Lisa Spencer

Losing Hair? Let’s Fix That-Because You’re Worth It!

by Lisa Spencer |

 

 Today I’m going to chat about something that is close to any woman’s heart and that I've been getting a slew of questions about lately – guess what it is? Your décolleté, your boobies? Nope:


That luscious face framer, YOUR ALMIGHTY HAIR.

The bummer is, that certain imbalances, being over 40 or in menopause can cause your hormones to be bitchy to your voluptuous mane. Research suggests that the hormonal changes that tag along with menopause, can cause hair to thin all over the scalp. Have you noticed lately that your bangs no longer cover your forehead? Or maybe you can’t run your fingers through your hair without losing a few strands? If yes, don’t freak out – although this can look scary, YOU my chica, can reverse this ‘condition’.

You see, your hair is hungry and it needs to be fed —and nourished well — to keep growing and to well, hang in there...

So what can you do? 

Step 1: Reduce hair loss with real foods.

  1. Make sure you’re getting enough healthy

If I say ‘carb’, do you go ‘this stuff will land on my hips’? Can’t blame you: there’s way too much contradicting nutrition info out there! But the truth remains that any extreme isn’t good – if you don’t eat enough carbs, your hair will suffer BIG time.

In fact, in one study, 10% of the women who consumed a very low carbohydrate diet for 6 months experienced hair loss 1.

Now, before you start digging in a bag of cookies, remember that processed products contain lots of chemical products – ya know, those weird sounding thingies on the ingredient list – that can cause inflammation and further worsen your hair, ummm, dilemma…

So, when I say ‘healthy’ carbs, I mean real foods like beets, sweet potatoes, squashes, rutabaga, plantain, fruits, and so on. NO, I'm not talking white bread, pasta, donuts or pies. Word.

  1. Pump up the protein.

This one shouldn’t come as a surprise – after all, hair is protein, the macronutrient made up of building blocks of amino acids (AAs) such as:

  • Methionine – This sulfur-containing AA has been shown to reduce hair loss 2 and increase hair growth by about 10% within 6 months 3.
  • Arginine – With its dilating effects on blood vessels, arginine improves blood flow to the hair’s root, an effect that stimulates hair growth 4.
  • Glutamine and cysteine– These AAs are essential components of hair growth since they ensure sulfur delivery to hair cells 5. (True, glutamine is produced by the body but its production dwindles with age.)

You can get all the amino acids you need from:

- Animal products like fish, chicken, turkey, beef, eggs, crustaceans and whole dairy products.

- Plant-sources such as amaranth, quinoa, legumes, buckwheat and peas.

These foods also come with lots of other goodies essential for your sexy locks, namely vitamins B6, B12 and folate.

  1. Add some lusciousness to your meals with healthy fats

Let’s get over the lowfat freakout – You need fats for a load of reasons:

  1. Fats help you absorb vitamins A, D, E and K which are all essential for hair health.
  2. Fats provides energy – your treasured mane wasn't created out of thin air, Sister.
  3. Fats help your hair cells retain their moisture – this is what gives your locks their luscious glow. In fact, inadequate fat intake can cause your hair to become dry and brittle.

The most shitty fat competition is won hands-down by trans fats (hydrogenated fats, margarine etc), fake fats like crisco and pro-inflammatory industrial seeds oils (canola, cottonseed, sunflower and safflower).

To get enough fats, use:

  • Virgin coconut and red palm oils for cooking and roasting
  • EVOO for salads
  • Avocado, hummus, nuts or seeds for scrumptiousexy snacks
  • Seed butter – I absolutely love the pumpkin seed butter from Omega Nutrition. i have a little everyday lately in a toasted brown rice tortilla. About 1 tablespoon per day will do wonders for your hair.
  1. Pack on the veggies.

You know how I'm always talking bravo for broccoli & veggies for vibrance? Well, Colorful veggies are jam-packed with harmonious hair nutrients such as:

  • Vitamin A: Promotes growth of hair cells and protects your follicles against free radical damage.
  • Vitamin C: Produces collagen, a protein that anchors your pretty bangs on your scalp 6.
  • Vitamin E: Makes hair follicles sturdy and shields them against oxidative damage.

Tip: To get all the vitamins and antioxidants you need, simply liven up your daily diet by making sure it’s colorful! Try my raspberry smoothie for a nutrient-packed glass.

  1. Drink sufficient H2O to keep your hair hydrated. Everyone tells you this, but are you doing it?

Sorry Bella, vino doesn’t count.

  1. Check your diet for these minerals
  • Iodine deficiency has increased by more than four times over the past 40 years 7! Due to its vital role in thyroid function, a deficiency of this mineral has been associated with hair loss and coarse dry hair.

Best sources: Iodized salt, animal foods, kelp and seaweed.                                                                              

  • Iron maximizes the ability of hair cells to regrow and ensures adequate oxygen delivery to the cells 8.

Best sources: Animal foods and legumes (accompany these by a food rich in vitamin C to boost absorption).

  • Zinc is of HUGE importance when it comes to the survival of your ponytail. You see, zinc is involved in 6:
  1. The synthesis of keratin, one of the main components of hair.
  2. Cell division that makes hair growth possible.
  3. The production of collagen.

Best sources: Protein-containing foods (especially seafood), nuts and seeds.

 

Step 2: Invest in quality supplements

There are tons of supplements out there but these two should be enough, if consumed as part of a nutritious diet.

  1. Saw palmetto

About 95% of all cases of hair loss can be attributed to androgenic alopecia which is characterized by a conversion of testosterone to DHT via the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme 9. What’s that got to do with saw palmetto? Well, the berry of this palm tree contains a compound that is able to block this enzyme and can, thus, improve hair loss.

 

So how much should you take?

I usually recommend a daily dose of 320mg and that seems to do the trick. You can also take about 160 to 200mg per day to start and see what works 10.

 

  1. Pure omega-3 fatty acids

These superstar fatty acids are key to strong hair as they help keep your scalp and hair hydrated. Aim for a high quality omega-3 supplement to ensure that you don’t end up with some oxidized crap that could worsen your hair issue. Again, getting around adding Omega-3's to your diet is pretty tough.  These guys are so important for so many reasons.  Just keep them in your repertoire for ultimate assurance.

   

One last thing, I know you’re a Superwoman but it’s wiser to change just a few things at a time – not only will this be easier but you’ll also know what worked for you and what didn’t.  I'd start with the foods above and try adding the fish oil, and the saw palmetto first.

 

Take care of your beautiful self.

Ciao for now,

Xoxo,

Lisa

 

References

  1. Westman, E. C., Yancy, W. S., Edman, J. S., Tomlin, K. F., & Perkins, C. E. (2002). Effect of 6-month adherence to a very low carbohydrate diet program. The American journal of medicine, 113(1), 30-36.
  1. Haneke, E. & Baran, R. (2011) Micronutrients for Hair and Nails, Nutrition for healthy skin, Volume 2, (pp. 149-163).
  1. Alonso, L. & Fuchs, E. (2006) The hair cycle, Journal of Cell Science, issue 119, (pp. 391-393).
  1. Saini, R. & Zanwar, A. A. (2013) Arginine Derived Nitric Oxide: Key to Healthy Skin, Bioactive Dietary Factors and Plant Extracts in Dermatology (pp. 73-82)
  1. Curthoys, N. P. & Watford, M. (1995) Regulation of Glutaminase Activity and Glutamine Metabolism, Annual Review of Nutrition, Volume 15, (pp. 133-159).
  1. Neve, H.J., Bhatti, W.A., Soulsby, C., Kincey, J. & Taylor, T.V. (1996) Reversal of Hair Loss following Vertical Gastroplasty when Treated with Zinc Sulphate, Obesity Surgery, Volume 6, (pp. 63-65) 
  1. Gunton, J. E., Hams, G., Fiegert, M., & McElduff, A. (1999). Iodine deficiency in ambulatory participants at a Sydney teaching hospital: is Australia truly iodine replete?. The Medical Journal Of Australia, 171(9), 467.
  1. Trost, L. B., Bergfeld, W. F., & Calogeras, E. (2006). The diagnosis and treatment of iron deficiency and its potential relationship to hair loss. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 54(5), 824-844. 
  1. Prager, N., Bickett, K., French, N., & Marcovici, G. (2002). A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to determine the effectiveness of botanically derived inhibitors of 5-α-reductase in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia. The Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, 8(2), 143-152.
  1. Prager, N., Bickett, K., French, N., & Marcovici, G. (2002). A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to determine the effectiveness of botanically derived inhibitors of 5-α-reductase in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia. The Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, 8(2), 143-152. 
  1. Jacquet, A., Coolen, V., & Vandermander, J. (2007). Effect of dietary supplementation with INVERSION® femme on slimming, hair loss, and skin and nail parameters in women. Advances in therapy, 24(5), 1154-1171.

Tags: healthy-amp-diet, healthy-amp-digestion, healthy-amp-lifestyle, life-amp-over-amp-40, minerals-and-herbs, vitamins, womens-amp-health