More Than a Bad Hair Day

More Than a Bad Hair Day
Don’t Panic! Nutrition Can Help You Have Healthy Hair
Kari Collett, RDN, LDN, CLT with A to Zinc Nutrition, LLC

If your hair is falling out, breaking off, turning gray too soon or fast, or has lost its shine, you’re not alone. Many a folk notice the beginning of these hair fallacies and don’t think much of it at first. But eventually they realize the problem is bigger and more chronic than just your average bad hair day. The concern about the cause and what to do about it naturally follow. What and who can help?

1. Ask your cosmetologist.

Start with your hairdresser. Several external or topical factors can affect hair health. Perhaps you have over-colored your hair or have used an abundance of other permanent chemicals to either curl or straighten your hair. A cosmetologist is the best expert to assess hair product and chemical damage, as well as provide recommendations for the optimal way to repair chemical damage. In most cases, once the use of chemicals is discontinued, the new hair growth is healthy, shiny, and strong and the problem is solved.

Cosmetologists are also knowledgeable about water quality and its impact on hair. Overly hard water can leave hair dry and brittle. They can advise on filters, conditioners, mineral stripping products, and much more. If the water problem is resolved, ultimately, the hair problem will also likely be resolved. Sometimes water problems are a challenge to fix, requiring complex water softening or filter systems that may not be cheap or easy.

2. Talk to your doctor.

Unfortunately, hair concerns may not be that simple. Hair loss or thinning can be signs of much more serious concerns. It could be a sign of a thyroid disorder. Be sure to ask your doctor to run a full thyroid panel (not just TSH) so you have a full understanding of thyroid function. Many thyroid disorders fall under the autoimmune category, making them even more concerning. You’ll want to know so you can create an appropriate intervention.
Other types of hair concerns could indicate insulin resistance, eating disorders, surgical side-effects, or excessive stress. Your doctor will be able to provide testing and resources as applicable.

3. Consult with a dietitian.

Understanding diet and nutrient roles in hair health will likely provide you with the greatest opportunity for resolution especially when the source of the problem is not topical or external. For example, if someone has had rapid weight loss, whether intentional or unintentional, a dietitian is skilled in recommending appropriate calories and macronutrients such as protein to slow hair loss. A dietitian can assess omega status in circumstances where hair has lost its shine.

More importantly, a dietitian trained in immune function will have an even greater impact on a person’s health by looking for the root cause of the hair problem. For example, when hair loss is related to a poor functioning thyroid, even though many dietitians are not thyroid experts, they can provide the foods and nutrients that support optimal thyroid function. Thyroid health and immune health are intricately connected. A dietitian can also test nutrient status, providing an opportunity to recommend key supplements such as zinc, iron, and biotin in therapeutic doses where there are deficiencies. Working with a dietitian will provide a safer, more balanced option than just taking a hair-skin-nail formula off the grocery shelf.

Turning gray from too much stress? A dietitian can help with that, too. When a person’s hair turns gray prematurely or too quickly, that is a sure sign of oxidative stress. Again, key foods and nutrients can help reduce oxidative stress and slow the graying process.

Healthy Hair for You

If your hair is showing signs that indicate your health is compromised, pay attention to what could be the underlying concern. Learn more about the foods and nutrients that can optimize immune function and help you have beautiful hair. Schedule a free Discovery Call with a dietitian at:

Kari Collett, RDN, LDN, CLT with A to Zinc Nutrition, LLC

For a printable PDF, click here.

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