Supplements, Diet, and Hair Loss
Diana Gallerani, NP and I recently returned from an international conference on hair loss. Conferences are a great opportunity for us to not only learn about the latest research on hair loss, but also to speak with other members of the medical community to hear about what they are seeing at their practices. This conference had lots of great courses and discussions and we heard about many exciting new study results, which will result in new recommendations for our patients. One topic that was thoroughly covered at the conference was the role diet can play in hair loss.
One of the most common questions we hear almost daily is, “Does nutrition affect my hair loss?” and “What supplements should I take for my thinning hair?” While we know about the importance of protein intake in creating healthy hair, at the conference we heard about the importance of lipid (fat) intake and fat metabolism on hair health. Recent research by Dr. Pappas from Switzerland, demonstrated the importance of healthy fats in our diet. His research showed that omega 3 fats and linoleic acid (an essential fatty acid) nourish our skin and hair, thicken the fat layer around the hair follicle and result in improved hair growth. Omega fats are found in oily fish like sardines, salmon, herring, lake trout and tuna. Linoleic acid is found mostly in plant oils like flaxseed and pumpkin oil, tofu, walnuts and walnut oil. Dr. Pappas also informed us that probiotics, which can be found in active culture yogurt, improves the absorption of these essential fats.
As part of any treatment plan for female hair loss, we will now be strongly recommending adding healthy fat sources to the diet, as well as probiotics. If you are a picky eater, supplements for Omega 3 fats should be considered. If you are interested in learn more about the connection between diet and hair loss, schedule your free consultation today.
Posted by Dr. Wendel
No, McDonald’s Fries Do Not Regrow Hair
If you have watched or read the news lately you probably saw some headlines that read “McDonald’s French Fries Cure Hair Loss!”. While that headline is attention grabbing and sounds delicious, sadly, it is not true. So what is everyone talking about?
There was a recent study conducted in Japan where a research team was able to regrow hair on mice by creating hair follicle germs, which are the reproductive source of hair follicles, and seeded them into the mouse’s body. Amazingly, the hair follicles generated hairs on the back of the mice. The hope is this may one day lead to similar success with humans, but there is still much testing to be done.
So you are probably still asking what this has to do with McDonald’s french fries? Dimethylpolysiloxane is a silicone compound that McDonald’s uses in its french fries to prevent the oil from foaming. The research team also used Dimethylpolysiloxane in this study. In order to produce the hair follicle germs in a lab, the research team needed “oxygen-permeable dimethylpolysiloxane (PDMS) at the bottom of the culture vessel”. Therefore, while it is true that this ingredient in McDonald’s french fries was used in a successful hair loss study, it was not a contributing factor to the hair growth, but rather was necessary for conducting the study.
Unfortunately, this type of breakthrough treatment is still a ways off from becoming a reality, however, there are still lots of great treatments available for hair loss, even if eating french fries is not one of them!
Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team
Everything You Need to Know About Low-Level Laser Therapy for Hair Rejuvenation
Losing your hair can be a devastating event for women, but thanks to new medical technologies, female hair loss doesn't have to be permanent. With a variety of hair rejuvenation processes available to you, odds are you'll find an effective treatment. Laser therapy is just one of those methods, but one that's relatively unknown.
If you're looking into the best types of hair loss treatments, here's a bit more information on why low-level laser therapy is so effective in hair rejuvenation for women.
What is low-level laser therapy?
Low-level laser therapy is fairly self-explanatory. The process, also referred to as red light therapy and photobiomodulation, involves exposing the scalp to very low levels of concentrated light. Low-level laser therapy stimulates the hair follicle cells to grow in the scalp and increases cellular activity around the follicle. This also decreases inflammation so existing hairs can grow thicker and stronger.
Are there any side effects?
Fortunately, the side effects here are basically non-existent. The light is at such a low level that patients will barely even feel the treatment being done. This has been a popular hair rejuvenation treatment in Europe for over 30 years, and hardly any side effects have been discovered in that time.
Who are the ideal candidates for this procedure?
Low-level laser therapy is an excellent procedure that tackles hair rejuvenation for women. Considering that some 21 million U.S. women are currently experiencing some form of female pattern hair loss, it's also in high demand among this demographic. Regardless of demand, hair loss specialists frequently recommend this treatment to patients experiencing any level of hair loss or thinning.
How is the laser therapy administered?
Any form of low-level laser therapy must be prescribed by a trained hair loss specialist. Hair loss specialists typically recommend three treatments per week. At Medi Tresse we offer multiple at home devices, which allow you to complete the treatment in the comfort of your house on your own schedule.
Whether you're experiencing hair loss or you're concerned about the first signs of thinning hair, don't rule low-level laser therapy out! It could just be the female hair rejuvenation solution you've been searching for. Call us at 800-840-HAIR for a free consultation. At Medi Tresse, we offer only non-surgical treatments that are clinically proven to treat female hair loss.
Are all Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) Devices the same?
Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) has become one of the most popular treatments for female hair loss, and with the increase in popularity we have also seen an increase in at home options. However, many patients tell us it can be confusing when they try to research and compare all of the LLLT devices. Before we get into the devices, it is important to understand what exactly is LLLT.
LLLT stimulates the hair follicle cells to grow in the scalp and increases cellular activity around the follicle. This also decreases inflammation so existing hairs can grow thicker and stronger. While LLLT has been proven to be effective for many years, the 2014 double-blind study published in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, truly showed the power of LLLT in treating hair loss.
With a simple internet search, you will find a number of at home LLLT devices, such as the LCPro by LaserCap, the Capillus, the LaserBand 82 by HairMax, the Theradome, or the iGrow, and this can be very overwhelming to the patient. However, there are a few key differences that you need to look out for when comparing devices. First, the laser wavelength should be between 650nm-655nm. Secondly, the laser output per diode should be 5mw. Thirdly, the diodes should be true lasers and not just red lights. Lastly, the number of diodes is extremely important. Many of the full caps are sold with varying numbers of diodes, often varying between 80 and 272, but you truly need at least 220 diodes in the cap to ensure you are receiving the proper coverage to the entire scalp. While some products like the HairMax LaserBand 82 only have 82 diodes, since they only cover a third of the head, they have the sufficient number of diodes in the treatment area, you just have to move the device to treat the entire scalp.
If you think you are interested in LLLT, it is important to speak with a hair loss specialist that can not only determine if a LLLT device is right for you, but guide you through the decision making process to purchase the best device.
Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team
What Is Female Pattern Hair Loss
Female pattern hair loss (FPHL), clinically known as Androgenic or Androgenetic Alopecia, is the most common cause of hair thinning and loss in women. Up to 50 % of women have some degree of female pattern hair loss in their lifetime. It certainly is more common as women age, particularly after menopause, but it can start as early as the teenage years. Female pattern hair loss tends to run in families, and inheritance can be from either the mother or father, but sometimes there is no family history. We know that hormones play a role in this type of hair loss, especially the “androgenic” hormones such as testosterone.
Female pattern hair loss is typically more pronounced in the frontal areas of the scalp. Over time the hair shaft gets thinner in a process known as “miniaturization”. Your hair goes through a constant life cycle, as we naturally shed and grow new hairs. However, miniaturization occurs, because the anagen phase, or growth phase, of the hair cycle gets shorter, which means the hair is not able to grow as long or thick as it has in the past. Eventually if not treated, the affected hair will continue to get smaller and disappear completely.
The good news is there are great treatment options for female pattern hair loss, but it is very important to start as early as possible. If a hair has been lost for a long time there is no way to get it back, unless you surgically transplant a different follicle in that area. However, with Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy or Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) you can reverse the miniaturization and thicken and grow existing hairs. If your loss is recent, we may be able to re-activate dormant follicles so that they start producing a hair again. If you think you may be experiencing signs of female pattern hair loss it is important to see a hair loss specialist as soon as possible so that they can diagnose your type of hair loss and come up with a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.
Formula 82M vs OTC Minoxidil
When many patients start to see signs of hair loss, their first thought is often to try one of the many over the counter minoxidil treatments. Minoxidil is a topical treatment, and the most commonly known brand is Rogaine. Minoxidil can be a great first step for hair loss, and was FDA approved in 1988. Patients experiencing Androgenic Alopecia (Female Pattern Hair Loss), Telogen Effluvium, and early Traction Alopecia are good candidates for minoxidil.
While minoxidil can be a good first step for patients with early signs of hair loss, many patients feel that over the counter minoxidil treatments can be irritating or make their hair greasy. At Medi Tresse we offer a specially compounded minoxidil solution called Formula 82M, which combats these issues. Formula 82M is specially formulated to be less irritating and less greasy, while also having a higher absorption rate, which means your scalp and follicles will receive a greater percentage of the minoxidil in Formula 82M than with an over the counter option.
Most patients will start to see a benefit from Formula 82M in three to six months, but for some patients it could take six to twelve months. At Medi Tresse we have seen the best results for patients when they combine the Formula 82M with Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy or a Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) device like a laser cap. If you think you may be experiencing signs of hair loss the first step should always be to see a hair loss specialist who can not only diagnose your type of hair loss, but provide you with a treatment plan tailored to your needs.
New Year's Resolutions For Your Hair Health
If you are anything like the team here at Medi Tresse, you have probably spent the last month coming up with a list of New Year's Resolutions for 2017. Since our main focus at Medi Tresse is the well-being of your hair, we just want to make sure you do not forget about the health of your locks this upcoming year! Here are a few resolutions that will help improve hair health and decrease breakage in 2017!
- Take a daily multivitamin to help assure your follicles are provided with the adequate nutrition they need to grow strong. The following vitamins and minerals are essential for not only hair, but healthy skin and nails as well:
- Copper, Iron, Zinc, Biotin, Vitamins B6, B12, A, C, D, E, and Omega-3’s
- While taking a daily multi-vitamin is great, nothing beats the natural vitamins and nutrients we get from our diet. Try to make foods that are naturally high in vitamins and nutrients essential to hair health a staple in your diet, such as dark leafy greens, which are high in Iron, Copper, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E or avocados, which are high in Biotin and Copper. You can find a full list of foods in our Avoid the Crash Diet This New Year blog post.
- Try to use the same shampoo for at least 6 months before changing it. Hair can respond to the changing chemicals in the shampoos and become too dry.
- Trim your hair every 6-8 weeks, which promotes strong, healthy locks that are free of brittle split-ends.
- Try not to over style your hair. While you can find a blow dryer and flat iron straightener in all of our bathrooms, just remember that excessive heat can damage the hair, and we want to be careful not to dry out the follicle. Moderation is the key when it comes to using your blow dryer and flat iron.
If you have any hair health questions in 2017, please remember you can always reach out to the Medi Tresse teams in Boston and Chattanooga. Most importantly, we hope that you and your family have a safe and healthy 2017.
Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team
Avoid The Crash Diet This Year
It’s hard to believe that the New Year is upon us! As we begin to prepare for the year ahead, New Year’s resolutions often involve new diets and weight loss goals, especially after the Holiday splurge! If losing weight is on your list of resolutions this year, we have a few tips for you.
What you may not be aware of is that both rapid and extreme weight loss, as well as crash diets can actually cause hair loss! Hair loss due to dieting is typically caused by deficiencies in key nutrients, especially if the diet involves food restrictions or limitations. However, often times it may just be due to the changes in your diet or the new drastic loss of weight. Drastic changes on the body, including loss of weight can put a lot of stress on the body. Hair follicles are very vulnerable to this, and often start to shed as a result! This is called Telogen Effluvium, and it is the body’s response to stress. Typically hair loss caused by dieting and weight loss is temporary and can be restored with the proper treatment plan and a balanced diet. However, the key is to lose weight safely in order to limit or avoid hair loss all together.
In order to lose weight you must decrease the number of calories that you take in, either by dieting, exercising, or both. Unfortunately, certain “fad diets” deprive the body of important nutrients that can affect hair growth! For example, while making dietary changes, you want to make sure that your body is still receiving enough biotin, iron, zinc, copper, protein, and vitamins A, C, and E. While it is always best to get these nutrients from natural sources, you should consider taking supplements and multivitamins to ensure your body is receiving the necessary levels of these nutrients, especially while pursuing a weight loss program. Here are some examples of foods from which you can get these vitamins and nutrients naturally:
Oily fish – salmon, tuna
Meats – liver
Meats – liver
Dark leafy greens
Coffee – decaf
Cocoa powder – unsweetened
Meats – red meat, pork, poultry
Dark green leafy vegetables - spinach
Dried fruit - apricots
Iron-fortified breads and pastas
Seafood – oysters
Meats – beef, lamb
Seed – pumpkin and squash
Nuts – cashews
Cocoa powder – unsweetened
Dark leafy greens (kale, spinach)
Citrus — Fruits in general
Almonds – nuts in general
Dark leafy greens
Lastly, it is important to avoid “shocking” your body with a crash diet. A crash diet is when you lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time. Not only can this cause hair loss, but usually the loss is short lived and weight is gained back much easier then if it was lost slowly and safely. You never want to lose more than 2 pounds per week, and your diet changes and weight loss should be gradual.If you think you are suffering hair loss caused by recent weight loss or changes in diet, it is always best to consult a hair loss specialist that can diagnose the underlying cause of the hair loss and work with you to create a proper treatment plan. Medi Tresse is your local hair loss treatment team; we provide hair loss treatment to women throughout Boston and Chattanooga.
Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team
Part 4 of Heads Up! How Supplements and Vitamins Benefit Thinning Hair
So far in our “Heads Up! Women’s hair rejuvenation solutions for thinning hair” series, we have shared info about three non-surgical solutions for hair thinning or loss: Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy, Low Level Laser Therapy, and some of our top picks for topical treatment products. Today I am going to expand a bit on the positive benefits of specific vitamin supplements that can actually improve the condition of thinning hair. By adding supplements and/or by making some changes to your diet to boost the intake of certain vitamins you may be lacking, you’ll be able to supply your hair follicles with the specific nutrients that nourish and promote healthy hair strands.
Let’s face it – many women struggle with getting enough vitamins through the foods they eat. I’ve met with a lot of patients over the years who can’t even remember the last time they ate a piece of fruit or some leafy greens. The good news is that a lack of proper nutrients can be addressed through dietary changes and there are vitamins that can be taken in liquid or capsule form if one’s diet alone isn’t enough.
Our staff at Medi Tresse believe that the most important supplements for healthier hair are biotin, zinc, and copper. You’ve probably heard or read about biotin – it’s been a pretty popular topic of discussion in articles having to do with achieving glossy, lengthier locks. Biotin can be found in many foods like liver, eggs, yeast, yogurt, salmon and tuna. However, some women’s diets can be deficient in biotin, particularly vegetarians or vegans. Low biotin intake can be associated with skin inflammation and alopecia, or hair loss. A simple solution is to just take a supplement daily. Zinc is essential for immune function, wound healing, and hormone function. Deficiencies in zinc can lead to dry skin as well as generalized hair loss. However, increasing zinc intake can increase the risk of copper deficiency, so depending on the patient, we may also recommend adding a copper supplement to balance the zinc/copper ratio in the body. Copper is an anti-inflammatory mineral which benefits the body in many ways, including helping to stimulate hair regrowth and – get this – it may actually help prevent grey hair too!
There are also many antioxidant vitamins that can help strengthen thinning hair. Deficiencies of Vitamin A can lead to destruction of hair follicles, but talk to a medical practitioner to figure out the proper amount for you, since too much Vitamin A can have a negative effect. Vitamin E is a strong antioxidant which protects cells from destruction. It is essential in wound healing and also works to keep skin and hair healthy. Lastly, Vitamin C is essential in collagen and cell formation and individuals with low Vitamin C intake will experience impaired hair growth resulting in thinner, more fragile hair. All three of these vitamins support cell growth and their anti-inflammatory properties help maintain a healthy environment for healthy hair regrowth and rejuvenation.
At Medi Tresse we believe that a well-balanced diet full of natural nutrients is needed for overall good health, but if your diet is not complete or if you have a medical condition which makes this impossible you may benefit from supplements. The best thing to do is to work with a medical professional to determine if there’s a chance you could be deficient in certain vitamins. Even if you think you already eat pretty healthy or remember your vitamin levels were fine the last time they were checked over a year ago, make sure to bring it up with a pro, just in case.
If you want to learn more about any of our recommended non-surgical solutions to help treat thinning hair, call us to make an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about our hair regrowth treatments here.
Posted by Your Medi Tresse Team