Concerned about hair loss??? This is something I have been seeing in clinic lately. Particularly around the topic of after an illness such as a virus where a couple of months later many experience severe hair loss and thinning, known as telogen effluvium, and can be related to nutritional deficiencies.
Hair life cycle
Our hair has a natural lifecycle, and telogen effluvium is excessive shedding of resting of telogen hair aftershock to the system. Hair falling out from the root continuously and lots of hair clogging the drain is a scary experience.
How to treat hair loss
The first thing I like to check are iron levels. Iron is very nutritious and can feed an illness, so when we get sick our body hides its iron. It stores it away for safekeeping. Iron carries oxygen throughout the body so during an illness the scalp does not get the usual amount of oxygen to the hair roots. Women aged 19-50 iron RDI is 18mg/day, and most women don’t achieve this from their diet, so iron deficiency is common.
Secondly, I check Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is important for immune health. Alopecia is an autoimmune condition of hair loss that appears more in patches rather than overall hair loss such as in telogen effluvium. Sometimes alopecia can be triggered by another autoimmune condition because if you already have an autoimmune condition, then there is a tendency to develop more autoimmune disorders.
There are other testing beyond these for hair loss, such as thyroid health, but we are addressing nutritional deficiencies associated with hair loss here.
Nutrition for hair growth
General good nutrition, focusing on a Mediterranean style diet rich with in-season vegetables of all colours, quality protein and whole foods is helpful.
If your iron levels are low, then eat iron-rich foods such as liver and red meat. Most people look offended when I mention eating liver, and I don’t love it myself, but I tell you if it means your hair stops falling, then it is worth it, believe me!
Lifestyle for hair growth
Finally, address stress and anxiety levels. Stress management is important for general health and contributes to quality sleep which is also crucial when experiencing hair loss. Be kind to yourself, this condition can be overwhelming so reach out for help when you need it.