by Lawrence Wilson, MD
© July 2012, The Center For Development
Hair loss affects at least one fourth of the population, and probably more like half. It is a very annoying and disfiguring, especially for women, who often suffer from it beginning around age 30 or so. Nutritional balancing may often help this condition.
The imbalances listed below are associated with hair loss. Also mentioned in this article are why cancer chemotherapy can cause hair loss, and why rarely hair loss occurs during a nutritional balancing program.
As the causes are corrected, many clients report that their hair loss has stopped. If the condition is recent, the hair grows back in most cases. If the problem is longstanding, hair may not grow back, but it often will stop falling out.
Causes of hair loss discussed below are:
2. Nutrient deficiencies.
3. Yin disease.
4. Low protein in the diet.
5. A copper imbalance.
6. Low thyroid, and perhaps low adrenal activity with it.
7. Impaired circulation to the scalp
8. A toxin.
9. Scalp infections.
10. Other illnesses or causes.
CAUSES FOR HAIR LOSS
Dehydration can cause hair loss, although I am not sure exactly why. This situation is quite common.
Reasons for dehydration are:
a) Not drinking enough water. Most adults need 3 quarts of drinking water every day or sometimes more in warm or dry climates, or if one is physically active.
b) Some people drink the wrong kind of water – usually reverse osmosis water, also called drinking water or purified water. Most often, this does not hydrate the body well enough, no matter how much one drinks of it, and this can contribute to hair loss. The best water to drink in my experience are good spring water or carbon-only filtered tap water.
c) Certain habits dehydrate the body badly. These include the use of caffeine in any form or amount, sugar in any form, and any use of alcohol.
Properly hydrating the body is very important for some people. For more on this, read Hydration on this website.
2. NUTRIENT DEFICIENCIES
Hair is called a soft tissue, and is also considered a connective tissue of the body. It is similar in composition to skin, fingernails, toenails and other connective tissue. These tissues require many nutrients, particularly B-complex vitamins, vitamins C and E, sulfur, calcium, magnesium, zinc, bioavailable copper and others.
Those with hair loss should first make sure they are well-nourished. This is not easy today. For most people, I suggest the Slow Oxidizer Eating Plan. This includes eating piles of cooked vegetables three times daily, some animal protein daily such as meats and eggs, and a little raw or organic dairy products. Equally important is to stop eating all fruit, all fruit juices, all wheat, and all refined and junk foods and sweets.
In addition, many people’s state of nutrition is so poor that they require a number of food supplements, at least for a while. These are best recommended based on a hair mineral analysis in a nutritional balancing program that either I set up or done through one of the practitioners recommended on this website. Otherwise, it is usually not done correctly.
Raw vegetables. Sadly, these do not provide as many minerals, in our experience, because most people cannot thoroughly digest raw food. The minerals are locked in the fibrous vegetable matter and it passes through one undigested. Also, raw food of all types is too yin. Read more about this situation in the article entitled Raw Food.
Cancer chemotherapy. This may cause hair loss due to nutritional depletion, most likely. I believe this is the cause for it, because taking the correct vitamin supplements and eating correctly can sometimes avoid the problem.
Another possibility is that the chemotherapy drug is simply toxic for the hair follicles. This may be another way to say that the drug depletes a nutrient needed for the hair to grow.
3. YIN DISEASE
Some women and some men with hair loss have a yin condition of the body chemistry. Yin means cold and expanded in Chinese medical terminology and in macrobiotics. If, for example, the hair shaft is slightly loose in the follicle, the hair may fall out much more easily than if the follicle were more contracted or more yang in Chinese medical terminology.
A yang rising condition is definitely associated with hair loss. A variant of a yin condition of the body is called in acupuncture terms yang rising. It occurs when the body is very yin, usually with a low thyroid condition, and then it reacts by trying to become more yang, but in a half-hearted or inadequate manner.
This pattern is revealed easily on a properly performed hair mineral analysis. We call it a four highs pattern. It occurs when four macrominerals – calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium – are all above their ideal levels. This interesting mineral pattern and acupuncture tendency is discussed more in an article on this website entitled Four Highs Pattern.
How to make the body more yang. To do this, one needs to eat more cooked vegetables, with some cooked meats, and soft cooked eggs. These are more yang foods.
Also, it is necessary to avoid yin foods, such as all sweets, all sugars, and most if not all raw food. One must avoid most fruit and all fruit juices and other yin beverages such as alcohol, soda pop and sweetened tea.
We find, for example, that many women with hair loss eat a lot of fruit and salads, both of which are very yin. Many have been or still are leaning toward vegetarian diets as well. This can contribute to hair loss in some cases.
To make the body more yang one should also sleep a lot, and do not take too many herbs, vitamins and mineral supplements because all are yin to some degree. All homeopathic remedies are also very yin and should be minimized as well.
Sauna therapy and coffee enemas. To improve the yin/yang balance of the body much faster, add the use of a near infrared sauna daily and do one or two coffee enemas daily. Coffee enemas are better than colonic irrigation to make the body more yang. We do not recommend drinking coffee, although one cup of regular coffee is okay.
For more on this important imbalance, read Yin Disease on this website.
4. LOW PROTEIN DIETS
Hair is composed of keratin, a protein substance. One must have adequate protein in the diet, and one must digest and utilize that protein in order to properly nourish the hair. If the diet is low in protein, the body may “sacrifice” the hair because it is a less essential tissue of the body.
This cause helps explain hair loss in cases of protein starvation, but it can occur just with a low protein diet, or a vegetarian diet of lower quality proteins such as tofu, seeds or beans, for example.
5. COPPER IMBALANCE
Most women and men who are losing their hair have a copper imbalance. Copper is absolutely required for connective tissue integrity, which includes the proper structure and function of the hair. Often those with hair loss have symptoms of copper imbalance such as varicose veins, migraines or other headaches, PMS, mood swings or others.
Vegetarian diets are also known to worsen copper imbalances. Anyone who becomes zinc deficient usually develops excessive copper, and anyone with weak enough adrenal glands develops a copper imbalance. For more on copper, read Copper Toxicity Syndrome on this website.
6. THYROID AND ADRENAL IMBALANCES
Medical science knows well that a low thyroid causes dry, brittle and usually falling hair. A thyroid imbalance can be subtle, and the T3, T4 and TSH levels may appear normal in the blood serum.
Reasons for thyroid imbalance include low iodine, high mercury or copper, other toxic metals in the body, or high levels of the iodine antagonists – bromine, fluorine and chlorine. Rarely, other factors are important such as infections like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and others.
All of these are very common today. The answer is not to take thyroid hormones, in my experience. These are very rarely needed. Instead, a properly designed nutritional balancing program will correct the problem and restore normal thyroid function. In fact, taking replacement thyroid hormones slows or even stops full healing.
On hair mineral analyses, a low thyroid is revealed by a slow oxidation rate, and more specifically by an elevated calcium/potassium ratio. This indicates a low thyroid effect, even if the levels of thyroid hormones are normal. In other words, one may have plenty of thyroid hormones, but they are not acting at a cellular level in the proper way. For various reasons, the hormones are less effective. This very confusing topic is discussed in detail in an article on this website entitled Thyroid Imbalances.
7. IMPAIRED CIRCULATION INVOLVING THE SCALP
This is rather common with men, in particular. It can cause male pattern baldness, or even complete baldness. Causes include tension in the fascia or even the muscles of the neck that impairs circulation to the scalp.
One could have arteriosclerosis of the arteries leading to the head or scalp, but this is more rare.
A properly designed nutritional balancing program will help with generalized tension in the neck and back, and will slowly reverse arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis if that has set in.
8. CALCIUM OR OTHER TOXIC DEPOSITS IN THE HAIR FOLLICLES
Another imbalance seen on a few hair mineral analyses is a buildup of what is called metastatic or biounavailable calcium in the soft tissues of the body, which can include the skin and hair follicles. This could also cause dysfunction of the hair follicles and hair loss.
At times, other toxins will affect the scalp. These might be due to a skin care product such as a shampoo, hair dye or other product that is somewhat toxic. Other causes are iron, manganese or other chemicals in the water used for bathing and drinking. This cause for hair loss requires stopping the use of the toxic product, and perhaps filtering the bathing water if it is toxic, which is not common.
Hair loss during a nutritional balancing program. Rarely, elimination of a toxic metal, toxic chemical or old medical drug may damage the hair follicles temporarily, leading to some hair loss. This is unusual, but it does occur.
9. SCALP INFECTIONS
These sometimes contribute to hair loss. This is probably a more rare cause of hair loss.
10. OTHER ILLNESSES OR CAUSES SUCH AS STRESS
Rarely, another illness can cause partial or total hair loss. The underlying cause can be a systemic infection, or nutrient deficiencies, or the production of a toxin that damages the hair follicles.
Stress alone can cause hair loss, usually due to nutrient depletion. Stress can be of any type such as lack of rest, fear, worry, financial problems or other causes.
A COMPLETE NUTRITIONAL BALANCING PROGRAM IS BEST
Correcting the factors above will usually stop hair loss. While remedies for the hair sometimes work, the most reliable way to stop hair loss, in my experience, is with a properly designed nutritional balancing program.
One reason is that some of the causes, such as a copper imbalance, can be quite deep and hidden. They will not be revealed on any medical or holistic test, and must be slowly uncovered or unwound over a period of months or longer. Only the proper program will gently rebalance and rebuild the body chemistry.
Medical drugs for hair loss. These may work, but can be very dangerous, especially Propecia. I would avoid this drug in all cases, as I have seen severe and persistent side effects from it.