Premature hair loss is one of the most disheartening issues one can come across. It never comes at the right time. But we surely don’t want it early!
There are several causes for premature hair loss, also called alopecia: a poor diet, aggressive hair treatments, life changes or trauma, hormonal disturbances, side-effects of medication and genetics are all potential reasons.
If you are shedding strings of hair, but you know that’s because of your poor food habits, aggressive hair treatments or stress? It’s best to put aside fast-food – fast! And focus on de-stressing or regulating your lifestyle. A poor diet and change in lifestyle can often lead to a lack of nutrients such as iron, magnesium, omega-3 and vitamin A, C, D and E. Make the necessary adjustments to your grocery list, and make sure you add the following:
They are great for fighting hair loss. Nuts contain vitamins and essential oils that encourages hair growth. Particularly walnuts and almonds are a great choice. Almonds contain magnesium; an essential mineral for growing healthy strands. Walnuts contain omega-3, copper and manganese, as well as an unusually high level of vitamin E in the form of gamma-tocopherol. Studies on male cardiovascular health have shown that this type of vitamin E provides significant protection from heart disease.
But don’t overdo it! A 1/4 cup a day is enough. Too many fatty acids is bad for you – plus too much will make your (newly grown) hair lustreless.
Indeed the superfood everyone keeps talking about! Iron deficiency is one of the leading causes for hair loss. Spinach contains bucketloads of it. It also contains beta carotene, folate and vitamin C. All those nutrients keep your hair follicles healthy and scalp oils circulating. Other sources of iron are e.g. kale, clams and beans. Beans are also a great source of protein.
When momma told you to eat your carrots, she didn’t mean just for your eyes. Carrots contain beta carotene, which your body turns into vitamin A. In turn, Vitamin A helps produce scalp sustaining oils. Try to eat it with food that contains vitamin C. Vitamins C aids the absorption of vitamin A.
A vitamin D deficiency can cause hair loss. The confusing bit is that there are two types of Vitamin D: D2 and D3, and it is important to understand that vitamin D deficiency is primarily caused by a lack of Vitamin D3. And D3 is far more vital for our health in preventing illness. It is produced in the skin only when you get enough sunlight, or through consuming fatty fish or animals products, or supplements.
Vitamin D2 is produced in plants, and is not enough to sustain you through the winter months dependent on your geographical location. This is why you’ll find many turning to vitamin D supplements, fortified foods and other foods containing portions of vitamin D. However, most fortified foods that say they contain Vitamin D, often only contain Vitamin D2.
If you are vegan, Vitamin D needs are obtained through exposure to sunlight – it’s food for the body and emotions. Ultraviolet B radiation penetrates uncovered skin and converts cutaneous 7-dehydrocholesterol to pre-vitamin D3, which in turn becomes vitamin D3. However with darker skin tones, the greater amount of melanin you have, the higher the chances of a Vitamin D3 deficiency. And as melanin serves as a natural sunscreen, it blocks the sun from reaching deeper in the layers of the skin. As such, the synthesis of vitamin D from the sun is slower for people with darker skin in comparison to lighter skin tones.
If you’re going to reach for Vitamin D supplements check the labels carefully! You can actually overdose on Vitamin D2 with various side-effects. If you are lacking vitamin D3, but you’re trying to supplement it with D2 to supplement your D3 intake; you’ll overdose with the wrong vitamin D. Side effects such as headaches, weight loss, nausea, muscle or bone pain can occur. Therefore it’s not best to take supplements, but to focus on vitamin D intake through sunlight exposure and vitamin D3 containing foods. But rest assured, you can get Vitamin D3 supplements that are derived from plant-sourced cholecalciferol that are vegan.
Bonus tip: Get your vitamin D levels checked with your GP, plenty of sunlight during peak sun hours and travel abroad to sunny destinations if you can.
Your body needs vitamin C to help create protein. You need protein to prevent your hair from breaking. Add fruits such as apples, strawberries, oranges, grapefruit and pomegranate to your diet to keep your new strands strong and unbreakable.
There are also several shampoos, conditioners and hair treatments that stimulate hair growth and prevents (further) hair loss. Over the counter products containing Minoxidil or Rogaine are famous for their ability to stimulate hair growth and prevent further hair loss. Particularly for people with androgenic alopecia, a form of pattern hair loss and often genetic for man. Some take Propecia supplements. Unfortunately, both could cause side-effects.
If you are suffering from premature hairloss, visit a doctor. He or she can point you into the right direction of treatment. And some treatments can be covered by your health insurance. If your hair loss is genetic – it’s definitely worth a try.