When it comes to hair loss, there can be several culprits. Hair quality, such as thickness, sheen and everything in between can often be traced back to the thyroid.
Our thyroid is responsible for regulating hair growth. This is why we often see hair loss as a primary symptom in thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism. The thing is though, there actually doesn’t need to be a diagnosable thyroid condition to see a hair thinning. Subclinical hypothyroidism, or simply an under functioning thyroid can cause hair to thin and fall out. It’s often one of the first symptoms before a clinical diagnosis is made.
This occurs because thyroid hormones are needed for the development and quality of hair follicles. Therefore low levels of thyroid hormone impede the natural hair growth cycle, causing it to prematurely end.
Stress and the Thyroid
One of the most common causes of suboptimal thyroid function is, you guessed it… stress.
The adrenal glands, which secrete cortisol, the main stress hormone, are intimately connected to the thyroid. Levels of thyroid hormones fall when cortisol is elevated. This is in part due to an overlap in nutrients needed for cortisol production and thyroid hormone synthesis.
When there is chronic low- or high-grade stress exposure and a loss of hair, replenishing nutrients is a great foundation to begin to see tangible results in hair growth and amount.
Stressors can be psychological in nature, but the body can also mount a stress response to inflammatory foods, nutrient deficiencies and environmental chemicals. If you're curious about your stress levels, you can assess them by reading this blog!
Key Nutrients for Thyroid Health
The thyroid requires several specific nutrients, among them: Vitamin C, Niacinamide, Vitamin B6, Biotin, Magnesium, Iodine, Selenium, Silicon
These nutrients help to restore levels of thyroid hormones, which regulate our hair growth cycle.
They are also rapidly used up in the stress response. When stress is high, we become depleted in these and there isn’t enough left over for the thyroid to function optimally.
From a clinical perspective, restoring these nutrients helps to minimize hair loss. Independent of stress levels, these nutrients are often low in western societies. We usually see that hair also begins to grow faster and thicker in addition to not falling out simply by maximizing the body's stores of them.
Balancing Thyroid Function
Hypothyroidism is a complex disease that requires healing from many different angels. However, supporting the thyroid is a different story. We love Nanton Nutraceuticals, nourishing waves. It provides all the thyroid nutrients we mentioned in ratios that are conducive to supporting a healthy thyroid.
Oftentimes, hair growth with the addition is seen in 2-3 months, however some people report seeing the benefits within a couple weeks.
Nourishing waves can be looked at as a hair tonic, even though in its essence it works to optimize thyroid function.
Although it is a main contributing factor, stress doesn’t need to be in the picture for thyroid function to be less than optimal. If stress is prominent in your life, adding in an adaptogen herb such as Rhodiola will potentiate anything else you chose to do to grow, thicken and support your hair.
Reducing cortisol secretion and managing stress from a physiological level, with a herb such as Rhodiola helps to fix the root cause and preserve nutrients.
An important and an often overlooked nutrient in hair health is vitamin C. Vitamin C is needed for collagen production which is an important part of not only hair growth but the quality of our hair. Brittle hair is often lacking sufficient collagen and therefore vitamin C can work to ‘plump’ hair up.
The caveat to vitamin C is that it is the major nutrient used by the adrenal glands in the stress response. Since hair isn’t essential for survival, any left-over vitamin C will go to processes like immunity. Saturated plasma levels are a godsend to hair quality.
Will vitamin C on its own cure your hair woes? Likely not, however without its presence you are likely not to reap the benefits of any other hair solution in its fullest capacity.
Food sources are: berries, citrus, broccoli, herbal teas such as hibiscus and of course our clinically tested Lypo-SphericⓇ Vitamin C is also a phenomenal way to increase levels!
Hair loss can have several underlying causes. It is always best to check with a health care practitioner to get an in-depth analysis on what your unique situation is. Supporting the thyroid in a gentle way and working to reduce stress can go a long way in getting back those luscious locks- and who knows you just might end up with the best hair of your life!Author: Lisa Kowalyk, CNP, B.Kin