Question of the Month
I recently read an article that stated high
levels of mercury can also cause people to lose their hair. I eat a lot of tuna,
salmon and mahi-mahi and am wondering if this could be my problem.
While there is concern about levels of mercury in
fish, I am not aware of any proof that people are having harmful effects from
it. There is no question that high levels of mercury can be harmful but unclear
about lower levels one would get from eating a lot of fish. This is particularly
confusing since fish is generally the healthiest form of animal food. Of course
the long term answer is to stop mercury from polluting waterways.
Re hair however, there is not the least evidence that mercury is a factor in
hair loss. Unfortunately, for various reasons, many come up with causes for
which there is no evidence. This is the case with mercury. There is no evidence
that diet or deficiencies, except perhaps iron, is a cause of alopecia in North
America or Europe. When diet is a factor it is either in people with very
substantial weight loss, or with diseases which interfere with nutrition.
The important thing is that getting effective treatment depends on accurate
diagnosis. Although there can be many causes of hair loss, most is hormonal. If
alopecia is hormonal, then treatment should
be directed at correcting this as discussed in my
Hope this is helpful.
Geoffrey Redmond, MD
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