If you attended our webinar last week, “How Our Nutrition Impacts Our Hair”, you know how strongly I believe that a healthy diet can play an important role in the health of our hair. In this blog, I want to look at not just the vitamins and nutrients needed for healthy hair, but the overall types of diets.
The hair follicle is an extremely complex structure and made up of some of the most metabolically active cells in the body. Due to the complexity of the follicle and the fact it is made up of metabolically active cells, the hair follicle requires proper nutrition to function properly and grow healthy hair. The problem is that many of the nutrients that the hair follicle needs to be healthiest, vital organs of our body also need, so when we are deficient in these vitamins and nutrients, the body diverts them to places it feels are more important for survival, and our hair suffers.
One of the biggest issues with the diets that most Americans consume, not only are they deficient in key vitamins and nutrients needed for hair health, the foods are also highly processed, high in sugar, and high in fat. While we know that these foods are not healthy, these foods are now known to be pro-inflammatory, which means they are activating our immune system to respond. Normally our immune system gets activated when it recognizes foreign substances like bacteria, viruses, chemicals, plant pollen, and then acts to neutralize them and protects us from harm. This is a good thing. However, if inflammation is chronic, it can lead to or aggravate disease. Alopecia Areata and Scarring Alopecia are two types of hair loss that are caused by immune disorders. Inflammation has also been noted on biopsy in the early stages of Androgenic Alopecia (Female Pattern Hair Loss).
This does not mean that eating junk food will automatically cause hair loss, but it is important to understand that unhealthy diets can impact our bodies in ways we may not realize. Research has repeatedly shown the negative impacts of a pro-inflammation diet and the positive impacts of anti-inflammatory diet. What is great about anti-inflammatory diets, is that when followed these diets also include many of the vitamins and nutrients that are important for hair health. Some of the best anti-inflammatory foods are:
- Olive Oil
- Green leafy vegetables
- Nuts- almonds, walnuts
- Fatty Fish- Salmon Tuna Sardines
- Fruits – All berries, cherries, oranges
- Curcurmin plus piperine (Curry, turmeric, black pepper)
The anti-inflammatory diet is very similar to the Mediterranean diet, which is consistently found to be the healthiest diet recommended by physicians. The focus is on limiting processed foods and red meats and making fruits and vegetables the foundation of your diet.
Lastly, it is important to remember, when it comes to hair health, it is important to be on a hair health supplement. The truth is that even when following a healthy anti-inflammatory diet, most people do not get enough of each of the necessary vitamins and nutrients needed that are key for the health of our hair. I strongly recommend that all of my patients get utilize a good hair loss supplement, like our Tresse Rx line.
Posted by Dr. Mary Wendel