After the skin, it is our hair which perhaps get the maximum attention as far as external pollutants go. Our immune mechanism broadly consists of skin, mucus, tears in eyes and White blood cells to fight off internal infections. You can add hair to it too which takes on the most of the damage because that is one part of the body which mostly remains uncovered by clothes.
What is hair?
Simply put in hair is 90% protein. So all sciences and laws which apply to protein in your body will apply to your hair too. Anything which interferes with protein processing and synthesis will result in hair loss of scanty hair.
DHT is a powerful form of testosterone. It gets formed with the help of an enzyme called 5 – Alpha Reductase. Once the DHT goes into excess, we start suffering from hair loss. Drugs which focus on hair growth inhibit this enzyme. The other treatment is of course improving protein intake and synthesis. Take care to eat good quality protein and totally discard the bad quality ones. For eg peanuts are the worst if you are eating them as a source of protein.
How to protect the hair – ten tips
Tip No 10 – To begin with, start using some kind of head gear. It can be a hat or a scarf or even a dupatta worn as a fashion accessory. Do not go out in the sun with your hair uncovered. Also be very careful when bathing. The purification process of tap water added fluorides to the water which a major cause for hair loss. Use a shower cap or install a fluoride filter in the shower head. As bonus, it will also help with thyroid problems.
Also connected to shower the next thing to check is the shampoo you are using. Sulphates in the shampoo will literally destroy your hair.
Washing your hair too often will expose it to chemicals. So plan the wash as less as possible. Instead focus on keeping your skin healthy and that includes your scalp.
Tip No 9 – Things to apply to your hair. Green tea, Rosemary oil and Onion juice are a few things you can apply to your hair and leave it for some time before washing it off. These are the best natural inhibitors to the enzyme 5 Alpha Reductase.
One good remedy for clearing the pores at the base of your hair is apple cider vinegar. But remember to dilute it well so that it does not burn your scalp. Apple cider vinegar also gives a lustre to the skin. That shinny glow which we all covet.
Another inhibitor of this enzyme is zinc. Best source of zinc is dark chocolate and red meat. You can also get it from oysters if you are able to lay hands on them. Even eggs are great source of zinc.
Tip No 8 – Hair loss during intermittent fasting and keto diet.
This problem is very commonly faced by people who suddenly switch to a keto diet but do not follow it correctly. In fact I remember one person vehemently telling me that he lost a lot of hair which made him switch off from keto diet to a regular one. He also switched from intermittent fasting to prolonged fasting. Result, he had very good memory because he was fasting but his remained over weight because once he broke fast, he tend to overeat and that too a lot of unhealthy food.
Improve your diet with inclusion of proteins and trace minerals which are Iron, Zinc, Manganese, Cobalt, etc. In case of protein again remember, it has to be food which has the complete amino acid profile.
Another reason for hair loss is deficiency of the Vitamin B complex family. Once the intermittent fasting and/or keto kicks in properly, you will experience rapid weight loss which is the form of body fat. Between two fat molecules is one trapped water molecule. This water which was held by the body contained the important water soluble vitamin B. Unfortified nutritional yeast is the best option to increase Vitamin B in the body. This also is the same remedy for anxiety, depression, fatigue and fear.
Tip No 7 – Check high levels of Estrogen by eating cruciferous vegetables.
Have you noticed how quite a few women complain about hair loss during menstruation. That is because of the high estrogen levels during that period. Gobi, muli and shalajam are common cruciferous vegetables native to India. You can also go for broccoli which is now common.
You can have high levels of estrogen due to fatty liver and/or due to gut issues due to eating too much gluten which comes from eating too much grain.
Tip No 6 – Keep those thyroid levels under check.
The first food you should seek for keeping the conversion of T4 to T3 going good is selenium. This conversion process happens in the liver. So you need to keep your liver healthy and stress free. The four foods which absolutely destroy your liver is fructose, refined oils, refined carbs and ethanol. Refined oils and carbs comes with chemicals and toxins which have to be processed by the liver. Fructose and ethanol which comes from alcohol also is broken down in the liver in a long two step process. If the liver is busy with these processes, it compensates with reduced T4 to T3 conversion.
Selenium is found in seafood and Brazilian nuts which is the reason why these nuts have gained so popularity in recent times. If you are able to order sea kelp online then that is a good source of selenium too. It also helps with Iodine which improves thyroid function.
Tip No 5 – Vitamin D
Regular exposure to the morning sun will help keep high levels of Vitamin D. They also keep your healthy if you are taking a walk early morning as the sun rises.
Tip No 4 – Keep those stress levels under check.
Many women will experience hair loss after a stressful event. That is cortisol at work. Cortisol is damaging to the protein synthesis process which will effect the build up of hair too.
A good way to keep stress under check is to go out for a walk or do some simulating activity like going for a hike or reading a book. Spending time with friends or family or even with pets will help de stress.
I hear many people saying that they plan to stay away from stress. But that is not going to be possible. The better option would be to start a de-stressing routine every evening for two to three hours and hit the bed early to catch the deep sleep wave. Your dinner has to wrap up by 7pm so that you get a clear fasting window.
Tip No 3 – Ditch the peg and the stick
Ethanol in alcohol is known to directly affect protein synthesis. In fact if you see people around those who regularly consume alcohol will eventually have visible signs of hair loss.
Smoking is another reason that your skin and hair dries out and it infuses large amount of chemicals in your system which eventually reaches your hair. Smoking also interferes with the absorption of nutrients by your body.
Tip No 2 – Improve production of biotin in your gut.
Many popular hair products have this ingredient biotin commonly found. Biotin is actually made in your gut but the bacteria present there. Eat more of fermented foods like curd, yoghurt, paneer to regularly keep a healthy gut.
Tip No 1 – Healthy Keto and Intermittent fasting
If you are having PCOS, the only way to reverse it is going for a low carb and low sugar diet like keto and doing intermittent fasting. Women who have been diagnosed with PCOS suffer from hair loss as a direct effect. Medication might help keeping PCOS in check but will not help but infact aggravate the problem. So better option is to reverse PCOS the natural way.
PCOS is caused by high levels of androgens in women and insulin is the cause of this rise in androgens. To keep insulin levels under check and maintain insulin sensitivity, intermittent fasting and keto diet have proved to be quite effective.
So what causes hair loss.
Exposing hair to harsh sun and weather conditions including pollution like city smog will damage the scalp and hair. If repairs are not in pace with the damage, then it gets visible.
Regularly washing hair with harsh shampoos which have bad quality ingredient and with city supplied tap water is a very very bad idea.
Eating a carb and sugar rich diet at odd hours and eating frequently will damage your hair. So will processed or fried food and low quality protein like peanuts.
A sedentary lifestyle with little or no exposure to the sun will cause hair problems.
Finally alcohol and smoking will eventually thin out your hair and lead to scanty hair growth.