Why do some people lose their hair early in life? This question is not such a mystery if you understand the factors that contribute to hair loss and how, for some, it is possible to regenerate hair growth.
There are 10 commonly known factors that contribute to hair loss:
- Poor diet
- Vitamin & mineral deficiency
- Hormone changes
- Your genes
- Poor circulation
- Hair dyes and other chemicals
- Acute illness and/or surgery
- Radiation exposure and drugs, such as those used in chemotherapy
Balding occurs mainly in men and often in middle-aged women. However, if you understand that genetics are only 25% of the puzzle and environmental factors which you control are 75%, you will realize that you are holding all the aces and can help your body heal through proper nutrition and supplementation.
According to researchers, a contributing factor to balding is a tiny mite called demodex follicularum. These mites are present in 95% of our hair follicles by the time we reach our 50s. In most cases these mites do no harm; however, if our bodies initiate an inflammatory response to reject the mites, it will close down the hair follicle killing the mites, but also killing the hair.
More and more health care practitioners are beginning to understand that inflammation is the root cause of most diseases, and what we eat matters. If what you are eating feeds a condition to which your genes are predisposed, you will speed the process. If you rid the body of inflammation by eliminating contributing foods and supplements that tend to expedite the process of hair loss and add essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients, the body will promote health and can regenerate hair growth.
As a natural health care practitioner, I recommend the following to avoid hair loss and regenerate hair growth:
- Eat lots of fruits and green leafy vegetables, as they contain flavonoids and antioxidants that provide protection for the hair follicles and create new growth. Make sure all your choices are non-GMO and certified organic to avoid additional chemicals.
- Eat foods that are high in biotin such as brown rice, bulgur wheat, green peas, lentils, oats, sunflower seeds, walnuts and some organic soy. Soy appears to inhibit the formation of dihydrotestosterone, a hormone that contributes to hair loss; however, it does need to be eaten in moderation as it can be harmful to some health conditions. Sprouted organic low-fat tofu and organic tempeh are good sources.
- Stay away from “night shade” foods including bell peppers, eggplant, mushrooms, russet potatoes, and tomatoes as they promote the inflammatory process in the body. Dairy products, red meat, caffeine and alcohol are also on the list of inflammatory foods.
- Avoid crash dieting, pills and chemicals, as these not only break down the immune system and cause other health issues, but also cause more stress, anxiety and depression. This is due to the body lacking essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants needed to promote hair growth and overall wellness.
Helpful vitamins, minerals and herbs:
- A good quality fish oil supplies the body with essential fatty acids.
- B-complex – If you have excess hair loss, take additional B5, B6, B3 and biotin.
- Vitamin C with bioflavonoid – Start with 3,000mg per day and build up to 10,000mg depending on the severity of, not only hair loss, but also the inflammation in your body. You will know if you are taking too much vitamin C, as your body will initiate a diarrhea response.
- Vitamin E (approx. 400iu) improves the circulation to the scalp and promotes hair growth.
- Zinc (20mg) enhances immune function which in turn stimulates the hair follicle.
- Kelp (500mg) supplies necessary minerals for hair follicles.
- CQ10 (50mg) is not only good for the heart by increasing oxygen in the tissues, but also increases circulation to the scalp on a continual basis.
- Copper (1 to 3mg) works in correlation with zinc to stimulate hair follicle and hair growth.
- Ginkgo biloba is a great herb that not only improves your memory but improves circulation of the scalp.
- Pygeum, saw palmetto, and caffeine-free green tea not only aid in prostate health, but also aid in the reduction of hair loss for men.
- Tea tree oil combats bacteria and mites that may cause hair loss. Massage about 1 TBSP into the scalp, wait 10 minutes and then rinse your hair with a quality organic non-chemical shampoo such as Tate’s or Cathy’s.
And, of course, learning to manage stress (versus pulling your hair out) can also contribute to an overall healthier you.
Dr. Beckner is owner of Your Body Code personalized nutrition and wellness programs in Palm Desert and can be reached at (760) 341.BODY(2639). For more information visit www.yourbodycode.com
Sources: 1) Amanda Beckner CN, HHP, PhD, Your Body Code, copy write 2009; 2) H. Winter Griffith, Minerals, Supplements and Vitamins: The Essential Guide, DA Capo Press, 2000; 3) Phyllis A. Balch, Herbal Healing, copy write 2002.