Jan 2021
Jacqui Lewis - BHSc Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine

Hair Loss in the Bariatric Community

Woman facing a mirror, worried about her hair

Hair loss is a cause of concern for WLS patients.

Hair loss can arise after surgery due to the lower intake and reduced absorption of:
protein, iron, biotin, zinc, vitamin B 12, and healthy fats.

Supplements are required in order to help prevent hair loss.
A specific bariatric nutrient formula can help prevent or help to stop it continuing.

Cause of Hair Loss After Weight Loss Surgery

After WLS, accelerated hair loss may be associated with:

- inconsistent use of bariatric specific multi vitamin formula
- or inadequate diet or limited range of foods.

Hair Loss occurs between the 3rd-6th month after surgery and can last 6-12 months!

In the early stages, this may reverse on its own and is generally related to the shock of surgery and rapid weight loss.

If hair loss persists more than 6 months, it is most likely related to nutritional deficiency.
Hair will always be recovered given correct conditions, as the hair follicle is not damaged, but healthy habits are very important for life after surgery!

Key Nutrients Related to Hair Loss


Deficiency is related to hair loss. Under chewing food, low stomach acid, vomiting, food aversions, alcohol consumption all impact protein levels.

Minimum recommended protein intake is 60-80g / day


Is the nutrient most related to hair loss – 65 mg elemental iron 2x/day is recommended.


Deficiency may affect the colour+texture of hair, and can be reversed with B12 supplementation. 350/500 mcg per day orally is the recommendation for maintenance of B12 levels and prevention of hair loss.


Encourages growth and development of hair. In cases of hair loss, 15mg / day is recommended.


15 ml of flaxseed oil is a good source of essential fats recommended in patients with hair loss.
2 tbsp olive oil also showed improvements.


A lack can cause loss of hair colour and hair thinning.

Focus on Improved Hair Quality

Patients who present with hair loss six months’ post-surgery could benefit from following these recommendation daily:

- Intake 80g of protein for women and 100g for men (with sufficient amounts of L-lysine, 1.5 to 2g/day)
- Add 15 mL of flaxseed oil, 2.5g of biotin
- 2 bn multi capsules/tablets with minerals
- 350 to 500g/day of B12 (BN Multi has 500 mcg/dose)
- 65 mg of elemental iron twice daily (Always under guidance)

Ask your dietitian for more info.

Jacqui Lewis
BHSc Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine