Hair loss can be devastating for men and women. It affects self-esteem and is often a reflection of our inner health. The good news is, in many cases, hair loss can be reversed.
A few reasons people lose their hair:
Stress, which can interrupt hormone balance
Environmental toxins like chlorinated and fluoridated water, endocrine-disrupting shampoos, conditioners, and styling products
Unhealthy gut that results in an autoimmune attack on the hair follicles called alopecia areata
Male pattern baldness, which is generally caused by genes and male sex hormones
Vitamin B Complex
Each of the B vitamins brings its own benefits to the table. However, they work better together, synergistically. Deficiency in B9 (folate), B12, B2 (riboflavin), and B7 (biotin), can all play a role in hair loss. Addressing one without addressing all can be a waste of time. Eating foods high in B vitamins is the best way to get what you need.
Folate plays a role in producing nucleic acids which help to build the hair follicle. Studies have shown people with alopecia were deficient in folate.
B12 is needed for hair growth because it affects the chemical reaction of nearly 100 substrates including RNA, DNA, and proteins. Vegans have a tendency to be deficient in B12 because they don't eat meat or dairy, primary sources of B12.
Riboflavin is important in the metabolism of macronutrients, for cell function, growth, and development, it serves as an antioxidant for the immune system, and for healthy skin and hair.
Biotin acts as a coenzyme that plays a role in metabolic reactions critical to the maintenance of healthy hair. Although biotin is one of the most recommended supplements for healthy hair, studies show getting biotin from food is much better than supplements.
Excessive consumption of raw eggs can create a biotin deficiency. Avidin in egg whites binds to biotin keeping it from being absorbed.
Disorders of the thyroid can cause hair loss because thyroid hormone is necessary for the development and maintenance of the hair follicle. Chlorinated and fluoridated water can displace iodine in the thyroid and inhibit thyroid function.
There is a lot of information available that clearly shows vitamin D receptors exist in the hair follicle and that vitamin D deficiency is linked to hair loss. Some research suggests it's not just vitamin D deficiency that can cause a problem but just a reduction in vitamin D can cause the hair loss process to begin.
The best way to increase your vitamin D levels is sun exposure. 5-10 minutes of sun exposure on bare skin, without sunscreen, 2-3 times a week can improve vitamin D production.
One full-body UV exposure, causing a slight pinkness in the skin, is equivalent to an oral intake of 10,000-25,000 IU of vitamin D3.
Vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 are often supplemented together as they have a synergistic effect. Vitamin K2 is the vitamin K found in animal foods and fermented foods. Vitamin K1 is the form of vitamin K found in plant foods.
Vitamin D-Rich Foods:
Fish liver oils
Vitamin K2-Rich Foods:
High-fat dairy products from grass-fed cows
Research shows a relationship between iron deficiency and hair loss. One study shows improvement in serum ferritin levels improved hair loss. The "heme iron" found in animal meats is more usable by the body than "non-heme" iron found in plants. Some of the best foods for iron are:
Consume iron with these vitamin C-rich foods to enhance iron absorption:
Consume iron away from these foods that inhibit iron absorption:
Through a series of processes, decreased cell sensitivity to insulin can increase sebum production. Sebum is a waxy substance that lubricates the skin and hair. Overproduction of sebum causes inflammation at the hair follicle which leads to free radicals and the need for tissue repair.
Herbals that can help restore insulin sensitivity:
Berberine from Goldenseal
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Curcumin found in Turmeric
Studies have shown curcumin is 400 to 100,00 times more effective than Metformin!
Omega-3s also have anti-inflammatory properties that can help recover insulin sensitivity.
Foods with the highest omega-3 content are:
Cod Liver Oil
Hair loss often indicates a problem in overall health.
What you eat matters!
Eat organically as much as possible. Eating foods free of chemicals is best because chemicals are endocrine disrupters.
Eat pumpkin seeds for zinc. Zinc deficiency is linked to hypothyroidism and hair loss.
Wild-caught, cold-water, fatty fish
Green tea helps to detoxify the body and contains antioxidants that promote hair growth. It may also help stop testosterone from converting to DHT.
Chia, hemp, and flax seeds are high in fiber and omega-3s that promote hair growth.
Organic bone broth is high in protein, collagen, and amino acids that promote hair growth.
Things to avoid:
Trans fatty acids-these promote inflammation which promotes hair loss.
Sugar causes hormone imbalances, plays a role in insulin resistance, increases DHT, and causes inflammation. Each of these set the stage for hair loss.
Processed foods-Foods that are highly processed are full of bad fats, sugar, and sodium, all of which work against the body causing inflammation and promoting hair loss.
Studies have shown alcohol causes inflammation and can lead to liver toxicity. Alcohol and smoking have been linked to hair loss.
Large amounts of caffeine. While a lot of caffeine can contribute to hair loss, small amounts of caffeine in organic coffees and teas can actually promote hair growth.
Protein powder made from bone broth. These powders contain collagen, protein, gelatin, glucosamine, chondroitin, and important minerals most people don't get on a regular basis.
Saw Palmetto-This is great for men because it helps to balance testosterone. It stops testosterone from converting to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is responsible for hair loss. Studies have shown women can benefit from this as well. In the study, saw palmetto was applied topically in men and women and 35% of the participants experienced an increase in hair density.
Pygeum (for men) blocks DHT and improves prostate health.
Pumpkin seed oil contains fatty acids to aid in hair growth. Also blocks DHT for men.
Fish oil reduces inflammation and promotes hair growth.
Aloe vera juice naturally thickens hair.
Ashwagandha helps the body deal with stress which reduces the release of cortisol. Controlling stress is very helpful for hair growth.
Rhodiola helps reduce stress in the body and promotes hair growth.
Essential Oils (always use therapeutic-grade oils)