Has your hair thinned with age? Are you lacking the same luster and shine you once had? Have you noticed more hair falling out than usual?
Hair loss is a natural and common process that occurs with age, however, just like other aging processes, we can speed up or slow down this progression though our diet, stress levels, and overall lifestyle.
A larger amount of, or accelerated hair loss is usually a sign of an overall deficiency so when looking at this issue we should look at the whole body. Some things to consider are stress, diet, medications, and family history.
Stress can cause patches of hair to fall out in clumps (alopecia areata) or can change the number of hair-growing follicles (telogen effluvium). One major stressful situation can cause hair loss, however more commonly, chronic stress due to several compounding factors is the main culprit. We all know that stress leads to several chorionic illnesses and disease, this is one more reason to try and limit those stress levels!
What you eat has a huge connection to hair health, here are some good foods to consider adding to your diet to improve hair strength and growth.
Fatty fish like salmon (high in omega 3s which are really good for hair health)
Iron rich foods (good to take with vitamin C rich foods like red peppers, kiwi, broccoli, oranges.
- Dark leafy greens
Vitamin A rich foods
- Sweet potato
Biotin rich foods
The following foods might contribute to hair loss and accelerated thinning. Try to limit or avoid.
- Excessive sugar
- Processed foods
On top of a healthy diet, there are many oral or topical supplements which can assist with hair health.
- Omega 3 fatty acids such as fish oil (1 tablespoon daily)
- B complex vitamins (1 daily)
- Essential oils (Rosemary (best for hair growth), Peppermint and Sage). Add 3-4 drops of each- rosemary, peppermint and sage to one tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil and massage into thinning areas 1-2 a day
*Remember to check with your ND before taking supplements you haven’t before*
Another, less discussed factor in hair loss is the use of medications. With age, many individuals are on a larger number of medications which may contribute to thinning hair or might even be the sole reason for the loss. The following list is comprised of medications that have hair loss as a side effect.
Medications that might lead to hair loss
- Antifungal medications
- Blood thinners (anticoagulants)
- Chemotherapy medications
- Cholesterol-lowering medications
- Epilepsy medications (anticonvulsants)
- High blood pressure medications (antihypertensives)
- Hormone replacement therapy— estrogen or progesterone for women, androgens and testosterone for men
- Immunosuppressant medications
- Mood stabilizers
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)
- Oral contraceptives
- Parkinson’s disease medications
- Thyroid medications
- Take cooler showers, hot water can be damaging to your hair
- Don’t pull at your hair
- Gently brush your hair with a wide tooth comb
- For those with longer hair, don’t tie it up before bed, let it down at night so it’s not being pulled
- Let your hair air dry when possible, too much heat applied damages and thins hair
- Get your hormone levels checked
Just like any health issue, it is most effective to take a full body, holistic approach. Try picking at least 1 thing from each category discussed and be patient; changes in hair growth and strength take a little while to notice.