Could Heavy Metals Be At The Root Of Your Hair Loss?

Hair loss can be embarrassing, frustrating, and downright stressful. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, man or woman, losing hair is never a welcome development. 

Unfortunately, hair loss affects millions of people for a variety of reasons throughout the life cycle. Well known causes of hair loss include aging, hormones, stress, and poor diet. However, there is one piece to the hair loss puzzle that often goes unmentioned — heavy metals. 

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • The three ways heavy metals cause hair loss
  • The five heavy metals primarily indicated in hair loss
  • Tips to improve hair health naturally 
  • The essential step you must take to combat hair loss

How Heavy Metals Cause Hair Loss

There are a few different ways in which heavy metal toxicity can result in hair loss. The most straightforward way is the ability of heavy metals to directly interfere with the growth of hair by inhibiting the binding power of keratin. 

Keratin is a type of structural protein that provides strength to your hair and nails. Heavy metals weaken the bonds of keratin, resulting in abnormal development of the hair shaft. This makes the hair shaft increasingly sensitive to breakage[1].

That’s what heavy metals do. They poison different proteins and functions in the body. Hair thinning and hair loss is just ONE symptom of how heavy metals poison the body. 

Another way in which heavy metals may interfere with normal hair growth is through their effect on your hormonal system. Your hair growth cycle can be largely affected by hormonal imbalances, as exemplified in women with PCOS that often notice hair loss[2].

And finally, heavy metals can instigate something called Telogen Effluvium, which is a type of hair loss disorder tied to your stress response[4]. 

Therefore, exposure to heavy metals can both directly and indirectly, lead to changes in hair growth, and potential hair loss. 

The five heavy metals that have been primarily indicated in hair loss include arsenic, thallium, mercury, cadmium, and copper. 

Let’s take a brief look at how you may be exposed to each of these metals.

How Arsenic Causes Hair Loss

Chronic exposure to arsenic typically results from conventional (not organic) chickens and eggs and water. It’s also commonly found in rice. 

Arsenic is used in a range of pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides, and can also be found in drinking water in various parts of the world.

Mining, smelting, and burning of fossils fuels are other major contributors to environmental contamination of arsenic[1]. 

Arsenic is specifically associated with hair loss and may specifically affect your eyebrows and eyelashes in addition to hair growing on your head[3]. 

Thallium and Hair Loss

The primary way in which you’re exposed to thallium is through air pollution with the burning of fossil fuels. Thallium is naturally occurring in petroleum. 

It’s also found in rodenticides (pesticides that kill rodents). However, thallium is also used in a range of manufacturing processes such as optical lenses, semiconductors, and imitation jewelry. 

Thallium accumulates in your system and can induce extensive hair loss that affects your scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, and limbs. Rodenticides containing thallium have been implicated in inducing massive hair loss [5][1][3].

Mercury and Hair Loss

The most common sources of mercury today are dental amalgams and seafood. Shellfish and fatty fish like king mackerel, swordfish, and tuna can all contain high levels of mercury. 

Dental amalgams can contain up to 50% of mercury, which make them a potentially significant source of toxic exposure — especially since they live right in your mouth[1].

Copper and Stress-Related Hair Loss

Copper is released in the environment by mining copper and other heavy metals, manufacturing plants that use copper, combustion of fossil fuels, waste dumps, wood production, and fertilizer production. 

Don’t forget you can get excess copper in your diet from eating too many nuts, seeds and beans, which commonly happens in vegan and vegetarian diets. It’s okay to eat these foods daily. The issue lies in overconsumption of copper rich foods and not eating foods with readily bioavailable zinc (animal products) that oppose copper naturally. 

Copper can directly inhibit the growth of your hair follicles and has been associated with telogen effluvium, a type of hair loss disorder tied to your stress response[4].

Cadmium and Hair loss

The major route of exposure to cadmium is through cigarettes, marijauna and second hand smoke. It’s also in the food supply due to the high levels of this heavy metal in large migratory fish, shellfish and in the soil in which food is grown. 

Leafy vegetables, grains, and beans tend to be the worst offenders, as these plants have a high affinity for cadmium and easily absorb it. 

Cadmium toxicity is associated with telogen effluvium, with some research suggesting that it could be the underlying cause of hair loss as opposed to just being a contributing factor[6][4]. 

Tips To Improve Hair Health Naturally

Consume Adequate Protein 

Your hair is composed mostly of protein, so if you want to strengthen your hair, the most obvious step is to make sure you’re consuming enough of the amino acids your hair needs to grow. Research shows that inadequate protein intake can lead to hair loss and that getting in the correct amino acids can promote hair growth[7]. 

Therefore, if you’re concerned about hair loss, take a look at your diet and make sure you’re getting sufficient amounts of high-quality protein like eggs, fish, and meat. 

Check Your Iron Status

Iron deficiency is associated with hair loss. This is especially true for premenopausal women, and if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet[8].

I believe most people are iron toxic and find that iron deficiency is rare, but it does happen and can contribute to hair loss. Be careful to avoid doing a simple ferritin test, see that it’s low and then supplement iron. It’s not that simple.

 A low ferritin test does NOT mean you have low iron status. This can mean you’re magnesium deficient. You need a complete iron panel and a doctor that knows how to read the full panel before coming to the conclusion you need to supplement iron. 

Massage Your Scalp With Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has an affinity for the protein that creates structure in your hair (keratin), and is able to penetrate the hair shaft since the degradation of keratin bonds is one of the detrimental effects that heavy metals can have on your hair, massaging with coconut oil may help to prevent damage and hair loss[9].

Use Essential Oils

If you want to kick your scalp massage up a notch, add some essential oils to the mix. Research shows that essential oils like thyme, rosemary, lavender, and cedarwood improve symptoms of hair loss. In one study, 44% of the treatment group saw improvement when massaging with essential oils as compared to the placebo group[10].

The Key To Hair Growth: Heavy Metal Detox

All of the above tactics may help to improve the health of your hair. However, if you want to get to the true root cause of this issue, you must eliminate the factors that are contributing to hair loss in the first place. 

Heavy metals may be behind the obvious and not so obvious causes of hair loss. Since these toxins have both a direct role in hair loss, as well as an indirect role via hormonal systems, immune function, and stress — a heavy metal detox should be your first step in reclaiming healthy hair. 

Let’s not forget that ANY symptom you have is really pointing to a systemic issue that needs addressing. And a heavy metal detox may help address those issues and promote better health.

When removing metals from your body, you need to do it correctly. Heavy metals can lodge deep into your tissues and can be quite challenging to remove. Luckily, mother nature has provided us with nutrients that can penetrate deep into your tissues and dislodge heavy metals — removing them from your body once and for all. 

I’ve created a supplement called CitriCleanse that includes three such nutrients; fulvic and humic acid, cilantro extract, and grapefruit citrus pectin. 

From the research that I’ve done on heavy metal detox, fulvic and humic acid are two of the strongest natural chelators of heavy metals. The minerals contained in fulvic and humic acid help to push metals out of your tissues, relieving your body of this toxic burden.

Cilantro is another powerful heavy metal detox agent that has an affinity specifically for arsenic, mercury, and copper — three of the primary culprits for hair loss.

Finally, grapefruit citrus pectin comes in to bind the liberated heavy metals in your system and helps to pull them out of your circulation, so they don’t re-lodge into your precious cells and tissues. Binders simply absorb toxins like a sponge. 

You don’t want any released toxins circulating – only to deposit in your brain or elsewhere. The biggest mistake people make in detox is not taking a binder. 

CitriCleanse is wonderful at helping to remove heavy metals from deep within your tissues that are causing issues like hair loss. 

In addition to CitriCleanse, I also recommend taking Ageless AF. 

Ageless AF contains orthosilicic acid (OSA) — the most bioavailable, highest absorbing form of silica [11].  

One of the great things about orthosilicic acid is that it makes your hair flexible and shiny, much like it gives bell peppers and other vegetables their shiny glow. Additionally, silica acts as a powerful agent in supporting your body’s natural ability trap and gently eliminate the impurities that can lead to hair loss — an essential step in your body’s detox process[12]. 

So while Ageless AF works as a mobilizer for the heavy metal toxins that have taken up residence in your body’s tissues, CitriCleanse works as a toxin binder that’s formulated to assist with all phases of your body’s natural release and elimination of the contaminants that Ageless AF has mobilized. This helps ensure that they are flushed out normally.

Together, Ageless AF and CitriCleanse are the perfect duo for supporting your body’s natural ability to detox heavy metals – and revitalizing your hair!


*These statements have not been reviewed by the FDA. The information herein is not intended to  diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Nor is it meant to replace or act as a substitute for speaking to a medical doctor and/or licensed health practitioner. Any products discussed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. They are not intended to replace any medication, medical test(s), or healing modality prescribed by your medical doctor. Please consult with your doctor before beginning a new supplement regimen. 

Click Here for References+

  1. Li, Becky S., Marcel C. Pasch, and Howard I. Maibach. “Hair Disorders Induced by External Factors.” Kanerva’s Occupational Dermatology (2020): 345-369.
  2. Zheng, Guanchao, et al. “Association of serum heavy metals and trace element concentrations with reproductive hormone levels and polycystic ovary syndrome in a Chinese population.” Biological trace element research 167.1 (2015): 1-10.
  3. Yu, Vicky, et al. “Alopecia and associated toxic agents: a systematic review.” Skin Appendage Disorders 4.4 (2018): 245-260.
  4. Yavuz, Ibrahim Halil, et al. “Assessment of heavy metal and trace element levels in patients with telogen effluvium.” Indian journal of dermatology 63.3 (2018): 246.
  5. Neste, Van. “Skin signs in the diagnosis of thallium poisoning.” British Journal of Dermatology 138.2 (1998): 321-325.
  6. Aziz, Abeer M. Abdel, Sameera Sh Hamed, and Mohammad A. Gaballah. “Possible relationship between chronic telogen effluvium and changes in lead, cadmium, zinc, and iron total blood levels in females: A case-control study.” International journal of trichology 7.3 (2015): 100.
  7. Gowda, Dinesh, V. Premalatha, and D. B. Imtiyaz. “Prevalence of nutritional deficiencies in hair loss among Indian participants: results of a cross-sectional study.” International journal of trichology 9.3 (2017): 101.
  8. Guo, Emily L., and Rajani Katta. “Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use.” Dermatology practical & conceptual 7.1 (2017): 1.
  9. Rele, Aarti S., and R. B. Mohile. “Effect of mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil on prevention of hair damage.” Journal of cosmetic science 54.2 (2003): 175-192.
  10. Hay, Isabelle C., Margaret Jamieson, and Anthony D. Ormerod. “Randomized trial of aromatherapy: successful treatment for alopecia areata.” Archives of dermatology 134.11 (1998): 1349-1352.
  11. (Araújo, Lidiane Advincula de, Flavia Addor, and Patrícia Maria Berardo Gonçalves Maia Campos. “Use of silicon for skin and hair care: an approach of chemical forms available and efficacy.” Anais brasileiros de dermatologia 91.3 (2016): 331-335.)
  12. Yantasee, Wassana, et al. “Functionalized nanoporous silica for the removal of heavy metals from biological systems: adsorption and application.” ACS applied materials & interfaces 2.10 (2010): 2749-2758.


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Dr Wendy Myers, ND is a detox expert, functional diagnostic nutritionist, NES Bioenergetic Practitioner, and founder of She is the #1 bestselling author of Limitless Energy: How to Detox Toxic Metals to End Exhaustion and Chronic Fatigue . Additionally, Wendy is the host of The Heavy Metals Summit, the Myers Detox Podcast, and the Supercharged Podcast. Passionate about the importance of detox to live a long and healthy life, she created the revolutionary Myers Detox Protocol , and Mitochondria Detox kit after working with thousands of clients, as well as a range of supplements to help you detox from everyday living and maintain a healthy lifestyle!

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