Hair loss, dry and brittle hair, thinning hair, and other hair problems are never isolated conditions, but the result of more basic body imbalances. Changes in hair are often the first indication of nutritional deficiencies.
Both men and women may notice a natural physiological thinning of their hair starting in their late 30s and into their 40s due to hormonal changes. Aside from the normal thinning of hair due to the aging process, excessive hair loss and hair breakage is an indication that your body is out of balance! Excessive hair loss can be attributed to a number of different reasons, including serious health problems.
Each individual is unique as to why they’re losing hair and a number of factors should be observed and ruled out so a specific healing approach can be put into practice.
Getting to the Root of Hair Loss
— Nutritional deficiencies. This is very common with hair loss, hair breakage and thin, dry, lifeless hair. When you’re deficient in essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients, it not only affects your health, but also the appearance of your hair and hair growth.
Common nutrient deficiencies associated with hair loss:
- lack of protein and amino acid deficiencies
- omega-3 deficiency
- zinc deficiency, which is essential for hair growth
- B vitamins, specifically biotin, vitamin B12, vitamin B5 and vitamin B6
- vitamin D
- iron deficiency or iron anemia, which is the cause of hair loss in 72% of pre-menopausal women
— HCL deficiency (lack of stomach acid), incomplete protein digestion and other digestive problems are very common and a contributor of hair loss and thinning hair particularly with females. Low stomach acid (hypochorhydria) results in malabsorption of important nutrients and an inability to breakdown protein. It’s important to prioritize healthy gut function, eat nutrient-dense foods to support your body and your lifestyle, and identify your personal nutritional deficiencies. Poor protein digestion results in low levels of essential amino acids, and several vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Without sufficient essential amino acids, nutrients, vitamins and minerals, hair starts to thin out.
Female pattern baldness is caused by hormonal imbalances. PCOS (high insulin and elevated androgens (DHEA and/or testosterone) that is converted into DHT, and adrenal-related PCOS).
Hormonal changes that occur during puberty, pregnancy, peri-menopause, andropause and menopause
can also trigger hair loss.
— Autoimmune diseases
. Alopecia areata, lupus and many other autoimmune challenges contribute to hair loss.
— Frontal fibrosing alopecia, which causes receding hair from the forehead area.
— Extremely low calorie diets; malnutrition; anorexia and bulimia; insufficient protein intake
— Food sensitivities
— Chronic sleep deprivation, poor sleep
— Genetics and family history (look at Mom and Grandma’s hair)
Toxic chemicals including fluoride and chlorine (found in water and various products) and Heavy metal toxicity
, including lead, mercury, arsenic, high iron, cadmium, excess copper
— Insulin resistance, blood sugar imbalances and diabetes
— Prolonged emotional stress and depleted adrenals. Typically, noticeable hair loss happens two to three months after a major traumatic and stressful event such as a physical illness, major surgery, the death of a loved one or divorce.
— OTC and prescription drugs including ibuprofen, acetaminophen and NSAIDs, and prescription medications including birth control pills, antibiotics, statin drugs, antidepressants, PPIs (protein pump inhibitors, acid blocking drugs), chemo and radiation drugs, blood thinners, medications that are prescribed to treat arthritis, gout, cancer, heart problems and high blood pressure also contribute to hair loss
— Nutrient-void diets that are high in chemicals, sugar, carbs, processed foods and grains
— Scalp inflammation
— Adrenal gland tumors; ovarian tumors
— Hair extensions, which cause serious damage to your hair that result in hair breakage and bald spots.
— Toxic hair products, washing your hair every day, excessive hair coloring, chemical hair treatments, blow-outs, and over-styling can damage hair causing it to thin and fall out
As you can see from the lengthy list above, it is not a “one reason fits all’” when it comes to the causes for thinning hair and hair loss.
First and foremost – determine the root cause of what’s causing your hair to thin, break or fall out, and then implement targets nutritional support, diet modifications and lifestyle changes to alleviate the problem.
The proper use of specific vitamins and minerals, a real food nutrient-dense diet, correcting nutrient deficiencies, balancing hormones, ruling out underlying infections such as Candida, and choosing all natural hair products are a step in the right direction and surefire solutions that can help prevent hair loss, thinning and balding. However, treatment is individual and depends on the person.
Natural Remedies to Prevent Hair Loss and Increase Hair Growth
Healthy hair depends on a nutrient-dense diet. Use Food as Medicine for Hair Growth
Eat a nutrient-dense, organic real food diet with plenty of organic leafy greens, plants, veggies, healthy fats, and organic, grass-fed animal protein, fish and seafood
Hair is comprised of protein and lack of protein causes hair loss
- Install a water filter to filter out harmful chemicals
- Stay hydrated and prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of filtered water throughout the day
- If you are truly iron anemic, include more iron-rich foods (wild fish, shrimp, grass-fed red meats, dark leafy greens)
- Aloe vera juice taken orally
Iodine-rich foods, zinc-rich foods
- Collagen peptides support healthy hair growth
Lifestyle Tips to Prevent and Remedy Hair Loss
Determine thyroid and adrenal function, and test for other hormonal imbalances. Balanced thyroid hormone production is critical to normal hair growth and preventing excessive hair loss. Hypothyroidism can cause coarse, lifeless hair which easily falls out. Hyperthyroidism causes soft, thinning hair and hair loss.
- In addition to thyroid hormones (TSH, free T3, free T4, and thyroid antibodies), test to assess luteinizing hormone, testosterone, DHEA, androstenedione, prolactin, follicular stimulating hormone, estrogen and estradiol
Balance body chemistry with a Functional Blood Chemistry Analysis to determine underlying nutrient excesses or deficiencies.
Low iron and low ferritin (the stored form of iron) are two common findings in pre-menopausal women who experience hair loss.
Correct gut dysfunction, heal and seal leaky gut, and restore stomach acid levels by addressing low hydrochloric acid (hypochlorhydria)
- Poor liver function equals unhealthy hair. Too much alcohol, caffeine, OTC and Rx drugs, and chemical toxins put a heavy burden on the liver and deplete the body of B vitamins.
- Sunlight helps hair grow, but too much sun dries and damages hair
- Avoid wearing tight ponytails
Practice daily stress-reducing techniques
- Massage the scalp for 3 minutes each morning to stimulate hair growth
- Before bedtime, massage the scalp with essential oils (lavender, rosemary, tea tree, sage, frankincense) and either castor oil, black seed oil, coconut oil or argan oil. Leave in over night and wash in the morning.
Nutritional Support. This list is extensive and will be different for each person.
- B-complex, specifically folate, vitamin B5, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6
- Biotin is especially helpful for hair loss
- Hydrochloric acid with pepsin, digestive enzymes and bile support
- Probiotics and sporebiotics to support healthy gut microbiome
- Zinc (a common nutrient deficiency) stimulates hair follicles
- Omega-3s and essential fatty acids with GLA prevents hair loss and encourages shinier hair
- Vitamin D with other fat-soluble vitamins A, E and K
- Saw palmetto is helpful for those with PCOS related hair loss
Selenium helps hair grow
Topical DIY Natural Remedies for Beautiful Hair
Avoid all toxic chemicals including those found in most shampoos and conditioners. Use natural shampoos/conditioners. Read the list of ingredients on hair products!
Coconut oil, Emu oil, aloe vera gel, castor oil (hexane-free), argan oil or Jojoba oil massaged into the scalp. Leave in for at least an hour and overnight if possible.
When shampooing your hair, mix a couple tablespoons of baking soda in with the shampoo. Rinse and follow with a vinegar rinse mixing 1 part white or apple cider vinegar with 4 parts water with 4-5 drops of lavender, rosemary or bergamot essential oil
Essential oils: jojoba, burdock, sage, lavender or rosemary massaged into the scalp along with aloe vera gel encourage hair growth.
Two to three months of consistency is usually the minimum amount of time for noticeable hair growth results.