The 6 Steps I'm Using to Reverse My Hormonal Hair Loss
I think one of the worst things about struggling with PCOS and the Hypothyroidism from Hashimoto’s is watching the hair on your head get thinner and the shower drain getting more and more clogged with lost hair.
R.I.P. my long, blonde friends.
I’ve been slowly losing hair for the past five years with minimal regrowth no matter what changes I made. I pulled out all the stops I use on clients to help them regrow hair. I went Paleo, was taking all the right supplements to regrow hair, got my thyroid and adrenals checked, was using chemical-free products on my hair and scalp and had a regular exercise routine.
So, what the heck was the problem? I decided to do a little experiment and change it up, adding some techniques into my daily routine targeted at re-growing hair.
After about 6 weeks of consistently following the principles below, I finally started to see some baby hairs pop-up and then BAM. I started seeing a heck of a lot more regrowth.
Hair loss is HIGHLY individual and largely dependent on what’s going on inside your own unique body. Hair loss can happen from insulin resistance, sex hormone imbalance, liver stagnation, inflammation and/or high-cortisol levels. Just to name a few. So, I’m not saying these principles will work for everyone, but I wanted to share what is working for me.
The 6 Steps I've Taken:
1. I Went Low-er Carb
I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this before. I’m a Functional Nutritionist who knows the power of a properly balanced low-carb, high-fat diet. I was already paleo. I was still insulin resistant. Honestly, I think I was afraid after I heard all the disaster, hormone-destroying, low-carb stories being thrown around in the wellness community.
The saying rings true that you won’t know until you try something for yourself. A low-carb, high-fat diet happened to be my sweet spot.
This isn’t for everyone, but for someone who struggles with insulin resistance (like myself), it can be a game-changer. High glucose levels in women can cause high-testosterone. This testosterone can be turned into an inactive form of testosterone called DHT. DHT is known for damaging hair follicles and causing hair to thin. High glucose (blood sugar imbalances) paired with insulin resistance is very common in women who have:
- thyroid imbalances/hypothyroidism
- Autoimmune Disease
- a high amount of inflammation in the body
- store fat around their belly
- are on birth control or have recently come off the birth control pill
By going low carb, I reduced a lot of the stress on my body that came from not being able to process carbohydrates/sugars properly (insulin-resistance) and my body finally said “let’s grow some hair.”
2. Added Some Additional Gut Support
It’s very common for gut issues like leaky gut, candida, parasites and low stomach acid to cause vitamin and mineral imbalances. You might be eating all the vitamins and minerals you need to grow healthy hair, but not digesting or absorbing them properly. Even if you eat a nutrient-dense diet, the gut is very sensitive to other factors like stress, pathogens, chemical exposure, not enough sleep and not enough water intake.
Here are the ways I’ve added some extra love and care to my digestive system:
- Apple Cider Vinegar
I add 2 tablespoons to my morning lemon water and 2 tablespoons to a glass of water that I drink before dinner. Apple cider vinegar stimulates Hydrochloric Acid and enzymes needed in the stomach to break down food and protect your immune system. Weak, dry and brittle hair is very common for people with low stomach acid.
*make sure you use the unpasteurized kind with the mother.
-Sauerkraut with every meal
Sauerkraut is a pressed, cabbage salad full of enzymes and good bacteria (probiotics) that will pre-digest food that is hard for your body to break down, aid in digestion as a whole, eliminate bloat, keep you regular and make you feel grounded.
I eat about 3-4 tablespoons of sauerkraut with each meal and make sure I chew it really really well. Warning: If you aren’t used to consuming sauerkraut, start LOW AND SLOW. A little goes a long way.
Sometimes, when our bodies are under extra stress, digestion can be impaired. I like to add in a broad-spectrum digestive enzyme that includes HCL and Ox Bile for a little boost in digestive fire. This is the one I use.
-Drink Aloe Vera Every Night
I love cycling aloe vera in and out of my routine regularly. Not only is it full of antioxidants and minerals, but it also works in the digestive tract as a mild antibacterial while soothing and hydrating. Not only does it make me feel great, but it also makes my skin look glowy and radiant.
*Aloe Vera can give you loose stools, so start with a conservative amount.
3. Got My Sleep Habits Under Control
It wasn’t until just recently that I started really prioritizing my sleep. Before, I would work well past dark, scroll my insta, read emails, etc. and never really take time to wind down and decompress from the day. BIG MISTAKE.
I now realize that even though I was “sleeping,” I was not sleeping well. Having dreams about nutrition theories, scientific studies and client work is a hint that my subconscious was still wide awake. The problem is, if you want your hormones to balance, sleep is numero uno. It’s where the magic happens.
So, what did I change??
I incorporated a nightly routine that starts one hour before I go to bed. I shut off electronics, dim the lights and light some candles. I read, journal or do a little self-care. I make some tea and get cozy. I diffuse some lavender essential oil. I make a conscious effort to calm and clear my mind as much as I calm my body.
4. Started Taking Grass-fed Liver Capsules
Organ meats have been consumed for thousands of years for multiple purposes, including medicinal. I love using the most whole-food, nutrient-dense supplements on my clients and myself whenever possible, because the body processes a real food much better than a synthetic supplement.
These Grass-fed liver pills come from some of the healthiest cows on the planet, who have gifted us with a superfood packed full of B Vitamins, Copper, Zinc, Iron, Vitamin A and many beneficial fatty acids, all nutrients needed to grow healthy, strong hair.
5. Stopped Over-Doing It On The Coffee
One of the reasons we lose hair in the first place is that our body is in fight or flight mode (stressed the F out). Whether it’s emotional stress, gut issues, a life we hate, relationship troubles, not eating enough calories or too much sugar, our bodies are already maxed out.
Add in a cup (or five) of caffeine, which stimulates cortisol and adrenaline (stress hormones) and your body has no other choice but to turn to survival mode. When you’re in this state, your body’s hormonal profile will change and you’ll find yourself with symptoms like insomnia, acne, anxiety, digestive issues and hair loss, just to name a few.
My old habit of two cups a day has now been shaved down to a couple times a week and my body is thanking me.
6. Upped My Water Intake (don’t forget the minerals)
I realized I wasn’t being as generous or consistent as I could be with my water intake (yes, even nutritionists struggle with healthy habits sometimes) and made a conscious effort to drink half my bodyweight in ounces, plus about 30 ounces for every 60 minutes of exercise.
I weigh 135 lbs and exercise for about 60 minutes, so I was making sure to consume about 100 oz. a day at least.
*Pro tip about water: it’s best to drink pure, filtered water that has minerals added back in. My two favorite methods for purifying water is reverse osmosis or using a berkey filter (you can purchase one here) to make sure I’m not getting exposed to added chlorine, fluoride and anti-biotics present in tap water.
That’s it! As you see, physical symptoms are usually a sign of a deeper internal imbalance taking place that won’t be fixed by just switching shampoos or taking “hair vitamins.” It’s not about finding the “perfect” plan, but instead about figuring out what works for your unique body and sticking to it!