Q: Will anything help with my loss of hair?
GR: Men are basically conditioned to expect to lose that head of hair sooner or later. And if you’ve ever seen a photo of me, you know that I know what I’m talking about.
But still, for men – and especially for women – hair loss can DESTROY self-esteem.
The good news is that losing hair – even by the handful! – is usually a symptom of something else going on. And that means we can ward it off… or even REVERSE it entirely.
As I’ve shared in the past, it’s normal for each of us to lose anywhere from 50 to 100 strands of hair EACH DAY. But studies show that when it gets to be more than that, it can be a symptom of something more serious.
While hair loss can certainly be genetic – we can all just take a look at our parents and grandparents to sort that one out – research shows that there are also a whole host of other causes.
And the first step toward reigning it in is getting to the “root” of the problem.
Here at my clinic in Boston, we know that hair loss can be attributed to minor, short-term issues like daily washing (which strips hair of its natural oils) and using harsh chemical products (which can lead to thinning and breakage) – both of which can be managed with diet and lifestyle changes.
In other cases, it could be a result of an illness -- even one from months ago.
As well, some drugs (acid blockers, anti-seizure meds, and blood thinners) may induce hair loss, which most commonly begins to appear within two to four months after starting up on the medication. The good news is that the hair loss is typically easily reversed by stopping the medication, but it may be a few weeks before those locks come back and better (and healthier) than ever.
Other times, the cause can be more systemic – and here at my clinic, we often trace it back to hormone levels that have gone out of whack. But unfortunately, it’s not just one hormone that can cause a thick head of hair to thin out.
For instance, some of the synthetic “female” hormones taken during menopause can cause hair to start falling out, as can too much cortisol (the “stress hormone”) and low functioning thyroid.
Thyroid function can easily be stalled or even blocked by radiation, trauma, illness, and medication – but fortunately, we can usually improve it with natural thyroid replacement, zinc and selenium supplements, and a nutrient-rich Paleo diet.
In addition to hormone disruptions, hair loss can sometimes also indicate deficiencies in biotin, zinc, ferritin, and iron – which can all be improved easily by eating a combination of fish, meat, legumes, and leafy greens like spinach or broccoli.
Beware of taking zinc or iron supplements on your own. In both cases, you can easily get too much of a good thing.
An integrative doc can test for hormone imbalances and prescribe a treatment that’s right for you. For my “Halt the Hair Loss” plan, see the December 2015 issue of my Nutrition & Healing newsletter.
Something else got you scratching your head? Shoot me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I may answer your question next.