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4 Steps to Keep Hair Luxurious and Strong, Naturally

Friday Feb 22, 2013 | BY |
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Hair Loss

If your hair is thinning or falling out, here are some natural ways to reinforce strength and vitality.

“Doctor, my hair is thin and falling out. What should I do?”

I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard this complaint from patients. There are many reasons for unhealthy hair: hormone imbalances, inadequate nutrition, lack of key minerals necessary for vibrant hair, smoking, and stress are the most common.

Changes in skin and hair provide clues to underlying vitamin deficiencies. Since hair and skin reflect the overall condition of the body, I take a close look when my patients complain about thinning hair.

What Hair is Made Of

Knowing what hair is made of helps guide food and nutrients choices for strong hair. It also helps maintain skin and nail health.

Hair is an outgrowth of filamentous (“hair-like”) cells made of keratin that grow from follicles found in the dermis—that biologically active layer of the skin. Keratins are structural proteins. Nails and the outer layer of skin are also made by keratin. Human hair also includes the pigment melanin that is responsible for hair color, fats, and small quantities of vitamins and traces of minerals like zinc. Hair also contains 10–15 % water, which helps maintain moisture and balances its biochemistry.

Step One: Consume More Protein, Oils, and Water

To have strong hair, you need strong keratin. Start by getting enough protein and healthy fats and oils. Protein-rich meals are important because protein assists in the production of keratin. If you’re not vegan or vegetarian, eat lean meats, poultry, and fish to help build up keratin. Low-fat dairy products have essential amino acids that boost keratin production. Try cottage cheese and Greek yogurt for added keratin development. High-protein sources not derived from meat including beans, almonds, and walnuts can also increase keratin production. Take omega-3 fish oil or plant-based oils like flax or sacha inchi.

Step 2: Eat Plants To Support Hair Repair

Vitamin C is a building block for keratin, so citrus fruits, peppers, chilies, and Brussels sprouts—fruits high in vitamin C—can increase the development of keratin. Biotin plays a role in metabolizing proteins, so it supports keratin production. Eat biotin-rich vegetables like cauliflower, kale, broccoli, and onions to improve the properties of keratin in the body. Beta-carotene rich foods also count when improving hair. Carrots, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes and yams, mangoes, pumpkin, and apricots are all good sources of beta-carotene. Whole grains are also good food sources that support the generation of keratin.

Ten Foods For Healthy Hair

  1. Wild Caught Salmon
  2. Walnuts
  3. Eggs
  4. Lentils
  5. Greek Yogurt
  6. Wild Blueberries
  7. Free Range Organic Poultry
  8. Spinach
  9. Oysters
  10. Sweet Potatoes

Step 3: Take Supplements For Hair Repair

Healthy hair growth requires a complex of nutrients, a ready supply of oxygen, and adequate water. When diet is not enough to stop hair from falling out, turn to supplements for faster results. Certain vitamins, minerals and amino acids are crucial to the metabolic pathways involved in keratin protein metabolism. Lack of key nutrients can lead to poor hair health.

Check your vitamin B levels. Thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (B2), and niacin (B3) nourish hair-follicle cells. Pantothenic acid (B5) gives hair flexibility, strength and shine, and helps prevent hair loss and greying. Pyridoxal phosphate (B6) helps prevent dandruff. And vitamin B12 prevents hair loss. Biotin is another nutrient associated with hair loss. Low folic acid levels may contribute to decreased hair-follicle cell division and growth. However, plant-based eaters always have high levels of folic acid when their blood is tested for this important nutrient.

One of vitamin C’s functions is to help build healthy collagen, the connective tissue found within hair follicles and skin. Vitamin E helps maintain the integrity of cell membranes in hair follicles. Beta-carotene is important for hair growth because it converts to vitamin A as the body needs it, helping maintain normal growth and bone development, and promoting healthy skin, nails, and hair.

Minerals are also necessary for hair health, including calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. Zinc, iron, and silica are essential nutrients for healthy hair.

Ten Supplements for Healthy Hair

  1. Beta-carotene
  2. Biotin
  3. Iron
  4. Omega-3 and -6
  5. Silica
  6. Vitamin B12
  7. Vitamin B5
  8. Vitamin B6
  9. Vitamin C
  10. Zinc

Step 4: Balance Hormones for Super Healthy Hair

Low thyroid gland function is associated with thinning hair and coarse skin. If dietary changes and taking supplements doesn’t improve your hair, get your thyroid hormones tested. The adrenal hormone cortisol rises with stress. Too much of it causes hair loss. As you age, lower estrogen in women can lead to thin lifeless hair. And, in men, too much of the wrong kind of testosterone, called dihyrotestosterone, is associated with balding. If you suspect hormone deficiencies, or excesses, get tested and work with you doctor to restore hormone balance.

For vibrant thriving hair at any age, consume enough protein, get abundant plant-based nutrients, and take nutritional supplements that support hair health. Hydrate with plenty of pure water. And, get your hormone levels tested.

Dr. J. E. Williams

J. E. WILLIAMS, OMD, FAAIM

Dr. J. E. Williams is a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, longevity, and natural health. Dr. Williams is the author of six books and more than two hundred articles. During his thirty years of practice, Dr. Williams has conducted over 100,000 patient visits. Formerly from San Diego, he now practices in Sarasota, Florida and teaches at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Division of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, NOVA Southeastern University, and Emperor’s College in Los Angeles.

He is also an ethnographer and naturalist. Since 1967, he has lived and worked with indigenous tribes, and spends as much time in the high Andean wilderness and deep Amazonian rainforest as possible. In 2010, he founded AyniGLOBAL, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting indigenous cultures, environments, and intellec¬tual rights. His current work is with the Q’ero people of the Peruvian Andes, where he teaches Earth-based wisdom and heart-centered spirituality.

For more information: www.drjewilliams.com

Follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/drjewilliams

7 COMMENTS ON THIS POST

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  1. Geraldine says:

    Missing you making awesome videos on youtube!!!

  2. Terri says:

    What do you do for Alopecia? and is there anything one can do?

  3. Joe says:

    Greetings,

    I have been making raw green smoothies using a hi-tech belender… I have been on this raw food lifestyle change for tha last 6 months or so… with about a 30% consumption of lean chicken and wild alaskan salmon.. once a month a good steak…I’m feeling generally well…But, here’s what I have noticed has started to happen ..my hair has clearly been thinning and it is sort of alarming…

    Several weeks ago i read an interesting article from Mind Body Green…which stated …the over consumption of “Raw Spinach” produces a food chemical that has a direct affect on slowwing up the Thyroid. I have also noticed I have put a on a little weight around the midsection which i find surprizing because I am very active… in view of the above I consume raw spinach everyday…just about a handful mixed with other greens…like kale and collords…these symptoms seem be associated with the thyroid..while eating healthy could this be whats happening? what is an over consumption considered to be?…Thank you. i await your response.

    • Lisa says:

      Yes, some vetables and soybean related food interfere with the thyroid gland function, thyroid hormones production. These vetables are call goitrogens, which are the cruciferous vegetables. ( Spinash, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, turnips, and others). Cooking does appear to help in inactivate the goitrogenic compounds found in food. So, limit your consumption and maybe you need to get your thyroid tested just to make sure you don’t have a thyroid problem. I have hypo thyroid so, I need to eat as clean as possible, and be careful what I buy by checking the label since so many things cointain soy by-products. I just eat organic, fair trade, and natural. Hope this help.

      Lisa

  4. Autumn says:

    Saw Palmetto (herbal capsule form) has helped minimize my hair shedding and thinning.

  5. I think that the role of thyroid hormones in hairloss issues is in general highly undervaluated taking into consideration that we have an epidemic of hypothyroidism in our modern society and half of people with thyroid problems remain undiagnosed. Thank you for mentioning thyroid and hormone problems as a possible cause of hailoss and raising awareness about this issue.

  6. Lauren Jessie says:

    I get keratin treatments in my hair every 6 weeks and the Shielo Smoothing Products (With the hair oil) are excellent in deep treating my hair to maintain my treatment. Leaves hair smelling wonderful even after hair has been rinsed and blow dried. Get the Shielo products – they will make the treatment last WEEKS longer, and you will save so much money in the long run.

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