Healthy Hair Growth and Hormonal Imbalances
Hormones are some of the body's most important, and powerful, chemical messengers. They are secreted by endocrine glands and travel, via the bloodstream, to tissues or organs where they have an effect upon many different processes, including growth and development, metabolism, sexual function and reproduction, and yes, hair growth. It takes only a very small shift or imbalance of hormones to cause dramatic changes in cells, organs, or the entire body.
Hormonal imbalances can occur in women during menopause and perimenopause, pregnancy, or with endocrine disorders such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). They also occur in men during andropause, and are a common cause of hair loss in both men and women.
Top Issues for Hair Loss due to Hormonal Imbalance
Below we address some common concerns regarding hair loss due to hormonal imbalance, as well as offer natural alternatives for healthy hair growth. If your question is not addressed, feel free to contact one of our experts by clicking to the left.
Hormonal imbalances, which can occur in women during menopause, perimenopause, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and other endocrine disorders and in men during andropause, are a common cause of hair loss. This hair loss is typically a result of excess DHT build-up in the hair follicles.
Testosterone and progesterone are hormones naturally present in both men and women. When testosterone is delivered to the hair follicle via blood vessels, it interacts with an enzyme in the hair follicle, 5-alpha reductase, to create dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT then binds to receptors in the hair follicle.
DHT can have an adverse effect on healthy hair follicles. As the hair cycle progresses in a DHT-laden follicle, the growth stage will shorten and the resting stage will extend. With progressively shorter growing stages and longer resting stages, more hair is lost, hair follicles dramatically shrink, and the flow of blood and nutrients to the hair follicle is significantly reduced. While some follicles will become dormant, most will produce progressively finer and thinner hair until the hair is simply too fine to survive.
Progesterone is a natural 5-alpha reductase inhibitor, so when there is a drop in progesterone levels (such as during menopause, and also during andropause in men), this allows the body to more easily convert testosterone to DHT, as there is minimal hormonal opposition.
Yes. With proper nourishment, the production of DHT can be inhibited and damaged and dormant hair follicles can be repaired and even reactivated, resulting in new hair growth. A diet rich in protein, essential fatty acids (especially omega-3 fatty acids), vitamin A, biotin and other B vitamins, antioxidants and other key nutrients, will support healthy hair growth. In addition to a healthy diet, consider a natural dietary supplement such as Hair Essentials™ that offers an abundant supply of hair-healthy nutrients.
Medications including minoxidil (Rogaine), the androgen receptor–blocking drug spironolactone (Aldactone), and 5-alpha reductase inhibitors such as finasteride (Propecia) may be recommended by your doctor. While they can be effective, the long-term effects of these pharmaceutical treatments are unknown. In addition, because they artificially stimulate hair growth or reduction of hair loss, hair is likely to fall out when these treatments are interrupted or discontinued.
Other courses of treatment may include hair replacement surgery, hair additions (weaves and extensions), or laser light therapy treatment. All of these options can have undesirable side effects as well as being extremely time-consuming, costly, and inconvenient.
More and more women are turning to natural therapies as a solution to hair loss. You may wish to supplement conventional treatment(s) such as those suggested by your doctor, or consider an all-natural approach with a balanced diet and hair-healthy nutrients. Natural ingredients such as the herbs, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients found in Hair Essentials™, help restore balance to the body and encourage natural healing. Unlike chemical medications that can accumulate in the system, become toxic, override the body's innate intelligence, and potentially cause hormonal or immune system imbalances, natural ingredients provide the body with what it needs to heal itself. With proper nourishment, the body can naturally reduce production of DHT, inhibit binding of DHT to the hair follicles, repair damaged and inflamed follicles, reinvigorate dormant follicles, and grow healthy hair.
The best way to prevent hair loss from hormonal imbalances is through early diagnosis and treatment. The sooner you identify the issue and nourish your body with hair-healthy nutrients – the better! Some all-natural hair supplements like Hair Essentials™ pack a powerful punch as it relates to hair loss and quickly deliver vital nutrients to the scalp to help combat hair loss, restore healthy hair growth and nourish thicker, stronger new hair growth.
With any hair loss condition, it is also important to eat a balanced, healthy diet, manage the stress in your life, get quality sleep each night, and reduce exposure to environmental toxins.
Natural Remedies for Hair Loss due to Hormonal Imbalance
Try these natural remedies to help reverse hair loss, prevent future hair loss and encourage healthy hair regrowth. It's important to always consult your physician first, before pursuing any alternatives.
Stinging nettle has long been used as a hair tonic to stimulate new hair growth. Research indicates that nettle root may prevent the conversion of testosterone to DHT, especially when combined with other herbs such as Saw Palmetto. Nettle leaf tea is extremely nutritive and provides many trace minerals and other micronutrients that may help reduce or prevent hair loss. Rinsing the hair with nettle leaf is a traditional remedy for helping to restore the hair back to its original color.
Reduce omega-6 fatty acids.
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are types of essential fatty acids (EFAs) - meaning we cannot make them on our own and have to obtain them from our diet. Both are polyunsaturated fatty acids, meaning they contain carbon atoms which have double bonds capable of accepting hydrogen atoms, but differ from each other in their chemical structure.
In modern diets, the main sources of omega-3 fatty acids are from cold water fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, black cod, and bluefish. Vegetarian sources include walnuts, flax seeds, or chia seeds, which contain a precursor omega-3 (alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA) that must be converted in our body to its beneficial DHA and EPA metabolites; however, this conversion is very inefficient (very little conversion naturally occurs), thus marine omega-3 sources (cold-water fish, algae, chlorella, and spirulina) are more practical choices.
By contrast, sources of omega-6 fatty acids are numerous in modern diets. They are found in many seeds and nuts, as well as the oils extracted from them. Refined vegetable oils, such as soybean oil, canola oil, or palm oil, are used in most of the processed snack foods, cookies, crackers, and sweets in the American diet as well as in "fast food."
The body constructs a wide variety of hormones/chemicals (prostaglandins, leukotrienes, eicosandoids, and others) from these fatty acids: Those from omega-6 fatty acids tend to increase inflammation (an important component of the immune response), blood clotting, and cell proliferation; while those from omega-3 fatty acids tend to decrease those functions. Both families of these hormones must be in balance to maintain optimum health.
Many nutrition experts believe that before we relied so heavily on processed foods, humans consumed omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in roughly equal amounts. But to our detriment, most North Americans and Europeans now get far too much omega-6, which are pro-inflammatory, and not enough omega-3. Chronic inflammation can lead to a host of degenerative conditions.
Try to reduce the use of vegetable oils such as canola, soybean, and palm oil, margarine and shortening, or other chemically altered fats. Choose fats like coconut oil, real butter, and olive oil, and consume higher levels of omega-3 rich foods.
Too much caffeine can wreak havoc on the endocrine system, especially if there are other hormone stressors involved including toxins, a fat imbalance or stress.
Get enough sleep.
If you aren’t getting enough sleep, you are at risk for a hormone imbalance. Restorative sleep not only improves hormone balance, but can lead to a longer life, reduce your chance of disease and help maintain optimal weight.
Phytosterols, plant-derived sterols that are structurally similar to human cholesterol, may inhibit the enzyme, 5-alpha reductase, and block the production of DHT. Foods with high levels of phytosterols include soy, wheat germ, peanuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, Brussels sprouts, olive oil and rye bread.
Supplement with Hair Essentials™.
With any hair loss condition, it's also important to eat a balanced, healthy diet, manage the stress in your life, get quality sleep each night, and reduce exposure to environmental toxins. You may also consider supplementing with Hair Essentials, which can improve the growth rate, strength, and vitality of hair. Its more than 20 all-natural ingredients are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and delivered to the scalp where they work in combination to:
- Reduce the production of DHT
- Inhibit the binding of DHT to hair follicles
- Stimulate inactive hair follicles
- Reduce scalp inflammation which can lead to hair loss
- Encourage hormones responsible for hair growth to stay in balance
- Regulate the time hair remains in the dormant stage
- Provide vital nutrients for the structural development of healthy hair
- Protect hair follicle cells against oxidative stress and damage
- Seed follicles with the nutrients they need for new hair growth