How to Restore Life & Radiance to Dull, Dry, and Thinning Hair

Friday Jul 17 | BY |
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Portrait of beautiful middle age woman walking outdoors in autumn

Hair is a living, ever-growing tissue.
As living tissue, hair requires a consistent supply of nutrients every day.

What do my patients often complain about?

Their hair. It’s thinning. It’s dull. It just doesn’t look good.

I understand. The color and texture of our hair is important. It denotes racial heritage. It sets the tone of aging. Luxurious hair is a sign of youth, health, and attractiveness. Who doesn’t want great looking hair?

Tips To Prevent Thinning Hair

Thinner hair comes with aging, and is also associated with certain diseases. Thyroid disease, for example, is associated with dry skin; dry hair; and brittle, thin hair. In severe cases, it causes dramatic hair loss.

Iron deficiency anemia is another condition associated with hair loss. Even a mild case of anemia can cause hair to shed.

Hair is mainly made up of proteins. Extreme low-protein diets will make your hair thinner, weaker, and more brittle. Besides protein, healthy hair depends on a variety nutrients. Diets low in iron can lead to major hair loss. Since vitamin C is necessary for collagen formation, deficiencies make it difficult for your body to build structural components like hair shafts.

12 Nutritional Supplements For Luxurious Hair

  1. Biotin
  2. Hyaluronic acid
  3. Iron
  4. Omega-3 fatty acids
  5. PABA (as para-aminobenzoic acid)
  6. Protein (animal or plant complete protein)
  7. Silica (as orthosilicic acid or from bamboo extract)
  8. Vitamin D3
  9. Vitamin B12 (as methylcobalamin)
  10. Vitamin B5 (as pantothenic acid)
  11. Vitamin C
  12. Zinc

Usually, nutrient deficiencies are associated with hair loss, but too much of some vitamins can also be bad for hair. Excessive amounts of vitamin A, for example, will cause hair loss. Too much vitamin D causes health problems that can lead to hair loss.

Food Tips For Healthy Hair

  • Eat fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, sardines, tuna, and mackerel.
  • Eat pumpkin seeds for plant-based omega fatty acids.
  • Eat more yellow and orange vegetables and fruits like carrots, pumpkins, and yams.
  • Get more natural zinc found in oysters, eggs, and whole grains.
  • Condiment with edible yeast that is high in biotin.
  • Add organ meats (if you’re not vegetarian) like liver for iron, vitamin B12, and biotin.
  • Eat a variety of raw nuts including walnuts, hazel nuts, and Brazil nuts.
  • Include polyphenol antioxidants from blueberries, raspberries, and black berries.
Eastern Herbs To Keep Hair Young

The Chinese value dense, raven-black hair. For lifelong healthy hair, traditional Chinese medicine practitioners recommend Polygonum multiflorum. Called Heshouwu, or mistakenly referred to as Fo-Ti, this herb is best known as an elixir called Shou Wu Chih. It’s a slow acting medicine, so don’t expect fast results.

In India, Brahmi oil is famous for keeping hair rich and silky. Brahmi is made from two different Ayurvedic herbs, though the end product bears the same name. Bacopa monieri extract improves short-term memory and benefits hair. Centella asiatica, or gotu kola, is also used for brain health and memory loss, but has a wide range of other benefits including reducing anxiety, regulating the female hormone system, treating skin diseases, and for restoring hair loss.

Hormonal Balance Supports Healthy Hair

Hormone levels make a significant difference in preventing hair loss and promoting healthy, youthful hair. It’s not just about levels. Hormone work together, so hormonal balance is the key. Too much of certain hormones can cause receding hair.

Many men fear balding, but the most vigorous men often have high levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Too much DHT is associated with male pattern balding. Natural DHT blockers include zinc and diindolylmethane (DIM) derived from cruciferous vegetables like cabbage and broccoli. If your DHT is too high, and natural blockers aren’t working, talk with your doctor about a prescription DHT blocker.

Like testosterone, too little or too much estrogen is bad for your hair. Too much can cause hair loss. Not enough and your hair looses it’s sheen. In women, low estradiol is associated with thinning skin and hair, and wrinkling. It’s wise for postmenopausal women to check their hormone levels in a blood test.

Boost Your Hair Health With Marine Complex

To understand hair, I consult experts like clinical aestheticians and dermatologists. These professionals are all for a healthy diet, the right nutrients, and hormonal balance. But some people require more potent medicine. Hair experts are looking at new ways to regrow hair.

In a 2012 study, researchers evaluated a unique marine complex called AminoMar C for hair loss. Made from a blend of shark and mollusk powder, combined with nutrients, AminoMar significantly increased hair growth, improved volume and thickness, and stimulated new hair growth. I regularly recommend a nutraceutical compound composed of AminoMar for my patients with significant hair loss associated with aging.

Get Your Blood Tested

How can you find out what may be causing your hair loss?

Get a blood test. It will tell you if you have a hormone imbalance, aren’t getting enough iron, or have a B12 deficiency.

In my practice, I’ve found that for dry, brittle, falling hair, commonly used supplements usually aren’t enough. If you have low thyroid gland function, all the biotin in the health food store won’t make a difference. You have to improve thyroid glandular health.

Blood Tests For Hair Loss

  • Complete blood count: A CBC helps determine if you’re anemic.
  • Iron and Ferritin: Low levels are associated with anemia.
  • Vitamin B12: Low levels are associated with anemia.
  • Vitamin D, 25-Hydroxy: Low levels of vitamin D2 are associated with pattern balding in women.
  • Thyroid stimulating hormone: The TSH level determines if your thyroid is underperforming or overworking. Also check Free T4 and Free T3, the active forms of the two main thyroid hormones. Hypothyroidism is associated with hair loss.
  • Male hormones: Testosterone, diyhydrotestosterone, DHEA-sulfate, and prolactin are important tests for both men and women.
  • Female hormones: Test estradiol (E2), follicular stimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH) for women. And, E2 and LH for men.
Smart Self-Care For Healthier Hair

If your hair is naturally oily, you may need to shampoo daily. Concentrate the shampoo on your scalp. If you have long hair, don’t shampoo the entire length, just the near the scalp.

If you have dry hair and scalp, shampoo less frequently. Use a conditioner every time you wash or rinse your hair. Concentrate conditioner on the tips of your hair, not the scalp.

Protect your hair from dryness caused by swimming with a tight-fitting swim cap. Use conditioners specially formulated for swimmers.

Wear your hair loose. Pulling back your hair in ponytails or tight braids puts tension on the scalp. Choose looser hairstyles whenever you can.

Get a weekly scalp massage. Most salons will be happy to accommodate your request. You can also do it yourself at home. Massage in cold-pressed olive oil, Brahmi oil, or Moroccan oil.

Don’t forget to drink enough water. Moisture makes your hair supple and more bouncy. Ideally, drink eight to ten glasses of water daily. After sweaty workouts, drink an additional glass of water for every twenty minutes of exercise.

5 Steps For Thicker Hair
  • Get your blood tested and correct any underlying abnormalities, imbalances, or deficiencies.
  • Consume adequate protein.
  • Include foods rich in nutrients that nourish hair.
  • Balance your hormones.
  • Add specialized nutraceuticals like AminoMar.
  • Remember, just like your skin, the quality of your hair is an outward sign of health. As living tissue, hair requires a consistent supply of nutrients every day. When key nutrients are missing, even if your regular diet contains adequate amounts of nutrients for general health, your hair may still suffer. Hair requires specialized nutrition and a rich supply of hormones.

    Dr. J. E. Williams

    J. E. WILLIAMS, OMD, FAAIM

    Dr. Williams is a pioneer in integrative and functional medicine, the author of six books, and a practicing clinician with over 100,000 patient visits. His areas of interest include longevity and viral immunity. Formerly from San Diego, he now resides in Sarasota, Florida and practices at the Florida Integrative Medical Center. He teaches at NOVA Southeastern University and Emperor’s College of Oriental Medicine.

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    1 COMMENT ON THIS POST

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    1. June Hanson says:

      Great comments on needed ingredients for healthy hair. My volumizing shampoo and Conditioner using Icelandic Secret ChitoClear or Chitosan from Shrimp Shells, Vitamins, herbs like sage, Echinacea, horsetail, chamomilla, rosemary, green tea, grapefruit seed extract, wheat protein, sweet orange oil. Main ingredient is aloe vera gel.

      Leave conditioner on 5 minutes, covering all hair. My hair then is nice and thick, and shiny, healthy looking.

      That all works great, as you keep hormones, thyroid, natural supplements in balance.

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