Hair loss in women isn’t as uncommon as one might think. 30% of women experience some hair loss before reaching age 50i. Although your hair loss may be age-related suboptimal nutrient intake, stress, and hormonal issues may all have an impact - check your sex hormones, adrenals, thyroid, etc.
The most relevant nutrient deficiencies are listed below.
You should always consume these foundational foods & supplements:
- 7 to 10 servings of fruits & veggies a day – don’t get enough – consider using Ultimate Daily Greens.
- Quality protein – insufficient protein can result in hair loss, and far too many people don’t get enough quality proteins daily. Try to have 0.7 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. 1 g per pound of bodyweight if you exercise religiously.
- Consume approximately 1-2 g of omega-3 fats daily & ensure you get no less than 1 g of combined EPA & DHA (fish or algal source)
- Use a quality probiotic daily
Stress impacts just about everything, including hair loss.
You may unknowingly be suffering from prolonged “adrenal exhaustion.” Consider stress control measures like meditation, yoga, tai chi, deep breathing and the use of adrenal support remedies (listed below).
1. Nutrient deficiencies can contribute to hair loss (* indicates the most relevant). A quality multivitamin is a great place to start. Consider taking additional vitamin D3 (if you have limited sun exposure, take approximately 2000 i.u. a day).
- *Vitamin Dii
- *Vit A
- B vitamins
- Saw palmettoiii (shown to reduce the conversion of testosterone to DHT, a form of testosterone that may impact hair loss in women and men)
- Forskolin iv
3. Oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC)
- This antioxidant is found in grape seed & skin extract and scientifically shown to help stimulate hair growth v,vi,vii
- You can get your thyroid function checked. If it comes back on the low end of normal, it’s not uncommon, especially as one gets older, to have what’s known as subclinical hypothyroidism . Subclinical hypothyroidism often falls under the radar of conventional tests.
- A practitioner specializing in bioidentical hormones should be able to flag subclinical hypothyroidism.viii
- There are several good thyroid support supplements that your local health food store can help you choose.
5. Adrenal support
- Studies have shown a link between stress, cortisol and hair loss. Given the impact of prolonged stress on adrenal function, a quality stress and adrenal support remedy should be considered. Ideally, it should contain some “adrenal extract” from an animal source like porcine. Vitamins B1, C and herbs like licorice have been shown to support adrenal function. Veeva Stress Formula is a great product that’s been Health Canada licenced for helping with stress and is worth looking into further.
6. Home-made shampoo (This shampoo was used in a hair loss study with impressive resultsix.)
- As a base use, 100 ml of a natural shampoo mixed with
- 15 drops jojoba oil
- 8 drops carrot oil
- 7 drops cedarwood oil
- 7 drops rosemary oil
- 7 drops lavender oil
- 4 drops thyme oil
- 2 drops clove oil
- 2 drops tea tree oil
- Massage into scalp daily and leave in hair for 5 minutes each time
7. Use of bioidentical hormones
- These hormones are available through compounding pharmacies and require a doctor’s prescription.
- Here’s a link to compounding pharmacies in Canada
- Compounding pharmacies in the US
i Van Neste DJJ, Rushton H. Hair problems in women. Clin Dermatol 1997;15:113-125
ii Gamady, A., et al. Vitamin D enhances mitogenesis mediated by keratinocyte growth factor receptor in keratinocytes. J Cell Biochem. 89(3):440-449, 2003.
iii Prager, N., et al. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to determine the effectiveness of botanically derived inhibitors of 5-alpha-reductase in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia. J Altern Complement Med. 8(2):143-152, 2002.
iv Takahashi, T., et al. Several selective protein kinase C inhibitors including procyanidins promote hair growth. Skin Pharmacol Appl Skin Physiol. 13(3-4):133-142, 2000.
v Kamimura, A., et al. Procyanidin B-2, extracted from apples, promotes hair growth: a laboratory study. British Journal of Dermatology. 146(1):41-51, 2002.
vi Takahashi, T., et al. Proanthocyanidins from grape seeds promote proliferation of mouse hair follicle cells in vitro and convert hair cycle in vivo. Acta Derm Venereol. 78(6):428-432, 1998.
vii Takahashi, T., et al. The first clinical trial of topical application of procyanidin B-2 to investigate its potential as a hair growing agent. Phytotherapy Research. 15(4):331-336, 2001.
viii Leng, O., Razvi, S. Hypothyroidism in the older population. Thyroid Res 12, 2 (2019).
ix Hay IC, Jamieson M, Ormerod AD. Randomized trial of aromatherapy. Successful treatment for alopecia areata. Arch Dermatol. 1999 May;135(5):602-3.
Disclaimer: The information in this article has not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or Health Canada. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Please seek competent medical advice before making any significant changes to your normal eating pattern.