Are you waking up with a pillow covered in hair? Is your shower drain permanently clogged? Does brushing your hair make you anxious? There’s no doubt about it, hair loss can be devastating!
While even the fullest head of hair loses anywhere from 50-150 hairs a day, excessive hair loss is definitely a symptom that raises concern. If you are experiencing this kind of hair loss, do not delay treatment. It may be a sign of a deeper imbalance and if left unchecked, may lead to other symptoms or even the permanent loss of your hair.
Here are a few potential causes of hair loss, what tests should be considered and different approaches to stopping hair loss and restoring growth.
Types & Causes of Hair Loss
Lifestyle factors such as stress (physical and emotional), poor diet, long term use of birth control pills and medication, lack of regular exercise, heavy exposure to environment toxins etc all play a role in these types and causes of hair loss:
- Patchy: You may have a cortisol imbalance, a deficiency in B vitamins or zinc or heavy metal exposure.
- Thinning: You may have a hormonal imbalance, such as thyroid.
- Top of the head only: Testosterone, progesterone, cortisol or estrogen may be out of balance.
- Total body hair loss: DHEA, blood sugar regulation or circulation issues.
- Balding all over: Could be a sign of poor circulation or a deficiency in protein, essential fatty acids, B vitamins, silicon or zinc.
Rather than play a guessing game, the following tests are highly recommended to help you figure out the cause of your hair loss:
- Iron levels
- Testosterone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT)
- FSH, LH, Estrogen, Progesterone
- Cortisol, DHEA
- Blood sugar levels
- Heavy metal toxicity
- Liver and kidney function
NOTE: If your doctor has told you that all of your labs are normal, but your hair loss persists, I recommend seeking a second opinion.
How to Stop Hair loss & Regrow Your Hair
Making dietary changes is the very best first step to stop hair loss and naturally balance hormones. Begin adding phytonutrient dense superfoods that are loaded with anti-oxidants, trace minerals, healthy fat & protein sources (ask any one of the ladies from Lifestyle Health for advice). Next…
- sugar, allergens (gluten, dairy etc) & processed foods from your diet
- zinc rich foods such as pumpkin seeds, eggs, red meat & sunflower seeds
- silica rich foods such as cucumbers, celery, bell peppers, and sprouts
- iron rich animal foods (especially if you have a deficiency)
- the whole egg together (not just the whites) to maintain healthy biotin absorption
- 1-2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar before meals to help raise your stomach acid, which will allow you to absorb more vitamins and minerals.
- plenty of essential fatty acids from salmon or sardines as well as chia seeds and walnuts.
- B vitamin complex. If you’re serious about having healthy hair then get the best B complex you can afford. Particularly one that contains methylcobalamin (B12) and methyltetrahydrofolate (folate). I also highly recommended that you supplement with extra biotin. This B vitamin effectively prevents hair loss and thinning by increasing scalp circulation and rejuvenating hair follicles which in turn helps stimulate hair growth (often recommended for chemotherapy patients). Biotin is found naturally in Swiss chard, liver and goats milk.
- Adaptogenic herbs. These are herbs that help regulate cortisol (stress hormone) as well as balance your hormones overall. My favourites are Rhodiola and Ashwagandha.
- Saw Palmetto. This herb helps prevent the conversion of testosterone to DHT (the form of testosterone that is responsible for male pattern baldness and hair loss in women with PCOS). Zinc also prevents this conversion and may be a useful addition to your supplement regime.
- Vitamin E. Required to nourish damaged hair and to prevent breakage. It aids the body’s ability to manufacture keratin within hair strands to reduce breakage.
- Horsetail. Named for its long brush-like appearance, this herb is used extensively for brittle or unhealthy hair. Horsetail is rich in a nutrient called silica which strengthens bones, nails and hair. – Silica fortifies hair follicles and lessens breakage and thinning. It is also increases shine and body to lacklustre hair.
- Rosemary essential oil is excellent to use topically to promote hair growth and increase scalp health. When applied to the scalp rosemary increases circulation and helps to gently remove excess sebum and dandruff, which can inhibit healthy hair growth.
- Exercise! It sounds crazy but yes, regularly moving your body can improve your hair health. Not only does exercise improve circulation and reduce stress, the right kind can even balance hormones and stabalise blood sugar levels. The type of exercise that is best varies from person to person. If you are stressed you will do better from yoga and pilates. If you have blood sugar or hormonal imbalances, you may need more strength training. Just please avoid any and all forms of “chronic cardio” which can exacerbate hormonal imbalance and exhaust your adrenals!
There is Hope
Hair loss is never a good thing. Do not delay searching for the underlying cause and treating appropriately. Test your levels for the more sinister causes first. Then, adjust your lifestyle habits and ask your trusted health care provider to recommend a treatment program.