Women's Diet: The Physical Red Flags of Eating Disorders
From hair loss to infertility, the internal damage inflicted on the body by eating disorders leaves its marks on the outside too
HairMalnutrition and dehydration, the hatchet men of eating disorders, ravage the inside of your body, and their impact is reflected on the outside. How? Let's start with hair.
Hair is made of a protein called keratin. In order to sustain hair growth, the body needs protein. As the body of a person with an eating disorder is deprived of nutrients, it is forced to prioritize survival and, guess what, a beautiful head of hair doesn't quite make that list. Consequently, a diet that is deficient in protein will result -- in as little as four to six weeks -- in dry/brittle hair, thinning hair and even hair loss.
But while hair may be lost from their heads, anorexics can expect to grow new hair on their face and bodies. Lanugo, a soft, downy hair that grows largely on the face, back and arms, is nature's defense against periods of starvation and malnutrition -- it is the body's attempt to keep itself warm … to survive.
Next: How eating disorders affect skin and nails
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