessary proteins. To combat Covid-19, the immune system sends emergency signals to the entire body saying don't focus on the synthesis of skin and hair because these can be compromised while you are saving the body. Hence, this results in bad skin and loss of hair during this period. To combat this, increase your protein intake to 1.5 g per kg of body weight,” states Ryan Fernando, celebrity and sports nutritionist and founder of QUA Nutrition. 
“A lot of experts are recommending supplements and a high protein diet to fight post covid hair loss, but no one seems to be talking about your gut health. Focusing on a healthy digestive system by adding prebiotic foods (garlic, onion, banana) and probiotic foods (curd, yogurt, kombucha), and increasing hydration will aid the absorption of nutrients in your body that will prevent hair loss and promote new hair growth,” adds Mac Singh, dietician and founder, Fitelo.
“To prevent hair loss or accelerate hair growth, one has to consume a number of vitamins and minerals. Zinc, iron, B-vitamins (especially B7 biotin and B9 folate), and vitamin D3 are the important ones here. Seafood (especially shellfish), green leafy vegetables like spinach, dairy products like cheese are some of the foods you should include in your diet. That being said, Vitamin D3 is the most important, not just for hair loss but also for fighting covid. Egg yolks are a good source of Vitamin D,” says Rihana Qureshi, certified nutritionist and strength coach.
“Besides drinking enough water, sleeping well and keeping stress at bay, include certain foods in your diet that will help with the problem of hair fall. These include 10-15 curry leaves a day, eggs, almonds and flaxseeds,” remarks Kamna Bhandari, lifestyle coach and co-founder, Intermittent Fasting & Mindful Living.
“It’s very important to reduce mental stress. Practice breathing exercises or meditation to tackle stress. Additionally, sleep 7 to 8 hours daily, for your body to recover well. Also, exercise regularly. I recommend exercising for 30-45 minutes, 3/5 times a week,” adds Dr Tandon. 
It’s advisable to take supplements, especially after recovering from a viral infection. However, it’s important to consult a doctor or a nutritionist for the right prescription of supplements. “High levels of chronic stress can result in various health issues including hair loss. Post covid, I recommend doing a blood test and checking a few parameters before adding supplements to your diet,” says nutritionist Neha Sahaya. 
“In order to control hair fall and improve hair growth, it’s crucial to supplement your body with nutrients like clean proteins, biotin and plant based vitamins and minerals. B12 and Vitamin D should be added to the diet to help regrowth of hair follicles. Moreover, Vitamin C aids recovery from post covid oxidative stress,” states Subiya Baiganpalli, nutrition consultant and dietetics at OZiva.
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