On last week’s functional medicine blog, we talked about hair loss and potential contributors. We reviewed lab findings that are important to look at to discover what may be causing it. The pattern of hair loss and your history can also help narrow down where hair loss may be coming from. The great thing is, there is a lot than can be done with diet and supplements to help.
General Supplements for Hair Loss
Essential Fatty Acids
Essential fatty acids are just that, essential fats that your body needs. They come from fatty fish, walnuts, or chia seeds. For those of you who do not like to consume them 2-3 times per week or more, a quality fish oil supplement is a good option. For general wellness, consume at least 1000 mg per day of the essential fatty acids known as EPA and DHA. Doses in the range of 2500-3000 mg are even more beneficial as it decreases inflammation. And as we know from last week’s blog, inflammation is a contributor to hair loss. So, if you have elevated C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, or sedimentation rate, extra fish oil is even more important.
B vitamins are used in almost every process in our body. Additionally, we use more B vitamins when we are under stress. Remember that when we are stressed, cortisol becomes elevated, which can cause hair loss. A good B complex will contain the proper forms of B vitamins. Things to look for are methylcobalamin (B12) and methyltetrahydrofolate (folate). Beware of B complex or multivitamins that contain folic acid or cyanocobalamin (B12). These forms are not the best for our bodies.
Low iron and anemia contribute to hair loss. Especially if your ferritin level is below 50, hair loss is very common. Iron supplements should not be used without having your levels checked and monitored, as too much iron is a bad thing and creates toxicity. Check with your functional medicine provider to assess your iron levels before you begin any iron supplement.
In addition to supplements, there are foods that can help with hair growth as well.
Foods That Help with Hair Loss
· Chia Seeds
· Fresh ground flax seeds
· Pumpkin seeds
· Collagen supplement/bone broth
· Apple cider vinegar
Don’t forget the importance of exercise! If your hair loss is related to a circulatory condition, poorly managed blood sugar, or stress, exercise can help.
Diet and supplements can definitely help hair growth, especially with a comprehensive functional medicine analysis. Getting labs done is the best first step to discover the contributors that may be affecting your condition. Contact your practitioner today for more information.
Dr. Lori Jokinen, DC CACCP CFMP BA