Losing Your Hair?
“Hair is the crown for a woman’s head.”
Well, something like that.
If you have noticed clumps of hair in the shower or hair brush it’s not a symptom you want to ignore. There are various causes for hair loss that range from anemia (secondary to a bigger issue), to low thyroid function, to adrenal dysfunction.
Anemia is a condition in which there are not enough healthy red blood cells to carry the needed oxygen to tissues in the body. This includes major organs, such as our skin, where hair follicles are found, and affecting hair growth or fall out.
Low thyroid function, or hypothyroidism, is another cause of hair loss as the decrease in hormones interferes with the growth cycle of hair. According to the British Thyroid Foundation, the hair follicle goes through a growth phase in which the hair grows in length, then enters a phase of rest at which hair will fall out and will be replaced by new hair. However, when illness or hormonal imbalance is present, the follicles enter into a resting phase and therefore stalling the hair growth process.
Then there is stress...one of the most notorious reasons for hair loss. As mentioned before, hair follicles are part of our biggest organ, the skin. Within the skin, there are many nerve fibers that receive messages from the central nervous system. Stress tends to interfere with hormone response and nerve functions, at which if a hormone or signal is not received, then the body does not respond. In other words, the follicle might not receive the signal to regrow hair when it should.
So how do we handle hair loss?
First, thorough testing should be done to determine the root cause. Two of the most overlooked tests include an iron/ferritin panel and vitamin B12. Some studies show that ferritin levels of at least 50ng/mL are needed to maintain hair and 70ng/mL to replenish hair. Unfortunately, lab ranges are so wide that you can still be in the normal range yet experience symptoms. The reference ranges are 10-110 ng/ml for ferritin levels. Optimal levels of Vitamin B12 at 200 to 900 pg/ml. It can be beneficial to work with a practitioner who uses functional lab markers as these vary from conventional labs and can confirm success of treatment.
Second, a full thyroid panel can help eliminate possibility of hormone imbalance or even an autoimmune disease.
Incorporating stress management techniques to calm the nervous system is highly recommended. For example, going for a morning walk, meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, or journaling are helpful in finding time to nurture our minds and just relax from a busy day.
Let’s not forget the importance of good nutrition.
One of my favorite super foods that contain rich sources of iron and vitamin B12 is liver. If you can’t stomach it, there is always the option of liver capsules starting with 1-2 per day (Check out our store page for our favorite supplement by Allergy Research Group Liver Beef Natural Glandular Caps); make sure to have your lab markers monitored while on the supplement.
However, if you do enjoy eating liver, there are many delicious recipes online to help add liver to your plate, such as sautéed or ground and mixed into turkey patties. Eating liver with a good source of vitamin C such as followed with an apple, orange, or sweet potato can certainly help with better iron absorption. Adding liver to your weekly meals at least two times a week is sure to start providing results.
Just remember, the best choice is liver that comes from grass-fed animals or organic for a higher nutrient content.
Dermatological Clinics London United Kingdom, 1993 Jan; 11(1):47-53