Luscious locks. Flowing tresses. Who doesn’t want to have a full head of shiny hair? Our culture certainly gives us the message that great hair symbolizes youth and beauty. However, particularly as we age, women and men may find that the soft, full hair we have taken for granted in our younger days becomes thinner and more brittle. And if baldness is in your genes you may start to lose hope of ever getting those locks back (read on though, as we’re going to talk hair regeneration using a new hair peptide therapy later in the article)
As You Age, So Does Your Hair
Hair grows less than half an inch every month, so the hair on your head can have experienced years of sun exposure and damage from the elements. It also is affected by naturally diminishing hormonal levels which play a role in both hair growth, texture, and greying.
Searching For The Fountain Of Youth For Hair
What’s the solution? The beauty industry tells us the secret to great hair is finding the right “products.” And it’s definitely possible to spend hundreds of dollars trying to find the perfect match. However, no matter how many reviews you read, you can only find so much hair magic in a shampoo bottle. In fact, many shampoos and other hair products can actually damage your hair because they contain harmful substances.
The truth is that beautiful hair starts from within. As a result, what we put into our bodies is far more important than what we put on our hair.
How Is Hair Made?
Hair follicles contain stem cells and enzymes that regulate hair growth. In some people (men and women), the follicles start to shrink earlier than others, for genetic or hormonal reasons, leading to thinning hair and eventually bald patches.
Hair strands are composed of a protein called keratin (in fact, so are your nails). One of the primary components in keratin is choline, an essential nutrient with many roles in the body that is found in a variety of foods such as eggs, salmon and cauliflower.
Vitamin B7, also known as biotin, contributes to the formation of keratin. Because of this relationship, it’s not surprising that scientists have found that being deficient in biotin can lead to hair loss. In fact, one study found that supplementing with biotin helped slow hair loss in women with thinning hair, leading to fuller, shinier hair as well as smoother skin after 6 months.
The Gut-Hair Connection
Interestingly, scientists have also found that the amount of bad bacteria in our gut affects the formation of biotin. That means that beautiful hair isn’t necessarily as simple as making sure you have consumed enough biotin. Your digestion and absorption need to be working right too.
Stress and excess cortisol have possibly the biggest influence the delicate balance of gut bacteria, and in turn affect biotin production. So managing your stress levels, sleeping well, keeping sugary snacks in check and ensuring your nutrition is balanced don’t only benefit your overall health and wellbeing, those benefits go all the way to your hair.
Top Tips For Healthy Hair:
Now that you have a clearer understanding of the factors behind healthy hair, how can you overcome the effects of aging and environmental damage? Check out these tips for a healthy head of hair.
1. Check your hormone levels.
Cortisol isn’t the only hormone that can impact your hair health. If you’re experiencing hair loss or changes to hair texture, you should check the levels of your other hormones as well.
For example, low levels of thyroid hormone can indicate a stressed-out thyroid. One of the thyroid’s “lesser” jobs is to regulate hair growth, however in times of stress the body will focus all of the thyroid’s energies on more important functions such as regulating the body’s temperature and metabolism. Hence thinning hair is one of many possible symptoms of lowered thyroid function.
Low estrogen, which may be a sign of perimenopause or other hormonal imbalances, can also lead to hair troubles. While slower growth of pubic and underarm hair might easily go unnoticed, an estrogen imbalance can mean that androgens have a stronger effect on hair follicles, leading to thinning hair on the head, and even rogue chin hairs.
These are just a few reasons why the best start to improving your hair’s texture and fullness begins with testing to see where your hormonal levels are and ensuring you are balanced.
2. Reduce your sugar consumption.
When you eat a lot of sugar, your blood sugar rises. In response, your body produces more of the hormones insulin and androgens such as testosterone, which have a shrinking effect on hair follicles. That means your hair could start growing finer and more brittle.
3. Eat plenty of protein.
This may seem like a no-brainer, since hair is composed of protein. Keep in mind that your protein sources don’t have to be meat-based, since protein can be found in plant sources too.
In addition to biotin, the amino acid cystine assists in the formation of keratin. Good sources of cystine include garlic, onions, broccoli, brussels sprouts, oats, wheat germ, sprouted lentils and eggs.
4. Boost your intake of fruits and veggies.
To protect your hair, you want to reduce the damage that can be caused by free radicals. Those are compounds that can damage your cells, and they’re often created by environmental factors and the internal processes that can be triggered by stress.
Free radicals can lead to lifeless, gray hair. Antioxidants can fight free radicals and restore your hair’s shine. Fruits and vegetables can provide the key antioxidants for healthy hair: Vitamins A, C, and E.
5. Make sure you consume enough Biotin.
Good sources of biotin include:
(Bonus: Biotin will also strengthen your nails!)
6. Take a collagen supplement.
Collagen is one of the main components of hair and skin, so it makes sense that supplementing (either with bone broth or a powdered supplement) would be beneficial. Choline, one of the building blocks of keratin, is found in collagen. Collagen can also strengthen the layer of your skin that contains hair follicles. (This layer of skin is called the dermis). With a stronger anchor point, hair is less likely to fall out.
7. Keep up your mineral intake.
One of the many roles of minerals in the body is growth, and iron and zinc in particular contribute to keratin formation which helps your hair to grow strong.
Zinc can also protect your hair from sun damage just as zinc oxide in sunscreens can protect your skin from sunburn, and zinc helps your body flush out excess insulin too. Good sources of zinc include shellfish, beans, and seeds.
8. Avoid high-mercury foods.
Consumption of food with high levels of mercury has been linked to hair loss. Some kinds of tuna, swordfish and mackerel can all contain high levels of mercury.
9. Don’t smoke.
Smoking increases the speed at which your body breaks down and excretes biotin, reducing the amount of biotin in your blood and leading to weaker hair and nail growth.
10. Consider Hair Peptide Therapy (PTD-DBM).
If your hair is thinning significantly you might want to make an appointment to discuss a groundbreaking follicle regeneration treatment that is just now making it’s way from the lab to the clinic. PTD-DBM is a peptide based topical scalp treatment which inhibits the follicle shrinking action of the body’s hormones and enzymes effectively rescuing the follicle at a stem cell level.
The International Peptide Society has recently conducted a study on this treatment using rats and humans, that showed significant hair re-growth, making PTB-DBM exciting as a possible application for hair loss or thinning. It won’t be a short term treatment, it will likely take a minimum of 3-4 months to see the results, but it has the potential to be a powerful peptide for hair growth.
If you’re experiencing issues with your hair, it may be time to test your hormones and make sure your gut health is supporting your hair goals not impeding them!
Give our office us a call we are happy to help.
Larry Siegel, NP – Yunique Medical
Larry Siegel is an ARNP and certified SottoPelle practitioner who offers his services at Yunique Medical clinics in the greater Ocala and The Villages areas of Florida. He founded Yunique Medical in 2016 in order to create a clinic that offered only the highest quality of ongoing care and anti-aging therapies (including bio identical hormone replacement, and human growth hormone) outside the rigid standards of traditional medicine.