Stress and Hair Loss
We know that stress either causes or exacerbates a large percentage of all disease. Almost every disease known has been linked to stressful toxins. How does this link work? Stress causes our body to produce toxins, and toxins — those from the food we eat and the environment that surrounds us, as well as those that we produce ourselves when under duress — compromise our well-being. Work and family conflicts, financial pressures, and simply never having enough time are just a few of the many stressors that we face everyday.
The biological changes that take place in relation to the perceived threats are called the stress response. Our bodies can adjust for and counteract the mild forms of stress that we encounter. As a matter of fact, stress can be good if we know how to use it to make things happen positively. Pressure can make us face up to challenges with extraordinary skill and fortitude. However, in the case of extreme, unusual, or long lasting stress — emotional, physical, and chemical — our stress response and ensuing control mechanisms can be quite overwhelming and harmful. The overflow of stress hormones into our system can adversely affect our mind-body physiology, including our hair and skin. When you’re under stress from illness or work, sometimes the circulation in the scalp is so constricted that the hair follicles lose blood supply, which causes them to atrophy and fall out. However, it often grows right back when a person is no longer under extreme stress.
In essence, if we cannot manage the stress in our life, we are working our adrenal glands to exhaustion. This is when skin and hair problems also become apparent, because we are constantly shutting off the blood supply to our heart and lungs, diverting it away from the feeding and nourishing of the hair.
The first step toward health comes with becoming aware of the myriad influences stress has on your mind-body physiology. Here are some tips to destressing:
Meditation: The most scientifically documented technique of meditation is Transcendental Meditation or TM. The benefits of TM have been verified by over 600 scientific research studies across a broad spectrum of health-related issues. The research has shown that individuals who practice TM experience a significant reduction in stress and stress- related disease, and improvements in many other areas of health concern).
Proper nutrition (see “Diet and Hair Loss” below)
Taking in positive experiences such as these will go a long way toward detoxification on the emotional, mental and physical levels.
Diet and Hair Loss
As much as America’s fast food culture wishes life were a box of chocolates, the fact is strong, healthy hair requires more than most vending machines and drive thru’s can offer. Unfortunately, excessive weight isn’t the only thing poor eating habits can cause: thin hair, susceptible to the damaging effects of DHT is just as likely. If you are experiencing hair loss, your diet can play a profound role in reversing this condition. By utilizing the medicinal, healing properties of food, your body can defend itself against balding and hair loss. With a diet rich in vitamins, proteins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and trace elements, your hair will be more capable to withstand the bi-product of testosterone: DHT (the main culprit in male and female pattern baldness).
Studies have shown that diets rich with animal fats cause excessive amounts of testosterone to be released into the blood stream. Similarly, people who ate diets low in fat had significantly less testosterone released in their system. High levels of testosterone directly affect the amount of hair loss a person experiences. Research also indicates that high-fat diets limit vital protein binding globulins. These globulins keep testosterone inactive in the body until it is required. A bloodstream without such globulins means that more testosterone is ready to be transformed by the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase (present in hair glands) into DHT. With larger amounts of testosterone circulating in the blood, oil glands can increase activity, thereby providing the system with more harmful DHT. Interestingly enough, areas that frequently have problems with balding contain larger oil glands than areas not associated with balding.
In a frequently noted study, researcher Masui Inaba documented his findings in a report illustrating this phenomenon in action. The study observed higher incidents of hair loss among Japanese men who ate Westernized diets (i.e. far more red meat than their peers). With more animal fat in their diets, Inaba illustrated that the dramatic increase led to an increased incidence of hair loss. His research indicated that higher levels of fat cause oil glands in the hair follicle to grow, thereby producing more DHT and more damage to hair follicles. From a molecular point of view, baldness is seen as a hormonal imbalance. It is widely accepted that the hormone DHT (Dihydrotestosterone), the bi-product in the breakdown of testosterone, is the principal factor in hair loss. As a result, compounds capable of lowering DHT levels are viewed as having a beneficial effect in the treatment of baldness, including dietary restrictions that aid in reducing the effects of DHT.
Although controlling dietary intake is more challenging than using medication, it doesn’t have any negative side effects. Many individuals have reported that changing their diet has resulted in helping to control hair loss, especially when it was done in combination with compounds that limit the production of testosterone DHT.
1.Steering clear of the Western diet is one of the best ways to avoid and defend against baldness. By introducing low-fat protein sources, such as non-fatty fish, chicken, turkey, and soy products as well as complex carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables, and beans, into a diet rich in fatty acids can be effective in helping control hair loss. By utilizing a healthy diet in tandem with drug and herbal therapies, individuals can greatly increase the odds of their success.
2.Eat sizeable portions of fruits, vegetables, and beans. Don’t emphasize potatoes, pasta, and bread. These foods quickly turn to glucose, spinning insulin levels out of control as blood sugar levels rise rapidly and fall just as quickly. This compromises the body’s ability to regulate hormone levels in the blood. Such foods should be kept to a minimum.
Harsh Man-Made Shampoos
Excessive shampooing, particularly with most commonly used commercial shampoos, can cause the hair to lose minerals such as Calcium, Phosphorus, Iron, and Nitrogen. This is due to the harsh chemicals present in most of these products. Not only will they damage your hair, but they can pose a threat to general health. Formaldehyde, which is used in shampoo as a preservative, is often disguised as ‘Quanternium015)’. Aside from being carcinogenic at certain levels, it can prove to be an irritant to the skin, eyes, and respiratory system. Shampoos may also contain ammonia, coal tar colors, synthetic detergents, ethanol, and artificial fragrances. It’s no wonder allergic reactions to these products are common. Remember, the shampoo you used in your twenties may not be the best choice in your forties. This is because hair, like skin, becomes drier as we age, producing less of the oil which services as a protective shield for the hair shaft.
An excellent shampoo is REJUVEN Shampoo which cleans the hair and scalp the natural way: with pure herbal extracts . And it will not clog the hair follicles with gelatin based thickeners. Instead, its essential oils and phyto- revitalizers dramatically increase hair retention and manageability for all types of hair.
Vitamins and Hair Loss
The nutritional needs and tolerances of an individual will vary according to body size, metabolism and metabolic type, age, diet, genetics, etc. We advise you seek more information, either through books, a nutritional consultant, or discussions at your local vitamin shop before taking large quantities of the substances mentioned. While foodstuffs containing high levels of vitamins and minerals are safe to experiment with, isolating nutrients require more careful thought.
Vitamin A — a deficiency can create a hardened, thick scalp skin that produces buildup of oil and perspiration below the surface of the skin, with dry hair and flaking dandruff the result. Vitamin A is found in yellow, orange, and dark leafy vegetables.
Vitamin B — A deficiency of B vitamins can create an excessively oily scalp, oily dandruff, baldness, and premature graying. Vitamin B is found in whole grains, beans, seeds, and vegetables.
Vitamin C — Plays a key role in Collagen formation and improves scalp circulation.
Vitamin E — A deficiency symptoms include hair loss and brittle hair. Supplementation with E can improve circulation in the scalp by increasing oxygen uptake.
Minerals — a deficiency in the wide range of minerals, which are vital to healthy hair and skin, can adversely affect the structural makeup of the hair as well as the formation of collagen, the connective tissue found in the skin and throughout the body. Your hair’s roots must receive proper mineral nourishment in order to perform the function of growing and maintaining a healthy head of hair. Once denied these nutrients, the scalp tissues begin to break down, and hair loss results. An example of some of these minerals are Iodine, Zinc, sulfur, Potassium, Iron, and Silica.
For hair loss, stunted growth or thinning of hair, Dr. Andrew Weil recommends supplementing the diet with a source of GLA (gamma linolenic acid), a fatty acid that improves the health of skin, hair, and nails. Your choices are evening primrose oil, black currant oil, and borage oil which are all available in health food stores. Take one or two 500-mg capsules twice a day. It may take six to eight weeks before you notice a change in your rate of hair loss and thickness of new hair. (As a side benefit, you may also notice that you have healthier, cleaner, glowing skin and hair).
We can all get the vitamins and minerals that our bodies require by eating a well-balanced diet, and it is preferable to give your body all of its nourishment from a variety of whole, organic foods. However, given the rushed, fast-food mentality of Western culture, many of us don’t get these recommended amounts. As a result, many health care providers recommend taking a high-quality vitamin and supplement to make up for any inadequacies of diet and product our bodies and hair.
Causes of Temporary Hair Loss
•Physical stress: surgery, illness, anemia, rapid weight change. The hair loss usually occurs 3 months after the event that caused it and may take 3 months after the event ends to resume.
•Emotional stress: mental illness, death of a family member. Again, the hair loss usually occurs 3 months after the event that caused it and may take 3 months after the event ends to resume.
•Medications: High does of Vitamin A — Blood pressure medications — Gout medications.
•Hormonal causes: pregnancy or birth control pills. Hair loss frequently occurs when the body’s hormonal levels are noticeable altered. This can occur due to pregnancy, or going on or off birth control pills. This type of hair loss is usually temporary.
•Diet: Women appear to be more subject to hair loss due to dietary reasons than men. Low iron levels are the most common dietary reason women experience hair loss, although other vitamins and minerals may be involved. Also, the intake of a diet high in animal fat directly leads to the increased incidence of balding because the higher levels of animal fat cause the oil glands in the hair follicles to grow, leading to more DHT production and therefore more damage to the hair follicles.
•Hair shaft breakage is when part of a hair breaks off, but the growing end remains in the follicle and continues to grow. Hair shaft breakage results in thinner hair, and can be caused by excessive styling, chemicals, sun, and chlorine in swimming pools.
•If your hair loss is due to a short-term event such as stress, pregnancy, and the taking of certain medications in these situations, hair will grow back when the event has passed. Substances (including hormones), medications, and diseases can cause a change in the hair growth and shedding phases and in their durations. When this happens, synchronous growth and shedding occur. Once the cause is dealt with, hairs go back to their random pattern of growth and shedding, and your hair loss problem stops.
As stated above, many of these types of hair loss are reversible on their own with time. However, many people choose to use a hair loss treatment, such as REJUVEN™ Regrowth Treatment, to speed up the hair regrowth process.