Everyone knows I have an interest in hair, mostly because it is a really good reflection of our health. I like to use it because it is a brilliant indicator of mineral levels. It's a much better indicator than blood. Homoeostatic controls means blood contents are tightly restricted. This control does not apply to tissues like hair so hair tissue will give a more accurate representation of mineral level.
What happens when it starts to fall out? What can be done to arrest this distressing condition? What can be done to help with severe dandruff?
I'm going to outline here some simple but effective ways to cope with hair loss and dandruff. Genetics plays a part, especially in the most common hair loss - male pattern baldness. Thyroid problems can cause major hair loss, the most obvious sign in women being a bald patch at the forehead going as far back as the crown.
Stress plays it's part too, taking its toll on the adrenals and elevating the stress hormone cortisol. From this you can gather there is never really one cause but a multitude of causes, usually problems which have been going on for some time and which have been easier to ignore in the hope that they will go away.
What's to be done?
A good diet is a good start! Since hair is 97% protein, good sources of protein must be consumed regularly, preferably more than once a day. A breakfast with nuts and seeds can be very helpful here. Sulphur is vital for healthy connective tissue and hair growth. Sulphur is in cottage cheese, meats, poultry, legumes like lentils, seeds and some grains. If you are vegan it is important to source good protein from a vegetable source. Being a 'pastafarian' does not count as a healthy choice either, pasta is no substitute for protein.
Protein rich foods also provide arginine (an amino acid) helping to stimulate the blood supply to the hair root to encourage growth.
The B Vitamins are most important. B vitamins help make healthy red blood cells. They are also excellent for stress, sleeping and anxiety, very calming. Biotin or B7 is a very important nutrient associated with hair loss. Incidentally Biotin is also shown on the Hair Mineral Analysis, being one of those vitamins like cobalt which is half vitamin/half mineral. Vegans may be at risk on this one. Biotin deficiency can show as loss of hair colour, hair loss, red rashes around the eyes, nose and mouth. A study from Harvard University suggests that Biotin is one of 'the most important nutrients for preserving hair strength, texture and function, minimizing hair loss and averting grey hair'. Does this mean I want you all to rush out and buy Biotin? Ah, if only it were that simple. Taking Biotin has risks; contact me for more information.
B5 (pantothenic acid gives hair strength as well as helping prevent greying. B5 is sometimes called the anti-stress vitamin. B6 and B12 (methylcobalamin or cobalt) help with healthy hormones and stress levels which can precipitate hair loss but certainly affect the thyroid/adrenal function.
Vitamin B6 has the added benefit of helping to prevent dandruff. There's also evidence that a B12 deficiency can cause slow hair growth and a frizzy hair look. (Note: this is usually combined with elevated copper to zinc ratios).
Folic acid or folate as now preferred, helps keep healthy methionine levels and a deficiency shows as anaemia, apathy, fatigue and greying hair.
Minerals are vital parts of healing, and low iron can be a factor in hair loss, as can low B12 (methylcobalimin or cobalt) usually caused by poor digestive juices in the stomach. A hair mineral analysis shows up all of these imbalances. Zinc is also another marker for poor hair health. Zinc is a stimulating mineral, helping with normal follicle cell division. In some cases topical application of zinc can reduce hair loss (5-AR Type 11).
If this article is of interest to you please contact me for more information on where to buy really good quality supplements. Remember, whatever it says on the packet, the largest ingredient is always listed first, which in cheaper products is usually bulking agents which have no nutritional value whatsoever. The price is a giveaway - 08p a tablet means it is not of good quality. Contact me through the Contact page on my web site.