Hair loss affects many women. 40% of women have visible hair loss by age 40 and 80% by the age of 60.
Under healthy conditions, this should not occur, at least not to a significant extent.
What often is not known or fully appreciated, is that hair loss, - is a symptom of other things that are happening, both internally and externally.
There may be several possible causes of hair loss. This can occur in women who have low blood cell count or low hemoglobin or iron. Iron is required to produce hemoglobin and when hemoglobin is low, fewer blood cells are needed to carry it around the body. Hemoglobin carries and brings oxygen to all areas of the body, including the scalp and oxygen is needed for the production of energy needed to regenerate, restore and repair structures such as hair.
Certain medications can also contribute to hair loss, these include cholesterol-lowering medication, certain blood pressure lowering medications, other heart medications, cortisone, anti-fungal, and chemotherapy medications are some examples.
They too generally interfere with energy generation or nutrient delivery to the scalp. Fortunately, often, natural alternatives do exist and you can consult a naturopathic doctor to discuss your specific health challenges and needs.
Ultimately, the main factor in hair growth is the direct action of thyroid hormones on hair-producing cells to stimulate the laying down of hair fibers to grow new hair.
While many women are diagnosed with low thyroid function, also known as hypothyroidism, the current diagnostic methods used to diagnose this condition are not perfect and miss many people with low thyroid function. Moreover, there are various extents of low thyroid function and some aren’t “severe” enough to be diagnosed as such, but none the less, result in not having enough active thyroid hormone to perform its various functions, including the stimulation of hair growth.
The active thyroid hormone T3 is produced from the pre-cursor, T4, which is produced by the thyroid gland, located at the front of the neck. T4 is made from the amino acid tyrosine, which is provided from dietary protein. Tyrosine binds four atoms of iodine to form T4. It is then converted to T3 by an enzyme that is activated by the mineral selenium to form the final active form of the hormone, T3.
The main function of the thyroid hormone is to initiate the production of energy in every single cell. When thyroid function is low, symptoms related to a reduced capacity to perform its function develop. These symptoms include low energy levels, feeling cold, usually in the hands and the feet, tendency to gain weight and difficulty losing weight, sluggish digestion and bowel function, difficulty sleeping, low mood hair loss and, sometimes brittle nails and dry skin. Being aware of these symptoms can be helpful at evaluating and identifying low thyroid function when blood test results are seen as normal.
It is also important to know what can cause suboptimal or low thyroid function in order to address it constructively. The most obvious cause is the insufficient supply of iodine or selenium to form the thyroid hormones. The richest source of dietary iodine is seaweed or kelp. Other relatively good sources are cod, tuna, dairy, potatoes, and strawberries. The richest source of selenium is Brazil nuts (2 per day) as well as any fish, seafood, poultry and meat, eggs and spinach. Excessive intake of chloride or fluoride from drinking or shower water can interfere with the absorption of iodine.
Another significant cause of low thyroid function is excessive stress. The stress hormone cortisol interferes with the production of the thyroid hormone T3. While there are many causes for stress and various strategies to address each stressor, vitamins such as vitamin C, B6, niacinamide and magnesium as well as medicinal plants such as Rhodiola Rosea (see rhoziva), can decrease the stress hormones and help improve thyroid function.
Other causes of low thyroid function can be exposed to environmental toxins such as mercury, intake of gluten and substances that block iodine known as goitrogens, present in raw cruciferous vegetables (kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts). Cooking these vegetables removes the goitrogens.
Improving thyroid function can help improve healthy hair growth. Other, popular -supplements that can help are silica and biotin.
Silica is the second most abundant mineral on earth, found in rocks and hardy plants. It provides strength and longevity to hair fibers but doesn’t necessarily stimulate growth. Biotin is also known for its healthy hair and nail supporting properties. It is involved in the production of certain amino acids that are present in the hair fiber (made of the protein Keratin).
If you want to simplify, optimize and support faster healthy hair growth for more volume, strength, health, and shine, then consider a supplement that contains all the nutrients I mentioned in the article.
Nourishing Waves Plus is a supplement I created, - that comes with a money back guarantee (consume three bottles). It contains East coast kelp extract, which is rich in iodine as well as selenium, silica, biotin, magnesium glycinate, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and niacinamide. Silica and vitamin C support collagen production and B6 helps prevent dehydration, considerations that are relevant to skin health as well.
Implementing the suggestions mentioned here should help you not only improve the health of your hair, but also other aspects of your well-being.
By Dr. Elie Klein – [email protected]