Hair loss is a common concern affecting millions of people worldwide. Whether it’s thinning, receding hairlines, or bald patches, the impact of hair loss on one’s confidence and self-esteem can be substantial.

What is Hair Loss?

Hair loss, medically known as alopecia, is a condition characterised by the partial or complete absence of hair from areas where it normally grows. This phenomenon can manifest in various forms, from gradual thinning to sudden, significant hair shedding. Understanding the different causes of hair loss is crucial for devising suitable prevention and treatment plans.

Causes and Risk Factors of Hair Loss

The causes of hair loss can be multifaceted, ranging from genetics and hormonal changes to lifestyle and nutritional deficiencies. Among the plethora of factors contributing to hair loss, micronutrient deficiency plays a significant role. Some of the causes are:

  • Micronutrient deficiency

  • Hashimotos

  • Hypothyroidism

  • PCOS

  • Post viral stress

  • Stressful event

  • Protein deficiency

  • Malabsorption

  • Malnutrition

  • Medications

  • Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy

A comprehensive understanding of these causative factors helps in adopting targeted approaches for preventing and managing hair loss effectively.

Vitamins and Minerals Important for Hair Growth

Recent studies shed light on the critical role of vitamins and minerals in hair health. Micronutrients like vitamin A, vitamin B complex, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, iron, selenium, and zinc play pivotal roles in the normal hair follicle cycle and immune cell function. Deficiencies in these micronutrients can potentially contribute to hair loss.

The Study: ‘The Role of Vitamins and Minerals in Hair Loss: A Review

A study conducted to explore the link between micronutrients and non-scarring alopecia emphasises the significance of proper nutrition in maintaining healthy hair. The review discusses the roles of various vitamins and minerals in the hair cycle, highlighting their importance in both development and immune defense mechanisms. The findings suggest that addressing micronutrient deficiencies could be a modifiable risk factor for preventing and treating hair loss.

References:

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13555-018-0278-6

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0738081X21000729

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/lap.2020.0468

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5315033/

 

Anxiety, Depression and the MTHFR Connection!

Recently there has been a lot of press around mood issues such as anxiety and depression and the possibility, that the cause is connected to a genetic mutation, of the MTHFR gene (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase). This gene is responsible for making an enzyme known as, methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (same name as the gene!). This enzyme takes the folate (vitamin B9) from your diet and converts it to an active form that the body can use, known as 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5MTHF). If a problem with the gene exists, this effects the enzyme, which in turn, effects the production of 5MTHF. This results in problems with a cycle, known as, the methylation. Another proven helpful way to reduce this two conditions is the cbd and hemp oil, learn more at this blog pots. Just about every single cell in our body relies on methylation, making it an extremely important process, faults in methylation are more far reaching than mood alone. This is why testing for MTHFR mutations is important for many people.

MTHFR and Mood

Studies show an association between the MTHFR C677T mutation and depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder! Whilst you can’t change your genes, you can support your body with lifestyle, diet and specific nutrients to allow the methylation cycle to work more efficently. When the MTHFR mutations exist, homocysteine (an amino acid produced in the methylation cycle) levels can increase in the blood (which as a side note, is a cardiovascular risk). This may occur because the cycle doesn’t have the nutrients  (5MTHF being one of these), it requires to reduce homocysteine and allow for effective production of certain compounds, such as SAMe (s adenosylmethionine) which plays a role in mood regulation.

Methylation

Its important to understand that the MTHFR gene is not the only reason why methylation might be compromised and homocysteine levels elevated. Vitamins B12 and B6, must also be considered in the methylation equation, although its important to note, there are also some other key nutrients involved. As discussed earlier, mood is not the only aspect of health effected when methylation is not working efficiently, it effects the bodies ability to detoxify heavy metals and chemicals, it can effect the immune system, hormones, energy, histamine levels, controls inflammation and can be responsible for imbalances in the liver, thyroid, adrenal, digestion and hormonal systems. Any one or more of these imbalances can be effecting your mood!

How do I test for MTHFR

There are two MTHFR SNP’s that can be tested, if your doctor believe’s it is warranted, the cost is covered through medicare, if not, it is an out of pocket expense of approximately $50. Currently testing is available for the: C677T and A1298C, you will be provided with a result for each of either – no mutation, one mutation (heterozygous) or two mutations (homozygous). A homozygous result on the C677T is considered the highest loss of function (at up to 70{ad0958e2cc4f7ce1b8a4a11258b282f3c28808b1a53d76a4b670a19fad40adab}). To be better able to understand the impact that a positive MTHFR has on any one person, it is worth also testing for homocysteine (fasted), folate (red blood cell) and B12. A qualified practitioner will include other testing to obtain a good overview of exactly how your body is being effected.  Homocysteine is often used as a marker in determining how your methylation is doing. Unfortunately many practitioners are not regularly testing.

Treatment

Treatment is not always straightforward, as there is much to consider, whilst some people with the mutation will do well on folinic acid (please note this is different to folic acid) or 5MTHF, others will not, and others still may find symptoms worsen, this will require work to be done in other components of the cycle and body systems first. Some detective work will be needed to determine, if and how the MTHFR mutation is being expressed and how this may be influencing your health. Short term and long term treatment will need to be considered. Folate is found in leafy green vegetables such as baby spinach, kale, spinach, lettuces etc so increasing these in the diet is a good start.

Who should be tested? 

You should be tested if you have a parent with the mutation, if you have a long history of mood problems or addictions, if you have a high homocysteine levels (which is not related to a B12 deficiency), if you suffer any chronic illness or fatigue (with an unknown origin) or if you plan to conceive (both prospective parents should be tested, ideally at least 3 months prior to conception).

Conclusion 

MTHFR is a very important discovery, and can have a major impact not only on mood but overall health. Understanding its impact and relationship within everything going on in the body is critical if you are to benefit from this knowledge. Regards, Maria

References

CIRC-Relation Between Folate AJE-Genetic Polymorphisms and Psychiatric Disorders AJP-Homocysteine Hypothesis of Depression CEBP-MTHFR & Polymorphisms CLINCHEM-Effect of Riboflavin Science direct-METHYLATION AND MOOD WILEY-S-adenosylmethionine blood levels Jama network-Polymorphism in Anxiety and Depression NHM-https://naturalhealthmedicine.com.au/elevated-homocysteine-heart-health-risk-levels-checked/#sthash.wB6qT85L.dpuf

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