Optavia Hair Loss problems, explained

Have you ever heard of Optavia hair loss? It’s a pretty common thing that can happen when you lose weight too quickly (aka rapid weight loss).

I know this because I’ve done the Optavia program myself for over 12 months, and within the first 2 months, I experienced hair loss.

Experts say that when you don’t eat enough food while you’re dieting, it can cause your hair to fall out due to a lack of energy.

Now, I’m not saying that you should stop your weight loss journey altogether, but if you’re experiencing hair loss as I did, there are some simple things you can do to minimize it.

photo of my hair optavia hair loss problems

Optavia hair loss problems

Optavia is a popular diet that has helped many people lose weight.

I have personally gone through over 12 months on the Optavia 5 and 1 plan (and lost over 40 pounds) so I can attest to its effectiveness.

A study published in Obesity Science & Practice compared the weight loss results of the Optavia program to those who attempted to lose weight independently.

The study revealed that the program was more effective in helping individuals lose weight and fat, indicating its potential benefits for adults seeking weight loss solutions.

However, one of the potential side effects of following the Optavia diet is hair loss, which may occur as a result of the drastic calorie restriction.

Rapid weight loss and hair loss

I had been following the Optavia diet and noticed that my hair was becoming increasingly brittle and shedding more than usual.

I suspected it was due to the calorie restriction, but wasn’t sure until I did some research.

An article published in 1976 in JAMA Network describes a group of people who went on a very low-calorie diet (VLCD) to lose weight very quickly.

They lost between 11.7 to 24.75 kg. But, after they lost all that weight, something strange happened – they started losing their hair. 

It wasn’t just a few hairs either, they lost a lot of hair all at once, which can be very scary.

(Don’t worry, their hair grew back after a few months.)

This happened because the diet they were on was very strict, which means they weren’t eating enough food to give their bodies energy.

When your body doesn’t get enough energy, your hair can start to fall out.

“Rigorous caloric restriction with subsequent inadequate energy supply of the hair matrix is thought to be the cause of the precipitation of the telogen effluvium of the crash dieter.”

JAMA Network

It turns out that when you lose weight too quickly, even if it is through healthy means such as dieting, your body can go into shock and start to experience a condition called acute telogen effluvium (TE).

Why am I losing hair on Optavia?

Many people experience some degree of hair loss when following a calorie-restricted diet like Optavia.

This is because when we drastically reduce our caloric intake, our bodies can be put under stress as they adjust to the changes.

As a result, some of the body’s systems may become overworked, causing hair loss.

When it comes to hair loss due to calorie restriction, there are a few different causes at play.

The two most common are telogen effluvium, which is caused by sudden or extreme dieting, and iron deficiency anemia, which can occur when calorie and nutrient intakes are not adequately balanced.

Telogen effluvium

Telogen effluvium is a big, fancy word that means your hair is falling out more than it should.

This is why I was experiencing so much hair loss.

According to the article published in The Cureus Journal of Medical Science, TE it’s a problem with your scalp that can happen when you take certain medicines, has an injury, or are feeling stressed out.

Sometimes it happens really quickly, and other times it happens slowly over time.

You might feel like your hair hurts or is tender, and there are special tests that doctors can do to figure out if it’s telogen effluvium.

Iron deficiency anemia

Iron deficiency is when our body doesn’t have enough iron.

The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology has reported that iron deficiency anemia can cause a lot of different problems like slowing down how we grow and learn, making us more likely to get sick, and even making our hair fall out.

Sometimes, people who go on really strict diets like Optavia for too long can end up not getting enough iron, which can make their hair fall out too.

Doctors can check if we have enough iron by taking a special blood test, and if we don’t, they might give us special medicine with extra iron to help fix the problem.

“Hemoglobin concentration can be used to screen for iron deficiency, whereas serum ferritin concentration can be used to confirm an iron deficiency.”

The diagnosis and treatment of iron deficiency and its potential relationship to hair loss. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2006

But, sometimes doctors aren’t sure if giving iron medicine will help with hair loss, so they have to decide what to do based on each person’s situation.

It’s really important to eat a healthy and balanced diet so we can get all the nutrients we need to stay healthy, grow strong, and keep our hair on our heads!

Other causes of Hair Loss

Hair loss can be caused by a variety of factors. While calorie restriction may contribute to hair loss, other causes may be responsible.

It’s important to speak with your doctor if you notice any sudden changes in your hair health so they can diagnose the underlying cause of your hair loss.

With proper diagnosis and treatment, you should be able to restore your full head of healthy tresses in no time!


When it comes to hair loss, genetics can play a role.

The genes you inherit from your parents dictate the structure and texture of your hair and can influence how likely you are to experience hair thinning or loss as you age.

For example, if your father is balding early in life, there’s a good chance that you may also experience premature balding.

But don’t panic!

While genetics can make some people more prone to losing their hair than others, there are still steps you can take to maintain healthy locks.


Hormonal changes can also have a big impact on your hair, and this is especially true when it comes to dieting.

When you’re restricting your calories or following an extreme diet, your body will naturally produce hormones to conserve energy.

These hormones can interfere with the normal life cycle of your hair follicles, leading to thinning and temporary hair loss.

Fortunately, this type of hair loss is usually temporary as long as you don’t continue calorie restriction for too long.


Medications and drugs can have a significant impact on your hair.

Some medications, such as certain types of chemotherapy drugs, can lead to temporary or permanent hair loss.

Other drugs, such as those used to treat high blood pressure and depression, are known to cause hair thinning or hair shedding in some people.

If you’re taking any type of medication or drug that could potentially affect your hair, it’s important to speak with your doctor about the potential side effects.


Stress can have a significant impact on your mental and physical health — including your hair. It’s no surprise that when you’re feeling the pressure of life, it can take a toll on your locks.

Tips to avoid Hair Loss on Optavia

What are some things that can help prevent hair loss while doing Optavia?

Well, while I’m not a hair growth expert, I’ve looked into this and want to share what has worked for me.

I’m not talking about products or treatments that “claim” to prevent hair loss.

I’ve tried a lot of things like shampoos, conditioners, scalp massages, laser combs, and herbal supplements, but unfortunately, none of them worked.

So, I’ve made a list of things that I’ve personally done that have helped me significantly.

Eating a healthy and balanced diet

Eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods ensures you’re getting all of the vitamins and minerals your body needs, while also helping to reduce cravings for unhealthy foods.

If you’re thinking about continuing the diet, you might want to try making Optavia on your own. This means doing homemade meals (and Fuelings) instead of buying pre-packaged ones.

When I make my food from scratch, I can choose healthier ingredients and get more vitamins and minerals in my diet.

  • Fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables, as these foods are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.
  • Aim for at least five servings per day.
  • Add lean proteins such as chicken, fish, legumes, or eggs for satiety and muscle building.
  • Although it’s against Optavia rules, make sure to include whole grains such as oats or quinoa which provide slow-burning energy throughout the day.

Managing my stress

Stress can be a tricky thing to manage, especially in today’s world where we are constantly bombarded with information and pressures from all angles.

  • Make sure that you’re getting enough sleep, at least 7-8 hours per night.
  • Add more physical activity (it doesn’t have to be a gym).
  • Take time away from work.
  • Schedule your day in advance and use a calendar.
  • Read books (regularly).
  • Take regular breaks throughout the day.
  • Watch funny TV shows.

Avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol

Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can be very detrimental to your overall health and well-being.

The best way to avoid these negative effects is to simply not start smoking or drinking in the first place. However, if you already do smoke or drink excessively, it’s never too late to make healthier choices.

Drink responsibly. Avoid binge drinking and keep track of how much you’re drinking.

Seasalt water baths

While I don’t have any scientific evidence to support my claim, I found that taking regular baths in sea salt water or swimming in seawater helped accelerate my hair growth.

All you need is some sea salt (make sure it is unrefined), a bathtub filled with warm or hot water, and some essential oils of your choice (optional).

  • Add the desired amount of sea salt to the tub, then let yourself soak for anywhere between 10-20 minutes.
  • During this time, focus on breathing deeply and slowly while letting all of your worries drift away.

Will hair loss from weight loss grow back?

When it comes to hair loss from weight loss, the good news is that in most cases, the hair will grow back. However, it may take a few months for the new growth to become visible and even longer for your locks to become as full and healthy as they were before. 

The bottom line

Optavia is a popular program that may help you reach your desired weight, but it’s important to be aware of the potential consequences of following a restrictive diet plan, such as hair loss.

If you’re already experiencing hair loss and think that your diet may be the culprit, don’t hesitate to contact

for an expert opinion. We offer free consultations and are happy to provide advice on how you can nourish your hair while still achieving your health goals.

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