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 refined carbohydrates and/or oxidized oils, 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) Scalp Stimulating Oils: A few drops of Rosemary essential oil mixed in a bit of extra virgin olive oil massaged into the scalp may help stimulate hair growth. Other essential oils that may also help include peppermint and lavender.
5) Silica: Although it won't stimulate new growth it can make the hair that is growing to be thicker. Look for whole foods sources, and supplement may be helpful for some people.
6) Hypothyroid: A possible cause of a low functioning thyroid are low functional adrenals. By supporting the adrenal glands, thyroid function may end up normalizing. A symptom of hypothyroidism is hair loss, so it is very important to get the status of your adrenal gland and thyroid checked. You may want to ask for a full panel of thyroid markers be tested, not just TSH.
Shawna Barker BSc., RHN is a nutritionist specializing in vegan diets.