Natural Remedies for Hair Loss
Hair loss is a common problem for both men and women, young or old. Although most people lose about 100 hair strands from the head daily, others may lose more hairs gradually either in a diffuse or patchy manner.
Hair thinning occurs in both men and women as they age. Baldness is not necessarily caused by disease, but is more due to heredity, aging, and hormonal changes. Other factors that may increase hair loss include sudden emotional or physical stress, high fever, severe infection, serious illness, childbirth, menopause, crash diets, major surgery, radiation therapy, and certain medications. Excessive shampooing or other hair care practices such as blow-drying and nervous habits like scalp rubbing or hair pulling can also cause hair loss.
In some cases, hair loss is temporary and hair grows back when the underlying cause is resolved. For example, hair loss due to radiation therapy, childbirth or illness may improve without treatment. However, in many cases, hair loss may be progressive and permanent. Call your doctor if you are losing hair rapidly and if you experience other symptoms such as fever, infection, or itchy scalp. Ask your doctor if your hair loss may be caused by some medical condition or certain medications you are taking.
Natural Remedies for Hair Loss
Nutrition plays an important role in healthy hair growth. Here are some tips to prevent hair loss and improve hair growth:
- Find out if some food allergens, such as wheat, corn, dairy, soy, preservatives, or food additives may be causing your hair loss.
- Eat foods that are high in iron and B-vitamins, such as dark leafy green vegetables, sea vegetables, and whole grains.
- Eat foods that are rich in antioxidants such as fruits (ex. blueberries, tomatoes, cherries), and vegetables (squash and peppers).
- Avoid refined food products, such as white breads and pastas.
- Eat lean meat, cold water fish, beans, and tofu for protein, instead of red meat.
- Use healthy oils, such as coconut oil and olive oil.
- Avoid trans fats, which are found in cookies, cakes, French fries, crackers, donuts, onion rings, margarine, and processed foods.
- Avoid coffee, tobacco, and alcohol.
Correct nutritional deficiencies by taking health supplements:
- A daily multivitamin containing vitamins A, B-complex, C and E, and minerals such as calcium, zinc, magnesium, and selenium.
- Fish oils, which contain omega-3 fatty acids.
- L-lysine, 500 – 1,000 mg daily.
Herbal Supplements for Hair Loss
- Ginkgo biloba extract, 40 – 80 mg, taken orally, three times daily
- Topical application of essential oils such as peppermint, rosemary, and sage.
Foods and Nutrients that Promote Healthy Hair
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids. These healthy fats help keep your hair and scalp hydrated. They may be found in cold-water fish such as salmon, herring, trout, mackerel, and sardines, as well as pumpkin seeds, walnuts and avocado.
- Biotin and Vitamin E. These nutrients help protect cells from DNA damage that results from overexposure to the sun. Walnuts and walnut oil are a good source of biotin, vitamin, as well ascopper, which helps maintain the natural color of hair.
- This mineral helps prevent hair loss and drying and flaking of the scalp. It may be found in oysters, fortified cereals, whole grains, beef, nuts, and eggs.
- Vitamin A. The body turns beta carotene, which is found in sweet potatoes and carrots, into vitamin A. This nutrient helps produce the oils to protect and sustain the scalp. Other foods that contain beta carotene include cantaloupe, mangoes, apricots and pumpkin.
- Protein and Iron. Protein is important for hair growth while iron helps carry oxygen to your hair follicles. Great sources for iron and protein include eggs, chicken, pork, beef, and fish.
- Vitamin C. This vitamin is critical for blood circulation to the scalp because it supports the blood vessels that feed the hair follicles. A deficiency in vitamin C can result in hair breakage. Foods that are rich in vitamin C include kiwi, sweet potato, tomato, and strawberry. Aside from fruits, vegetables like spinach are also rich in this nutrients, as well as beta carotene, iron and folate.
- Legumes and lentils are rich in protein, zinc, iron and biotin, all of which support healthy hair growth.
- Pantothenic Acid. Vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid is a common ingredient found in hair care products, but it is also found in foods like Greek yogurt. This food, as well as low-fat cheese, skim milk, and cottage cheese are also rich in vitamin D, which helps maintain healthy hair.
This information should not take the place of medical advice. We encourage you to talk to your health care providers (doctor, registered dietitian, pharmacist, etc.) about your interest in, questions about, or use of dietary supplements and what may be best for your overall health.
UM Shore Regional Health. Hair loss. http://umshoreregional.org/health/medical/ency/articles/hair-loss
UM Shore Regional Health. Hair Disorders. http://umshoreregional.org/health/medical/altmed/condition/hair-disorders
WebMD. Top 10 Foods for Healthy Hair. http://www.webmd.com/beauty/hair-styling/top-10-foods-for-healthy-hair