Hair loss can be distressing. And even that can make things worse because stress is one of the reasons that can cause it. So let’s see some of the reasons why your hair might be thinning and we might as well start with:
Here’s how it might contribute to the problem.
When the body is under stress, it triggers a hormonal response that can affect the hair growth cycle. It leads to an increase in the production of androgens. That’s a type of hormone that can shrink hair follicles and cause hair to become thinner over time.
Secondly, it’s linked to inflammation in the body, which can damage hair follicles and inhibit new hair growth.
Finally, it can also disrupt the normal functioning of the immune system, leading to a rare condition like alopecia areata. That’s a disorder when the immune system attacks hair follicles, leading to actual hair loss.
As you can see, stress can hurt hair health and therefore it’s important to use relaxation techniques to keep it under control. Meditation, yoga or even a daily walk can assist.
2) NUTRITION DEFICIENCIES
We can also point the finger at nutrient deficiencies and extreme calorie restriction. Both can have serious health consequences.
The good news is that when we’re using a healthy well balanced eating plan which doesn’t resemble a crash diet, our hair quality usually improves. Whereas following a starvation diet that causes rapid weight loss can cause a problem.
If you drastically restrict your food choices or serving sizes your diet gets too low in hair loss-associated nutrients. Some examples are protein, iron and zinc — Therefore include nutrient-dense foods and perhaps consider supplementation for a while to give your hair growth a boost. I’ve given you some suggestions below
3) HORMONAL CHANGES
Women going through menopause or pregnancy often find that their locks thin out.
Usually, after pregnancy, it all rights itself again. But if the issue is due to hormonal reasons during menopause, have a look at this explanation by the well-known website called healthline.
“During and after menopause the levels of estrogen and progesterone drop. Therefore hair grows more slowly and becomes much thinner. A decrease in these hormones triggers an increase in the production of androgens or a group of male hormones which can lead to hair loss.
And just like during stress, androgens shrink hair follicles, restricting hair re-growth,
Therefore, besides using a healthy well balanced meal plan, you may wish to consider some supplements. They can help reverse hair loss, especially for women over 40
Although there are others that can help, here are the most commonly used ones:
It is also known as vitamin H. It’s a B vitamin which is essential for healthy hair, skin, and nails. It has been shown to improve hair growth and hair thickness especially if you are deficient in it. Biotin is an essential vitamin that is needed for the production of keratin. Keratin is the protein that’s in charge of forming nails, skin and hair. You can find biotin in many of our foods such as avocado, bananas, legumes, nuts and seeds, in sweet potatoes, mushrooms and many more.
Iron deficiency is a very common cause of hair loss in women. If you have low iron levels, supplementing with iron may help to reverse hair loss. But why does an iron deficiency cause thinning hair?
Again healthline explains:
When you don’t have enough iron, your body can’t produce the haemoglobin in your blood. Haemoglobin carries oxygen for the growth and repair of cells in your body, including the cells that stimulate hair growth.
Check out the tips in this article that explain how you might increase your iron levels. [Some non-vegan tips are included in their article]
This is an important mineral for hair growth and repair. Even a mild deficiency in this mineral has been linked to hair loss. Low levels can compromise the structure and strength of hair follicles. Thinning hair can occur at a much faster rate when hair follicles are not at their healthiest.
Vegan sources of zinc include legumes, tofu, walnuts, cashew nuts, chia seeds, flax meal, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, enriched wholemeal bread and quinoa.
Low vitamin D levels have been associated with hair loss.
Sadly as vegans, we don’t have any in our food and rely on the plant-based one called VitD2. But studies showed that vitamin D3 is far superior at raising overall levels of vitamin D in the body.
Our body can convert a very small percentage of D2 into D3 but it’s not very effective. Plus as we age, the Vit D production that comes from exposing our skin to the sun doesn’t work too well anymore. Therefore I suggest that you should consider using a vegan supplement. Look for one that is labelled as suitable for vegans. They make it out of algae. See if you can get one without carrageenan because that gum has been linked to inflammation.
Omega-3 fatty acids:
Omega-3s are a type of fat. And there are three types of it, namely ALA, DHA and EPA. Each one has a unique role in our bodies. Our body doesn’t naturally make its own Omega 3 but we can get some ALA from our food. You can find some in walnuts, flax seed meal and hemp seeds.
Our body will convert some of it into EPA and DHA but the conversion rates are very poor. (Non-vegans get their DHA and EPA from seafood or fish oil capsules.)
Besides reducing potential inflammation all Omega 3s, especially DHA, are essential for healthy hair and scalp. Some studies show they can reduce hair loss because they provide essential nutrients to hair follicles.
But where can we find Omega 3s in decent amounts without having to eat too many high-calorie nuts and seeds?
Solution: we can buy a supplement that’s derived from plant marine algae (Schizochytrium sp.) and provides a safe vegan source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, EPA and DHA. Look for one that has a total of around 500 mg and always has more DHA than EPA.
Although there’s not that much scientific evidence, this herb has been traditionally used to treat hair loss. It works by blocking the production of DHT, a hormone that is responsible for hair loss plus also prevents an enzyme activity known to hinder hair growth. This herb is generally thought to be safe when not used in mega doses. Side effects are very rare, and they can include headache, nausea, diarrhoea, and dizziness and it has blood thinning properties.
Coffee Protein Smoothie
Protein and the amino acid called L-lysine.
Protein is very important to hair and skin. And the amino acid l-lysine is essential in creating a complete protein in the body. And complete proteins are necessary for healthy hair growth. L-lysine is also present in the hair’s root and we are told that it is responsible for the shape and volume of the hair.
Some of us already take it as a supplement because, although vegan food does contain it, it’s not found in abundance. And when we reduce the amount of food we eat to create a calorie deficit we may fall short of the daily recommended amount.
In the last century they came up with a very low lysine requirement for adults [children need more than 2x the amount]. But when it was re-assessed they said ‘sorry, we were wrong and we need more’. So now we think that adults might need about 30mg per kilo of healthy body weight. But that can change at any moment should they look into this again.
Let us do some calculations. Say you weigh 70kg.
That means you need about 2100mg of lysine per day. (70 kilos x 30mg lysine)
Here are some interesting numbers to show how much our food contains.
Half a cup of cooked chickpeas might have 485mg.
Half a cup of cooked lentils may have 530mg
35g of uncooked rolled oats have about 480mg
1 cup of chopped broccoli has about 125mg
1 ounce of nuts has approx. 160mg
Depending on your weight, getting to 2100 might not be so easy for each one of us. Remember that we also don’t absorb all of the nutrients because many cling to fibres and get ‘escorted’ out of our bodies before they can do their jobs.
Therefore, along with all my other supplements, I also take l-lysine (1000mg a day).
Plus one serving of vegan pea or fava bean protein powder made into a smoothie or divided over the day added to various foods. One serving has approx. 1400 mg depending on the brand.
So now you’re armed with loads of info on possible reasons that one’s hair is thinning. And I haven’t even addressed poor quality shampoos, conditioners and hair colourants. This article is already way too long.
Just a quick note: it is always a good idea to talk to a healthcare professional before taking any supplements. That’s to make sure they are safe for you. A nutritionist or medico can help you determine the proper dosage and duration of supplementation.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org