Promoting healthy hair growth through hormone balance

As a nutritionist and someone who has experienced hair loss, I understand the crucial role of diet in maintaining hormonal balance and promoting overall health.


Hormones underpin many functions in the body, and when these are imbalanced, it can lead to issues such as fatigue, itchy skin and hair loss. High testosterone levels, in particular, may contribute to hair loss in women.

In this article, I will explore the connection between high testosterone levels and hair loss, and what you can do from a nutritional standpoint to help with this. By making informed dietary choices, you can potentially address imbalances and support healthy hair growth.

High testosterone and hair loss

​​High testosterone levels in women can contribute to hair loss through various mechanisms. Here's a breakdown of how this hormonal imbalance can affect hair health:

  • Testosterone can be converted into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) by the enzyme 5-alpha reductase. In women with high testosterone levels, excess testosterone can be converted to DHT, which binds to hair follicles. This binding process can shrink the follicles, weaken them, and eventually lead to hair thinning or loss.
  • Hair growth follows a natural cycle that consists of three phases: anagen (growth), catagen (transitional), and telogen (resting). High levels of testosterone can disturb this cycle, leading to an imbalance in the duration of each phase. This disruption can result in more hair follicles entering the resting (telogen) phase prematurely, leading to increased hair shedding and reduced new hair growth.
  • Some individuals may have hair follicles that are more sensitive to the effects of androgens, including testosterone. When testosterone levels are elevated, these sensitive follicles can experience miniaturisation, becoming progressively smaller and producing thinner, weaker hair strands. Over time, this can lead to visible hair loss.

It's important to note that while high testosterone levels can contribute to hair loss in women, it's not the sole factor. Other factors like genetics, age, underlying medical conditions (e.g. polycystic ovary syndrome), and environmental factors can also play a role.

How can nutrition help with hair loss?

Proper nutrition forms the foundation of optimal hormonal function, and when it comes to high testosterone levels and hair loss in women, specific dietary factors can influence hormone regulation and promote healthy hair follicles.

Eat a balanced diet

Consuming a well-rounded, balanced diet is essential. Ensure that your meals include a variety of nutrient-dense foods, including:

  • Protein: Opt for lean sources such as poultry, fish, legumes, and tofu to support hair growth and repair.
  • Healthy fats: Incorporate sources like avocados, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish to provide essential fatty acids that aid hormone production and maintain hair health.
  • Complex carbohydrates: Choose whole grains, fruits, and vegetables to provide fibre, vitamins, and minerals while preventing blood sugar imbalances that can affect hormone levels.
  • Vitamins and minerals: Include foods rich in iron, zinc, biotin, vitamin C, and vitamin E to support healthy hair follicles. Leafy greens, nuts, seeds, citrus fruits, and eggs are excellent choices.

Address insulin sensitivity

Insulin resistance and high insulin levels can contribute to hormonal imbalances. To promote insulin sensitivity:

  • Choose low-glycemic foods: Opt for whole grains, vegetables, and legumes over refined carbohydrates and sugary snacks to stabilise blood sugar levels.
  • Incorporate fibre: Include fibre-rich foods like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains to slow glucose absorption and improve insulin response.

Optimise gut health

A healthy gut microbiome is crucial for hormone regulation and nutrient absorption. Consider the following:

  • Probiotic-rich foods: Include fermented foods like yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi to support a healthy gut.
  • Fibre-rich foods: Consume prebiotic-rich foods such as onions, garlic, asparagus, and oats to nourish beneficial gut bacteria.

Healthy hair nutrients

While obtaining nutrients from whole foods is ideal, certain supplements may support hormonal balance and hair health, such as omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish, biotin found in egg yolks, and zinc which is essential for hair follicle health and hormone regulation.

By adopting a balanced diet, focusing on nutrient-dense foods, and considering specific dietary recommendations, you can support hormonal balance and promote healthy hair growth. However, if you are experiencing hair loss and want to explore your hormone levels further, I offer hormone testing, DUTCH Plus, at The Autoimmunity Nutritionist clinic, which can check your testosterone levels and determine whether you are more likely to produce excess DHT. Please book a free discovery call with me, or take a look at my website to find out more.

In addition, on 10 July 2023, I am rerunning the Hair Growth Reviver programme live. If you are experiencing hair shedding or alopecia, or your hair quality has changed recently, this can help you to restore and accelerate healthy hair growth with diet and lifestyle changes as part of a supportive group with meal plans and weekly coaching calls. You can learn more about it on my website.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Nutritionist Resource are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London W1G & Harrogate HG1
Written by V. J. Hamilton, Autoimmune Disease Expert | BSc (Immunology), DipION, mBANT
London W1G & Harrogate HG1

VJ Hamilton is a qualified Nutritional Therapist and member of BANT, focusing on autoimmunity including inflammatory skin disorders, fatigue & neurological issues as well as gut health. VJ has a BSc in Biochemistry and Immunology which she uses in her practice, using only evidence-based nutritional therapies to support chronic conditions.

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