The consumption of alcohol can be healthy in moderation. However, the over-consumption of alcohol can lead to a variety of health problems, and may even cause a person to lose great amounts of hair. This is primarily due to the fact that alcohol can affect hair growth by increasing estrogen levels and decreasing levels of zinc in the body.
Hair has two main components: the shaft and the root, which connects the shaft to the scalp. Cells are formed at the root and eventually die, causing hair to grow. The hair itself is like a tissue that needs proper nourishment to stay healthy, and needs some of the same nutrients as bone tissue.
It is normal for healthy people to experience a small amount of regular hair loss. In fact, according to boloji.com, 10 percent of hair is in a resting phase, in which it can fall out at any time, while the other 90 percent of hair continuously grows at a rate of 1 cm a month. The growing phase of single strand of hair can last up to six years. However, some external factors, such as aging and malnutrition can make the cycle shorter than normal, such as alcohol abuse.
Increased levels of estrogen in both men and women are a leading cause of hair loss. Both alcoholism and binge drinking can increase estrogen levels. Therefore, a large amount of alcohol consumption may lead to hair loss in some individuals. Alcohol directly affects the nutrients in the hair, and can cause it to break at the roots.
The consumption of alcohol also decreases the levels of zinc in the body, which is a mineral that helps to keep the hair healthy. Higher levels of alcohol consumption lead to lower levels of zinc. A moderate drinker who already has a hair loss problem might consider taking a zinc supplement before alcohol consumption, or just avoid drinking.
Although there are claims that alcohol directly causes hair loss, alcohol alone does not usually cause massive amounts of hair loss. The exception would be individuals who are alcoholics. When seeing a doctor regarding a serious hair loss problem, ask about alcohol usage. In some cases, a doctor will recommend abstaining from alcohol. Otherwise, moderate consumption of alcohol, or a few drinks a week will not cause a great amount of hair loss.