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/

 

Fresh Local Whole Organic Seasonal Food

 

Whilst we aren’t always going to get it right with our food it’s nice to know what to strive for, what’s the ideal!

 

Here are some valuable things to consider about your food:

Quality – Wherever possible food needs to be fresh, local, organic or biodynamic, unprocessed and whole food, additive and chemical free (this is particular important for meats – especially chicken and pork which are omnivores)

Local and Fresh – The sooner food is eaten from being picked or slaughtered the better it tastes, this is obviously easier to do with local foods that don’t have to travel long distances.

Raw – Eat plenty of raw food, this saves on cooking time, ensures enzymes are not destroyed and nutrients are at their optimum, as even the best cooking methods still effect nutrients (some more than others). For those with inflammatory bowel disorders, raw food may not be tolerated and therefore cooking will be necessary until this is rectified. Chinese medicine also considers that too much raw food for some individuals is not ideal.

Seasonal – Eating fruits and vegetables during their “in” season, avoids developing food intolerances, as this allows your body to have a break from certain foods for a while, it adds variety to your diet and provides you the opportunity to access the different nutrients found in a larger variety of foods.

Fibre – Is needed to maintain a healthy running digestive tract (for most people), fibre is found in plant foods; vegetables, fruits, legumes, lentils, grains, nuts and seeds. The evidence is quite clear that a lack of fibre may be one cause of bowel cancer and digestive issues. Some great sources of fiber include ground or soaked chia seeds and ground or soaked linseeds (otherwise known as flaxseeds). Organic psyllium husks are very effective in assisting bowels to move effectively but ideally should be taken with plenty of water (for each teaspoon of psyllium at least 250 mills of water). Again we know that fibers can be a problem for those with digestive issues and may require an initial period off them!

Organic – Often people debate if its really better to eat organic food and many people do not really understand what this means. Organic foods have been grown without using chemicals, whilst this is easy to understand, in terms of whole foods (fruit, veg, nuts, seeds, meat etc) it can get a little tricker with packaged foods. For instance you might buy organic corn chips which still have additives, this is because the corn might be grown organically but additives where added at the processing point! I think its a no brainer that foods that have not had chemicals added to them are going to lower your toxic load and therefore be healthier for you.

Cooking – This can be an area that some people overlook, and is particularly obvious in the popular foods fed to kids – nuggets, chips, battered fish! These foods begin as relatively decent foods – chicken, potatoes, fish – but their processing absolutely ruins them – the deep frying process produces transfats, this joined with the additives and chemicals (most chips have a lovely cocktail of chemicals added to them these days to stop them from going brown!). Taking them up their with some of the most unhealthiest foods we have available to us. Barbecuing meats is well known to be carcinogenic. Ideally steaming, boiling (using the fluid to retain nutrients) or slow and low heat cooking are much healthier options. The types of oils used to cook with also makes a difference, using saturated fats which are stable in heat are ideal these include pure butter, ghee, coconut oil, grass fed beef dripping, duck fat or lard! Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat and can only handle lower heat. Vegetable oils cannot handle heat and so should not be used for cooking.

Eating Mindfully – Eating mindfully suggests, paying complete attention as you chew your food, to the flavours and textures, appreciating and enjoying the experience. This often leads to eating slower and can assist in eating less or more as the body requires.

 

“Nutrition is not the highest thing in life, but it is the soil on which the highest things either flourish or perish” – Dr Max Bircher-Benner

References

www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306987799900300?np=y

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