Exactly What To Eat To Prevent Hormone-Related Hair Loss
“There tend to be four main causes of hair loss in women: hormonal, micronutrient deficiencies, autoimmunity, and environmental,” explains Magdalena Wszelaki, endocrine expert and author of Cooking for Hormone Balance. “The hormonal causes include thyroid imbalance, high testosterone, DHT, PCOS, insulin resistance, estrogen dominance, high cortisol. Micronutrient deficiencies include vitamin B12, biotin (also known as vitamin B7), iron, zinc, silica, and EFAs (essential fatty acids).”
Sara Gottfried, M.D. and author of The Brain Body Diet, finds that in her patients, “hair loss is sometimes associated with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS, with high androgens), but more commonly, the root cause is low iron, thyroid hormone imbalance, or insulin resistance.”
Aviva Romm, M.D., mbg Collective member and author of The Adrenal Thyroid Revolution, says that “while women also normally have testosterone, high levels as are common with PCOS are a major reason for what’s called a ‘male pattern’ hair loss in women.”
Beyond testosterone, other hormones can come into play in a major way. “Low thyroid hormone is a major reason for hair thinning and breaking,” she says. “Stress can cause high cortisol, which can cause us to lose hair. Something called telogen effluvium, another form of hair loss due to stress, commonly occurs in women three to five months after a baby is born.”
Sheer aging can also be the culprit. “As estrogen declines with menopause, it’s also common to experience thinning hair,” says Romm.
All of the experts stress that finding out your particular root cause is crucial for treating your individual hair loss. “Will vitamin B12 and/or eating livers (or supplementing) help? If B12 is the cause, then yes,” explains Wszelaki. “If thyroid is the issue, then addressing the thyroid issue will bring back hair growth.”
Gottfried recommends a full blood panel that includes fasting glucose, insulin, hemoglobin A1C, iron studies, especially ferritin, which she says, “needs to be greater than 40 to stabilize hair loss and greater than 70 for new hair growth.”
Once you get your blood panels back, you can begin problem-solving individual solutions to help diminish further losses and encourage new growth.
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