How to Stop Hair Fall. Right Now.

So How to Control Hair fall when you are faced with one

Freak out?!

Look for Hair Fall Solutions seriously!

Take hair product advertisements more seriously?! (Taking health advice from tv advertisements is a no-no!)

Get a shorter hair cut, and hope that the hair fall stops/reduces?! (Ya! That does work sometimes!)

Does your hair care regimen consist of only shampooing and conditioning?! Do you run to the market to change shampoos, oils, conditioners and whatnot?!

Well then, you have a long way to go!

Hair fall and hair thinning is always an indication that something is wrong with your health. You maybe suffering from multiple nutritional deficiencies.

30% of women face significant hair fall in their 30’s. And 50% of women face significant hair fall when they start their 50’s.

I know I always start with those numbers.  🙂

Its just that I have seen this happen. To myself, my sisters, my friends. It is terrifying to say the least!

Why do we need a good Hair Fall Treatment, Today?

We are all already working so hard. We are already dealing with so many issues. Hair fall on top of all that is devastating to almost anyone who faces it. Mentally and physically.

You know that nowadays, hair and hair style play a very important role in people’s physical aspect and self-perception.

For many people experiencing hair loss, the daily suffering is very excruciatingly real and takes a huge toll on them in ways more than one.

Research has shown that hair loss can cause “dramatic and devastating emotions in patients, which can negatively impact their self-esteem, body image, and/or self-confidence.”

Unfortunately most doctors even the hair and skin specialists may not be equipped to help you. The problem is that not all reasons of hair loss are recognized by conventional medicine. And even if some exceptional doctors do, they do not recognize recovery by nutrition.

So what can you do to Stop Hair Fall?

To stop Hair Fall, first you need to understand reasons for Hair fall.

I am aware of 13 causes of Hair Fall. Perhaps one of them is your problem.

The most common are hormonal imbalances like thyroid, insulin and testosterone. There can also be mineral imbalances like iron & lysine.

So before you go about trying different hair fall treatments like changing shampoos, creams, elixirs and trying out various other treatments by various “hair experts”, rule out the obvious.

Warning!: There is no super pill for stopping hair loss.

Primary Reasons for Hair Fall

Some of the primary Reasons for Hair Fall are

  1. Thyroid Disease
  2. Low Iron & Low Lysine
  3. B Vitamins Deficiency
  4. Essential Fatty Acids Deficiency (Omega 3 & Omega 6)
  5. Low Protein Diet
  6. Insulin Resistance (Blood Sugar Problems)
  7. Post Pregnancy Hair Fall
  8. Menopause
  9. Starting or Stopping Birth Control Pills
  10. Androgenic alopecia
  11. Stress hormones—from physical or emotional stress
  12. Medications
  13. Overdoing hair care and products

So let us go into detail to discuss these causes of hair fall and learn how to stop Hair Fall.

How to Stop Hair fall by Improving overall Health

As discussed above the most common causes of hair fall are hormonal imbalances like thyroid, insulin and testosterone. There can also be mineral imbalances like iron & lysine.

Therefore, let us go through all the reasons one by and one find hair fall Treatment.

1) How Thyroid Disease Causes Hair Fall

An over or under active thyroid can aggravate hair fall rapidly. Sometimes besides or instead of hair fall one may face  thinning & shedding. Hair also becomes more coarse, dry and easily tangled.

You know, years before I was diagnosed as hypothyroid, my hair stylist told me that my hair tangled too easily. More than normal. So yes, your stylist may discover your hormonal problems much before your doctor.   🙂

Ah and one more thing, if you are hypothyroid, quite possibly your doctor has you on levothyroxine, a synthetic hormone prescribed as replacement for our non-working or underworking thyroid glands. Excessive and prolonged hair fall is a side effect of levothyroxine.

What you can do for Hair Fall Treatment?

Hypothyroidism is a common and well recognized cause of diffuse hair loss. Thyroid hormones are essential for the absorption of zinc, and hence hypothyroidism can result in acquired zinc deficiency. The hair loss attributed to hypothyroidism may not improve with only with thyroxine adjustment unless zinc supplements are added. (1, 2)

See a physician to check out your thyroid status. Remember if your TSH is more than 2.5 it can be a cause of your hair fall.

While a few countries have adjusted the “accepted normal” range of TSH to be between 0.5 to 2.5 most of the other parts of the world are yet to catch up. So your doctor or lab might still be considering the old TSH range of 0.7 to 5.5 or 6.0 to be normal.

But now you know better.

I suggest approaching a favorable & progressive physician who will pay more attention to how you really feel. Correcting your thyroid will help stop your hair fall if thyroid is the problem.

TIP: Most women do better in TSH range of 0.5 to 1.5

Changing to natural desiccated thyroid like armour or naturethroid seems to help a lot of people. I myself am a fan of naturethroid.

But if you cannot get natural desiccated thyroid, you can try out any synthetic T3/T4 combination. Your physician can help you with that.

Compared to levothyroxine both have been shown to help correct hair problems due to thyroid issues.

TakeAway : Adjust your thyroid dosage. & supplement zinc.

2) How Low Iron & Low Lysine Causes Hair Fall

Low iron levels will directly result in hair fall (1,2,3). Lorna Vanderhaeghe, a health journalist and author says that –

“Iron deficiency is very common in the world.  Up to 60 percent of women have low iron and it is often undiagnosed”

Do remember that men are rarely, if at all, iron deficient. For children and men, iron overdosing can be fatal or lead to serious consequences.

In a recent study, Dr Hugh Rushton, a professor at Portsmouth University, also found that 90% of women with thinning hair were deficient in iron and the amino acid lysine. Lysine is the most difficult amino acid to get enough of via diet. Lysine helps transport iron, which is the most important element in the body and essential for many metabolic processes.

Once again iron is something of a Goldilocks element. You don’t need too much. You don’t need too little. The best way to check is evaluating your ferritin levels. It is the most sensitive indicator of iron in the body.

You need ferritin levels of at least 40 to grow new hair in place of the one’s you have lost. Ideally levels of 70-80 are good for holding onto the hair on your head. So if you have good ferritin levels then low iron is NOT the reason for your hair fall. That said 90% of women with hair issues have been found to be anemic with low iron as well as low lysine.

What you can do for Hair Fall Control caused by Iron & Lysine Deficiency:

Check if you have low ferritin levels. If levels are low, DO NOT supplement iron instead eat iron rich foods and supplement Vitamin C & Lysine.   Vitamin C & Lysine will boost your iron absorption from food. 1000mg/day is good.

Suppose this does not solve your deficiency, THEN supplement with iron bisglycinate, one of the most gentle forms of non-constipating iron supplement.

(Yeh, Most iron supplements will constipate you horribly! Even the one’s doctors prescribe.)

Warning!: For children and men, iron overdosing can be fatal or lead to serious consequences.

Gentlemen, keep away from all supplements with iron unless your doctor says so.

TIP: If nothing works to raise your iron levels, you must investigate with your physician to find out

  • if there is any internal injury/bleeding by which you may be losing blood.
  • If you are harboring iron loving bacteria in your gut. In which case all your iron is being consumed by them. You remain anemic while their colonies grow.

3) How B Vitamins Deficiency causes Hair Fall

B Vitamins deficiency is more common than we think.  Vegetables are the main source of B Vitamins for us. So do you eat a wide range of seasonal Vegetables? Most people are restricted to the potato-tomato-cauliflower-okra-peas circle. Okra is ladies finger/bhindi. There’s nothing wrong with these vegetables. Just that the wider range of seasonal veggies you will eat the better will be your nutritional status.

There’s nothing wrong with these vegetables. Just that the wider range of seasonal veggies you will eat the better will be your nutritional status.

Anyway so your hair fall can be triggered by a vitamin B deficiency. B Vitamins deficiency can also be exacerbated by stress.

Women taking birth control pills can face hair fall too
1. Because birth control pills deplete B vitamins in the body.
2. Because of hormonal changes due to the pill

Vitamin B9 Deficiency (Folic Acid) causes Hair fall:

Folic acid or Vitamin B9 is essential for the synthesis and repair of DNA.

Numerous studies have already shown that as the level of folic acid in the body falls, red blood cells lose their forms.  When the number of malformed red blood cells increases in number, it may result in macrocytic anemia.

Lack of folic acid causes slowed cell metabolism which in turn slows down the rate of hair production. The slowed cell metabolism also means that your hair cells are not receiving enough nutrients and oxygen. This affects not only the hair but also the scalp. The papillary cells and sebaceous (oil-secreting) cells of the scalp will also be adversely affected by the lack of folic acid. Because of this, fewer new hair strands will be produced.  There will be an increased graying of hair. There will also be a sharp rise in the number of hair strands falling off.

In conclusion, folic acid deficiency will start a series of interrelated adverse effects which will lead to hair loss.

Folic acid (vitamin B9) is an easily available vitamin in most naturally occurring foods. However, quite a few individuals can be deficient in this because it is a water-soluble vitamin which is also sensitive to heat and light. So it is lost during food preparation.

More salads anyone?

Vitamin B12 Deficiency (Can cause Pernicious Anemia) Causes Hair Fall:

If you are a vegan or vegetarian, chances are that you are low on Vitamin B12. In India,  the acceptable range of Vitamin B12 values is from 211 to 911 pg/ml. However, this range is set too low. We are lagging in correcting this range even now. As a matter of fact, Japan raised its B12 reference range conservatively, to 500 – 1300 in the 1980s! So make sure that your B12 values are at least 500pg/ml though we prefer it to be 1000+ pg/ml.

It is generally advised to take Vitamin B12 supplements alongside folic acid pills. This is because folic acid supplementation can mask Vitamin B12 deficiency.

One symptom of vitamin B-12 deficiency is hair fall because cells need to divide constantly to produce new hair, a process that requires the production of new DNA. This production of new DNA requires both folic acid and B12. Without enough B-12, hair growth slows or stops and existing hair starts to fall out.

How to reduce Hair Fall by treating B Vitamin deficiency?

Between food intake and supplementation, you should be able to correct the problem. Rich sources of vitamin B include meat, fish, starchy vegetables, and some fruits.

Supplement B (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12) vitamins as a whole for a short while. Supplement Vitamin B12 separately. But don’t go about popping just any Vitamin B12 pill. Vitamin B12 comes in many forms. Read about the most bioactive and absorbable form of Vitamin b12 here.

We have found Vitamin B12 at 1000mcg/day useful. When it comes to B12, RDA is grossly insufficient, especially if you are a vegetarian or vegan. Once again, you can take extra as it is non-toxic and water-soluble. Extra is flushed from the body via urine.

4) How Essential Fatty Acids Deficiency (Omega 3 & Omega 6) causes Hair Fall

If you go low-fat in your food plan, you may consume fewer calories, nutrients, and more carbohydrates than your body requires. Most importantly, you may miss out on essential fatty acids, omega 3 and 6, which nourish the scalp and stabilize hair growth.

Remember that fats, carbs and proteins are macro-nutrients. Restricting any one of them gives you body the message that there is not enough food for growth and that it must ration.

The stress of restricting a macro-nutrient may force more hair follicles to enter the telogen phase. Similar to the low thyroid state, your body gets the message to ration; there isn’t enough fuel to support the growth phase.

How to prevent hair Fall with consumption of a fatty acid rich diet?

Maintain a balanced diet rich in “good” fats.  All fats and importantly all saturated fat are not bad. So yes organic ghee, coconut oil, cold-pressed organic olive oil, fish oil/cod liver oil are all good fats.  All these fats are good for your hair and your health.

Supplement a high quality fish/cod liver oil to get essential fatty acids.

5) How Low Protein Diet causes hair fall

Once again protein is an essential macro-nutrient. If you don’t get enough protein in your diet, your body may enter famine mode and shut down your hair growth. This may occur about two to three months after a drop in protein intake.

Protein rich foods for Hair

Eat clean protein from fish, grass-fed meat, eggs, and quinoa.

6) Insulin Resistance (Blood Sugar Problems) a big reason for hair fall

Insulin, that helper hormone in charge of regulating blood sugar levels, also affects hair growth. Half of female patients and 60 percent of male patients with androgenic alopecia have a constellation of signs and symptoms related to insulin resistance, blood sugar abnormalities, hypertension, and abnormal cholesterol.(6)

Another study found that androgenic alopecia may be an early marker of insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease in men. So it could be for women as well.

Hair Fall Tips that you can apply to easily right now

The good news is that cutting sugar and artificial sweeteners, being active, and losing weight can reverse insulin resistance and lower your chances of hair fall.

7) Post Pregnancy Hair Fall

This may also cause telogen effluvium, especially if you have a family history of hair Fall.

What you can do for stopping Hair loss Post Pregnancy

Keep hormones as stable as possible by mitigating stress. In pregnancy, if you lose more hair post partum than before you got pregnant, see your healthcare professional and run the blood panel (see below) to see if there’s an underlying thyroid and/or autoimmune condition.

8) Menopause related hair fall

Sadly, hair follicles can shrink in menopause, making hair finer and more likely to shed. It’s called “miniaturization,” and it’s totally unfair.

Not surprisingly, another study showed that women treated with bioidentical estradiol had less hair fall.

What you can do:

If you’re over forty, talk to your functional medicine practitioner about whether bioidentical estrogen may be right for you. You need to be followed by a gynecologist to make sure you stay safe and don’t develop side effects and adverse events, such as blood clots, endometrial cancer, stroke, breast cancer, heart disease.

9) Starting or Stopping Birth Control Pills can cause Hair Fall

Any change in your hormonal status can trigger hair fall.

Women taking birth control pills can face hair fall:
1. Because birth control pills deplete B vitamins in the body.
2. Because of hormonal changes due to the pill

What you can do

Change to alternative means of birth control. We recommend condoms as it protects from HIV & other sexually transmitted diseases.

10) Androgenic alopecia

This is the most common type of hair fall and affects 30 percent of women.  The typical pattern for hereditary female-pattern hair fall, or androgenic alopecia, is a widening part or noticeable thinning of hair, particularly over the mid-frontal portion of the scalp.

Sometimes women with androgenic alopecia have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Typical signs and symptoms are ovarian cysts, irregular periods, weight gain, blood sugar problems, infertility and hair loss. The problem may be exacerbated in some patients taking drugs for thyroid problems. Approximately 22 percent of women with PCOS have androgenic alopecia.

Simple Home Remedies for Hair Fall Treatment

You can often stop and even reverse the symptoms of hair fall once you balance your hormones. Adding good fats seems to help the most. Try adding coconut oil, organic cold-pressed olive oil (don’t heat/cook with it) and fish oil. Adding evening primrose oil 1000mg/day may help inhibit DHT, considered to be the main reason behind  androgenic alopecia.

11) Stress hormones—from physical or emotional stress

Any kind of physical or emotional trauma can trigger telogen effluvium. Financial problems, surgery, weight fall, eating disorders, car accident, illness, troubled marriage, sick kid can all exacerbate stress. Hair grows on a programmed cycle that involves a growth phase, rest phase, and shedding phase. Big emotional and/or physical stressors can cause the hair to lock down in the shedding phase.

How to reduce hair fall during stress

If you clear the stress, the telogen effluvium usually clears in three to six months as your body recovers.

12) Medications may cause hair fall

Some medications such as beta blockers, antidepressants, lithium, blood thinners, methotrexate, NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen) can cause hair fall.

What to do:

If you’re taking one of these medications, talk to your physician about alternatives.

13) Overdoing hair care and products

Hair dye, frequent shampooing, other treatments, products, and vigorous styling can traumatize your hair follicles and lead to hair loss.

Hair fall control Tip:

Wash your hair less often. The American Academy of Dermatology suggests that you let your hair air dry and limit hot devices (like flat irons and curling irons) to once per week or less. I know, I know, I love blowouts, too. Once per week, max!

References:

  1. Smith AD, Refsum H. Do we need to reconsider the desirable blood level of vitamin B12? Journal of Internal Medicine. 2012; 271(2): 179-82.
  2. Mitsuyama Y, Kogoh H. Serum and cerebrospinal fluid vitamin B12 levels in demented patients with CH3-B12 treatment–preliminary study. Japanese Journal of Psychiatry and Neurology. 1988; 42(1): 65-71.
  3. Selhub J, Jacques PF, Dallal G, Choumenkovitch S, Rogers G. The use of blood concentrations of vitamins and their respective functional indicators to define folate and vitamin B12 status. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. 2008; 29: S67–73.
  4. Rushton DH. Dover R, Sainsbury AW, et al. “Iron deficiency is neglected in women’s health.” British Medical Journal 325 (7373) (2002): 1176.
  5. Hair loss in women: medical and cosmetic approaches to increase scalp hair fullness.
  6. Prevalence of androgenic alopecia in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome and characterization of associated clinical and biochemical features.
  7. Female pattern hair loss may be triggered by low estrogen to androgen ratio.
  8. The Efficacy and Safety of 17α-Estradiol (Ell-Cranell® alpha 0.025%) Solution on Female Pattern Hair Loss: Single Center, Open-Label, Non-Comparative, Phase IV Study.
  9. Androgenetic alopecia and cardiovascular risk factors in men and women: a comparative study.
  10. Androgenetic alopecia as an indicator of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular risk.
  11. An update on the treatment of female alopecia and the introduction of a potential novel therapy.
  12. Interventions for female pattern hair loss.
  13. A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of 5% and 2% topical minoxidil solutions in the treatment of female pattern hair loss.

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Anupama Singh

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