by Ann-Louise Holland

There are many systems out there that will help to start resolving hair loss or hair thinning and you would be incredibly lucky if one thing on its own works to repair your hair growth and even it if does, there is always more that you can do. More than ‘one thing’ is going to help and sustain healthy hair growth, as probably there are a number of factors causing it. As the American Hair Loss Association says, “What all hair loss has in common, whether it's in men or women, is that it is always a symptom of something else that's gone wrong in your body. Your hair will remain on your head where it belongs if hormone imbalance, disease, or some other condition is not occurring. That condition may be as simple as having a gene that makes you susceptible to male or female pattern baldness or one of the forms of alopecia areata, or it may be as complex as a whole host of diseases...”. Unless you are already aware of any condition you have, I would say the hair problem is going to be in the middle of these two extremes and you are going to be able to take action and get some results. Your hair really is a good indication of what is going on in the body and even if you have a hereditary pre-disposition, you can still work on those factors that caused hair issues for your ancestors.

The American Hair Loss Association is a great source of reliable information about the scientifically proven causes, such as from medication and contraceptive pills, as well as the different types of hair loss.  They focus very much on actual medical conditions that have gone through scientific testing which is great to know, however my belief is that hair loss is often a more subtle set of problems and different in everyone, so quite hard to single out one issue that will cover all bases, so don't expect to find your cure within the information they provide. 

I didn't have any of the conditions listed by the medics and nor do many people who are suffering with hair loss or thinning.  What I did have was an imperfect digestion, despite being one the healthiest eaters amongst many of my friends.  Any digestive disturbance, no matter how subtle, is key to whether the body can sustain healthy hair growth and also a very modern dilemma.  If the body is not getting the right nutrients from the diet or creating an environment for the wrong hormones or bacteria to proliferate, something is going to give out and since hair is 'non-essential', it is a good indicator of the nutrition in food not being assimilated properly.  So even if you have hereditary hair thinning, it is possible to improve your chances of regaining a head of thick and healthy hair because these issues will be the same or very similar to the issues your ancestors had.  I really tried not to be the food sensitive, weird diet request person, but these three dietary and digestive points are the 'must do' if you want to see the real improvement with your hair:

1. Alkaline vs Acidic: There is so much (dis)information out there about creating an 'alkaline environment' within the body and this is obviously an ideal scenario.  Peak alkalinity can be hard to achieve and then maintain, and how do you check that anyway? However, it is possible to quite easily improve the acid/alkaline balance of the stomach, which needs to be acidic in order to efficiently consume food at the first digestion point, which then enables an alkaline system thereafter. Diseases and pathogens cannot survive in an alkaline body and conversely, bad bacteria, yeast overgrowth and DHT (a derivative of testosterone) all thrive in an acidic environment.  DHT (dehydrotestosterone) is notorious for shrinking hair follicles and is the main cause of andogenic alopecia, so anything we can do to keep this hormone at bay is going to be helpful.

Taking two tablespoons of Dr Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar first thing in the morning and last thing at night will naturally and effectively bring the stomach pH back into balance. It has so many well-documented health benefits from lowering blood sugar and cholesterol and generally improving the digestion, it is deservedly having a moment right now and is well worth the effort in the fight against DHT.  Likewise drinking hot water with lemon will have a similar effect as well as increasing the action of digestive enzymes and a wonderfully healthy habit to get into (but do brush your teeth BEFORE drinking lemon for the sake of your teeth enamel). 

2.  Good bacteria vs Bad: The medical establishment is only recently waking up the fact that stomach bacteria is the key to so many things such as depression, hormones and even cancer.  Yet anti-biotics which completely destroy the systemic good bacteria, remain at the front line of attack prescribed by most doctors for so many unnecessary conditions like (non-bacterial) viruses, or as a preventative measures and to get you out of the surgery and back to work asap!  Modern diets with highly processed foods are not helping the good bacteria either, but why is this so important for hair growth? DHT, your hair's enemy, nests and grows in the bad bacteria in the digestive tract and relies on the lack of good bacteria to actively shrink the hair follicles. Whilst there are herbal and mineral DHT blockers in Good Hair, taking a good quality pro-biotic can re-populate the system with good bacteria so it can wipe out DHT's trail of devastation. Do not be fooled by the yoghurt drinks promising health benefits from their cultures; regular consumption of a high-dose, multi-strain, live culture supplement is what is required as a brilliant line of attack. I highly recommend Bio-Kult and Opti-Bac

 3. Allergies & Inflammatories: We are now in a world were every other person has some kind of allergy or food intolerance which leaves those that don't suffer, mystified and suspicious, yet you don't have to 'suffer' to have an inflammatory response which silently causes disruption.  The main inflammatory foods are the usual suspects, dairy, sugar, white flour, artificial sweeteners and additives and of these, dairy is a key culprit for several reasons.  Firstly it is one of the main inflammatory foods and also it is a delayed response allergen so it doesn't have the shock reaction of a peanut allergy and as such, will go on silently causing an auto immune response that mostly cannot be detected (except via your hair problems). Dairy is well known for causing acne and with the same chemical pathway, is linked to increased DHT production which is essential to decrease if we want thicker, stronger healthier hair.

Have we become more allergic to our world, or have we made the foods less tolerable? Dairy is definitely a food source that has been overly processed and far too intensively farmed for its own good and unfortunately needs to be avoided if your hair is thinning.  

There are a multitude of actions you can take to improve your health and digestion, these three, fairly simple dietary changes, will have a direct effect on the quality of your hair. Hair thinning or loss isn't a simple problem to solve but regaining healthy hair growth can be achieved naturally and with a some effort and a little time, so I do hope you find this useful.  I would love to hear you get on, so please get in touch via