DIET & NUTRITION

If you want to check how healthy you really are, take a good look at your hair. No matter how much you spend on expensive shampoos and extravagant hair products, if your diet and lifestyle are not balanced then your hair will show the first signs of stress.

Hair cells are one of the most prolific cells in the human body, yet biologically, hair is a non-essential tissue. This means that any nutritional deficiency is likely to show up in the form of increased hair shedding and/or hair not growing past a certain length.

Hair relies on cell function to grow. Cells, in turn, rely on nutrition to properly complete their functions. When we are deficient in vitamins, minerals and amino acids, hair loss can and will occur. Poor nutrition leads to hair shedding and slow regrowth by weakening the hair shafts.

diet and nutrition for hair lossBrittle or dry hair: Is likely to be a lack of iron, zinc and/or vitamin C.

Flaky scalp, dandruff and dull hair: Can indicate you are lacking in vitamin A, Zinc and essential fatty acids (EFA’s).

Red itchy scalp: This can be a sign of eating too much fat, refined food and sugar.

Split ends: Can be a result of poor blood supply, a lack of protein and essential fatty acids.

Poor hair growth, thinning and shedding: This can point to a number of [health] and diet problems. One may be a prolonged lack of protein and amino acids and the other could be a lack of iron.  Furthermore, hair shedding can mean you are lacking in a variety of B vitamins.

Modern farming, over processing and poor agricultural practice have unfortunately resulted in our food being stripped of many essential nutrients. Over farmed soils have depleted essential minerals from our food.

B vitamins – (Biotin, B5, B6 & B12) play an important role in the way our bodies create red blood cells, cells that deliver oxygen from the lungs to the other organs, including hair. Being deficient in B vitamins lead to lack of oxygen, which can lead to hair loss and slow regrowth as well.

Vitamin C – is essential in collagen production. Collagen helps to keep tissue together, hair included. Furthermore, vitamin C deficiency can cause hair to break, making it more prone to falling out. Our cells, including hair follicles, need vitamin C & E to grow and function properly.

Amino acids are the building blocks of life, the following three specifically help with hair growth:

Arginine – Stimulates growth hormone release and is important for metabolic processes. Not only does Arginine help contribute to the growth of hair cells, it also creates nitric oxide which helps to improve blood circulation, particularly to the extremities. This is exactly what we need to help hair growth.

Leucine – This is an essential branched chain amino acid, which means your body cannot make it and you must obtain Leucine from your daily diet.

Lysine – is an amino acid that has been clinically proven to increase the rate of hair growth. Lysine is used all around the world by hair loss clinics because it speeds up hair growth.

Methionine – This is an essential amino acid that helps prevent premature hair loss. It also improves hair texture, quality and growth.

Some of the essential minerals we need for efficient hair growth are:

Iodine -This is a mineral that controls the functioning of the thyroid gland which can increase or decrease metabolism. It helps in the optimum utilization of calories, thereby preventing their storage as excess fat. Increasing consumption of Iodine improves the body’s ability to assimilate silica, which will further help increase hair growth.

hair loss cureZinc – Dandruff and hair loss are both conditions associated with a zinc deficiency. It is a mineral that promotes cell reproduction, tissue growth and repair. Zinc also functions in the maintenance of the oil-secreting glands attached to our hair follicles.

Silica – Hair supplements often contain silica which is derived from horsetail. However you can also get silica from food. Increasing your intake of silica will directly feed your hair which is why this is a very important nutrient for hair growth.

Magnesium – Not many people realise just how critical magnesium is. It is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. This mineral is responsible for approximately 300 metabolic processes in your body including hair growth.

Selenium – A trace element that helps the body make selenoproteins which regulate reproduction, metabolism, DNA synthesis, and immunity. Selenium also stimulates hair follicles to encourage new growth and is also required for optimal functioning of the thyroid gland. A deficiency in Selenium can lead to pain in the muscles and joints, unhealthy hair and white spots on the fingernails. However excessive intake can actually cause hair loss so it is important that you are not consuming any supplements that contain large amounts of this nutrient.

To avoid Do you like drinking a Starbucks in the morning before work? Drinking coffee can indirectly cause hair loss. Caffeine depletes the stress hormone Cortisol and low Cortisol levels cause hair loss. Furthermore and quite shockingly coffee also prevents the body from absorbing certain key nutrients from our food, specifically Iron.

Be wary, too, of the latest fad diets. These can limit the amount of vitamins and minerals consumed. Equally, a high consumption of animal fats, rapid weight loss and liquid protein diets can result in a lack of amino acids, biotin, iron, protein, magnesium and zinc.

In most cases, if male hair loss occurs at the top of the head and crown, it can point towards a significant [Hormone imbalance] or thyroid problem (See below)

Fortunately these essential hair health nutrients can be supplemented with GOOD HEAD [Potent 4-in-1 Hair Re-Growth Supplement]

HORMONE IMBALANCE & HEALTH ISSUES

health issues hair lossSeveral underlying health issues can cause hair thinning and hair loss:

Dihydrotestosterone – DHT plays a major role in hair loss. Male pattern baldness, also known as androgenic alopecia or androgenetic alopecia, is caused by sensitivity of hair follicles to the hormone DHT.  Excess DHT in the blood stream and scalp binds to the hair follicles and over time causes the sensitive follicles to miniaturize (shrink), resulting in a shorter lifespan and the abnormal production of hair. The problem for hair loss sufferers is usually an excess of (sex) hormones, known as androgens, i.e. testosterone.

Hair health and prostate health are generally linked to the same set of hormones. The enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, which is mostly produced in the prostate. 5-alpha-reductase transforms testosterone into DHT.

An unhealthy Liver – This vital organ is the bodys own natural ‘detoxifier’. It’s almost like the bodys own ‘anti-ageing machine’ providing it is in the best condition it can be in and not clogged up with fats and toxins that it is forced to store over the years. To some extent, the better your liver functions, the slower you will age. The liver contains enzymes that process hormones, toxins and fats which must be eliminated (removed) from the body in order to ensure that the body stays healthy. The liver processes and sends these waste products out through the colon (large and small intestines) and the kidneys.

However, when there is excess production of testosterone in the body and/or an excess consumption of ‘bad fats’, toxins, sugars and chemicals from processed foods and/or a general imbalance of hormones, the liver is forced to send excess DHT to the skin, in sebum, where it can be safely eliminated from the body via the skins pores. The largest pores on the skin are in the ears, the forehead, the scalp and the back.

These areas are precisely where sebum is secreted from in largest quantities. When the liver is unable to expel DHT via the normal channels of elimination because it is overloaded, excess DHT and/or fat is sent to the largest pores to be excreted via the skin which in turn suffocates the hair follicles and deprives them of vital nutrients and blood supply.

Hypothyroidism – Hair loss may occur as a symptom of the malfunctioning of the hormone producing thyroid gland. Sometimes hair loss is a symptom of a medical condition. Dozens of diseases are known to cause strands to fall. Some of the more common ones are thyroid diseases and anaemia. When the disease is treated, hair usually goes back to its normal growth pattern.

Seborrheic dermatitis – Often responsible for dandruff, is actually a cause of baldness that is often overlooked and not often covered on hair loss sites. It causes reddening of the skin and flaking, and is caused by excessive sebum from the oil glands of the scalp. It is particularly common in people with oily skin or hair, acne, or psoriasis. It is for this very reason that topical treatments for hair regrowth cannot reach the follicle. Once you have knocked out seborrheic dermatitis, your scalp will become responsive to hair regrowth treatments in general, so this is a threshold issue.

GENETICS

hair loss genetics40% of men experience noticeable hair loss before the age of 35. When we reach our 20s and 30s, loss of hair is common. It’s not considered a disease. A mixture of genes, aging and hormones leads to this type of hair loss. A common family predisposition involves natural, age-related hormonal changes that can trigger hair loss. This is caused by the conversion of testosterone into the toxin Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and sensitivity to this hormone can be inherited from either your Mother or your Father.

STRESS AND TRAUMA

stress hair lossStress is known to have several negative effects on the body, hair loss being one common side effect. Working too hard, personal losses, a negative outlook in life – these all lead to a stressful existence. Significant stress can lead to Telogen Effluvium, where the hair follicles linger much longer than average in the resting stage of the hair growth cycle. Hair loss can occur in a few months. You might notice strands falling off as you go about your daily business, combing or washing your hair.

Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) can be quite a crucial vitamin for stress related hair loss sufferers. It is possible that high stress levels could cause a mild deficiency of pantothenic acid because it is used to regulate the adrenal gland, among other things. Additionally, an imbalance of hormones or hormonal surges can deplete pantothenic acid.

Stress also constricts blood supply through the capillaries, restricting oxygen, nutrient and vitamin uptake to the hair follicle.

MEDICATIONS

medications hair lossThe hair follicle is incredibly sensitive to changes in the body. Any hormone therapy can contribute to hair thinning, as can steroids, specific chemotherapies, anti-hypertensives, diabetes, heart disease and acne medications amongst others. Plenty of other medications for conditions such as arthritis and depression also affect hormone levels in the body. Other medical treatments may also lead to severe hair loss, namely chemotherapy and other therapies involving radiation.

Opiates – Codeine, Vicodin, Hycodan (hydrocodone) MS Contin Kadian (morphine,) Oxycontin, Percoset (oxycodone), Dilaudid (hydromorphone), Duragesic (fentanyl) pain medicines, also known as opiates, may cause hair loss.

Opiates have a well-known side effect of greatly altering systemic hormones in the body. In addition to a chain of events that results in raised oestrogen levels and decreased testosterone, growth hormones, cortisol, and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) are reduced. The end result is often fatigue, reduced sex drive, hair loss, and other unwanted side effects.

Antidepressants – These can be a double-edged sword. One of the biggest causes of hair loss is stress. Antidepressants may help with stress, though in some circumstances they can serve more as a band aid than a true antidote for the underlying problem. Some, but not all, antidepressants, may also cause hair loss. This becomes a complex issue because it is a balancing act between managing stress and managing prescription medication that may cause hair loss. Firstly you should check to see whether hair loss is even reported as a possible symptom of your antidepressant. If it is then check with your Doctor to see if there is a substitute antidepressant that is of the same class but without this side effect.

Other Drugs – Acne medications containing vitamin A (retinoids), antibiotics, antifungals, anticlotting, statins, immuno-suppressants can all cause hair loss. Anticonvulsants, anti-hypertensives, NSAIDs, Parkinsons Disease medications, and weight loss drugs can also have the same effect.

ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS

environmental hair lossAir and water pollutants, chlorine, metals and minerals may be left on the scalp and hair as we wash with water every day, contributing to thinning. Pollutants such as pseudo-oestrogens and toxins from within our bodies are also a factor.

Hard water – This is water that has a high mineral content, especially calcium and magnesium in comparison to soft water. Although it’s not considered as harmful for your health, hard water can cause serious problems to your hair and skin. After many washes, minerals dissolved in the hard water create a scaly film on the hair. This prevents the moisture from entering the hair. The result is dry, dull, tangled and potential discolouration to the hair. Hard water can also cause build up on the scalp, causing a dandruff-like condition to form.