I have noticed my hair is a lot thinner than it used to be. What can I do to thicken my hair naturally?
Thinning hair is a problem many men and women face at some point in their lives. For some, it may be a result of chronically high levels of cortisol, for others it is nutrient deficiencies or hypothyroid. Other reasons include high levels of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), eating too many grains and sugars, or poor circulation to the scalp.
Here a few simple tips to help prevent hair-loss and encourage new hair growth:
1) Address Nutrient Deficiencies: The common deficiencies associated with hair-loss include iron, B complex, zinc, and omega-3's. A simple blood test will tell you if you are low in any of these nutrients.
Look for food sources of these foods first, and then if you still have deficiencies or want extra support look for HIGH-QUALITY, WHOLE-FOOD based supplements like Pranin, New Chapter, and Garden of Life.
2) Saw Palmetto: This herb can block the enzyme responsible for turning testosterone into DHT. Recommended dose is 360mg/day, best to take half with breakfast and half with dinner. Please check with your health care provider if you are taking medications as it is not recommended if you are taking blood thinners or hormone altering medications.
3) Adaptogens: Sometimes hair thinning is due to high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. If you feel this may be the reason for your thinning hair then taking adaptogens will help your body respond better to stress. A couple of my favourites include rhodiola and ashwagandha. For more tips about how to balance cortisol please read my post on Weight Management.
4) Bhringaraj: An Ayurvedic herb used for healthy hair. The name is a Sanscrit word meaning "ruler of hair". It is also a great source of antioxidants. You can use it as a powder in food (smoothies, raw brownies, chia pudding, etc), it can also be made into a paste and massaged into the scalp before a shower (wait at least 1hr before showering).
5) Scalp Stimulating Oils: A few drops of Rosemary essential oil mixed in a bit of extra virgin olive oil massaged into the scalp will stimulate hair growth. Other essential oils that may also help include peppermint and lavender.
6) Silica: Although it won't stimulate new growth it can make the hair that is growing thicker. Horsetail and Bamboo are common sources and Bio-Sil has been shown to be very bioavailable form of silica.
7) Hypothyroid: A common cause of a low functioning thyroid is adrenal fatigue. By supporting the adrenal glands, thyroid function may normalize. A symptom of hypothyroidism is hair loss, so it is very important to get the status of your adrenal gland and thyroid checked.
Shawna Barker BSc., RHN is a nutritionist, college instructor, and raw food educator.