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6 Tips to Prevent Hair Loss After Bariatric Surgery

A certain amount of hair loss is expected after bariatric surgery due to the stress of surgery on your body and the effect of rapid weight loss. Hair loss usually peaks about 3-4 months after surgery and may last up to 6 months. If you continue to have hair loss after 6 months then it may be nutritionally related.

The three biggest nutrients that can affect hair loss are….drumroll please…

  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Protein

These three nutrients have been proven in multiple studies to be helpful in mitigating hair loss after bariatric surgery. So how can you make sure you are getting adequate amounts of these nutrients?

Check your vitamin and mineral levels before surgery

If you are obese then you are at higher risk for micronutrient deficiencies. It is important to check your nutrient levels before surgery. In fact, The American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) recommends that all patients are prescreened for nutrient deficiencies before surgery. This helps correct deficiencies before surgery and give you the best outcome.

Start taking a multivitamin before surgery

Taking a multivitamin before surgery may help you in two ways. First, it may improve your nutritional status before surgery. And second, it will help you to develop the habit of taking a multivitamin daily since this will be crucial lifelong habit after surgery.

Take a quality multivitamin after surgery

There are so many multivitamins out there it can become dizzying. Follow your surgeon’s team advice for which multivitamin to use. Ideally, it should be chewable or liquid form during the first two months after surgery and then after that you can switch to capsule form. Higher quality vitamins tend to be more money than generic brands but the micronutrients in the higher quality vitamins, such as iron and zinc, are usually easier for your body to absorb.

Eat protein at every meal

This tip should come as no surprise. Since your stomach size is smaller after surgery it is important to include protein at each meal. Ideally, it should be a high quality protein such as eggs, fish, poultry, or dairy (if you can tolerate it!). Most bariatric programs recommend between 60-120 g protein daily but please follow your surgery center’s guidance. Depending on how far out you are from surgery you will likely need to supplement with protein drinks to meet your protein goals.

Check your vitamin and mineral levels after surgery

Every bariatric center is different but typically your doctor will monitor your labs multiple times during the first year after surgery and then yearly after that. It is much easier to correct a nutritional deficiency early on. It is important that you attend your follow-up appointments so your doctor can monitor your nutrient levels after surgery.

Eat your vitamins and minerals

Lastly, focus on getting your iron, zinc and protein from real food. Even though you can get these nutrients from your supplements, food sources are the best. Good sources of these nutrients include beans, chicken, turkey, or liver.

So what about biotin?

Despite its reputation, biotin has not been shown to be helpful in preventing hair loss unless you have a deficiency. However, I know lots of clients who swear by it!

Do you take biotin to prevent hair loss? Do you feel it works? Let me know in the comments below.

HI GoGoGail! There is some preliminary research to support collagen may be helpful for Hair growth in mice but no research conducted on humans. Collagen is recognized at safe, so I would ask yourself..."Do I notice a differenc ein my hair, nail or skin using this product?" If yes, then go for it, but if no then it may be a waste of money. Hope this helps :)

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Thanks for the article! I appreciate it the information!

I know my zinc and Iron levels were slightly done before surgery. I'm 4 weeks post op and just started taking zinc and iron supplements. I wonder if I'm too late in the game now to mitigate my impending hairloss because I waited 4 weeks post op to take them?

(Side note, I have been taking a Multivitamin daily, along with B12, B-Complex, Biotin and collagen, at least 1 month pre op!).

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I use Vital Proteins and I order it from their website but Walmart and Amazon sells it. It's animal or plant proteins that have been (loosely) shown to help strengthen skin, hair and nails. Some are skeptical but I honestly love it and see a difference. It's also a source of Protein, and can help your body break down protein supplements more effectively. It's not a substitute for your other protein sources but it's a great supplement.

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I 100% disagree. I did all of this and thought yay I'm one of the lucky ones until month 6 hit and my hair fell out in huge clumps. That lasted for about a year. All the research I did you can't prevent it and it has more to do where you hair is in the growth cycle when you have surgery. I still take Biotin daily to make my hair stronger and hope one day it gets back to where it was.

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