Can Copper of Zinc Affect Hair Loss?

Many questions from readers come in every week regarding some hair loss related questions. Here is a recent one:

“Dear Zenagen Can copper or zinc play a role in hair loss, I have heard conflicting reports regarding the issue.” – Sueanne G. NY

This is probably a more complicated question than simply copper and zinc cause/effect on hair loss and alopecia but here is some information.

The trace mineral Copper is necessary in the production of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is important in carrying oxygen to tissues including the scalp. Good sources of copper are liver again, seafood, nuts, and seeds. Another key mineral vital in the production of hemoglobin is iron (Fe). Iron is found in two forms, heme and non-heme; heme iron is much easier to absorb into the system. This is where the problem lies. Red meat is a good source of iron, however red meat is non-heme iron and is difficult for the body to absorb, as are many iron (Fe) supplements. Good heme iron sources are green leafy vegetables, kidney beans, and bran.

Additionally, one can increase the absorption of non-heme iron into the body by consuming non-heme food sources and vitamin C sources in the same meal. Zinc is another vital component to healthy hair, being that it is responsible for cell production, tissue growth and repair, and the maintenance of the oil-secreting glands of the scalp. It also plays a large role in protein synthesis and collagen formation. For this reason, zinc is important for both hair maintenance and dandruff prevention. Most Americans are deficient in zinc. Most foods of animal origin, particularly seafood, contain good amounts of zinc; oysters are particularly rich in zinc. Zinc is also found in eggs and milk, although in much smaller amounts.

Zinc from sources such as nuts, legumes, and natural grains is of a different type than those found in animal sources and is not easily used by the body, although oats are a good source of zinc that is readily used by the body…

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