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A Holistic Guide to Understanding and Combatting Hair Loss with Multivitamins

A Holistic Guide to Understanding and Combatting Hair Loss with Multivitamins

Hair loss can be a physically and emotionally distressing process for many people at all walks of life. It can be permanent or temporary, at birth or through age, occur suddenly or overtime, and there are various causes and treatment options. Studies show that most people lose about 50 - 100 hair a day, which is not a significant or alarming number considering the average adult has approximately 100 000 - 150 000 hair on their head. Furthermore, new hair often replaces the lost ones so there is not an overall loss. When this does not happen, however, we can suspect a hair loss problem. It is sometimes difficult to determine whether you are experiencing hair loss or just normal shedding, and when and if to consult a doctor. We have touched upon all these concerns in this blog, so continue reading to learn more!

Symptoms of Hair Loss

The most common and obvious symptom of hair loss is losing more hair than normal and usual, however, there are many others that can help you reach the same conclusion. These include:

  • A widening hair parting.
  • Bald patches on the scalp
  • A receding hairline
  • Pair or itchiness on the scalp.
  • Sink or shower drains clogged with hair.
  • More than usual hair collected on hairbrush.

Causes of Hair Loss

There are various causes of hair loss leading to different types of conditions. Let us go through some examples.

  1. Genetics

Male and female pattern baldness are genetic conditions affecting men and women, and are the most prevalent reason for hair loss, with up to 50% of all people affected, and often entails a gradual thinning around the head. Women with these genetic conditions experience noticeable hair loss in their 40s or even later, while men can start in their teens or early 20s. This condition is recognized by a receding hairline and thinning of hair from the crown and frontal scalp (men) or thinning around the part and generally all over the scalp (women).

  1. Autoimmune disorders 

Autoimmune disorders are conditions where the body’s immune system attacks its own cells because it views them as foreign. When the hair follicle cells are attacked, it can lead to big or small bald patches around the scalp. This often starts suddenly and can occur in adults and children. In some situations, this condition can progress to complete hair loss, however, the hair does eventually return in approximately 90% of people with the condition. Furthermore, people with autoimmune disorders can experience excess shedding of hair in other parts of the body like arms and legs, as well as eyebrows and eyelashes.

  1. Stress and Depression

Sudden hair loss can occur from experiencing a period of stress and depression due to an emotional or physical shock and/or a traumatic event like the death of a loved one, or a diagnosis of a serious illness. It can also occur due to sudden hormonal changes during pregnancy, childbirth, or menopause. Other factors and experiences that can potentially lead to hair loss include certain endocrine disorders, malnutrition, and starting or stopping taking hormonal birth control. Furthermore, there are several medications that can trigger this including oral retinoid, anticoagulants, thyroid medication, anticonvulsants, and beta-blockers. This type of hair loss can be resolved as soon as the underlying cause is dealt with.

  1. Hair Tension

Hair loss also often occurs due to excess tension and pressure on the scalp and hair strands. This happens by keeping hair in tight styles for a long time such as braids, buns, and high ponytails.

  1. Dandruff

Dandruff is a condition that occurs due to the buildup of dry, flaky skin on the scalp. It does not directly cause hair loss, however, people with dandruff often experience itching which causes them to scratch their head and injure the hair follicles. This results in hair loss and an increase in overall shedding for people already with male and female pattern baldness.

  1. Radiation & Chemotherapy

A very swift loss of hair usually occurs due to chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer; however, the hair usually grows back after the end of the treatment causing it. 

There are other causes that can result in excess hair loss including cosmetic procedures such as bleaching or dyeing hair, and medical conditions like thyroid disease, eating disorders, and anemia. Figuring out the cause of your hair loss is the first step in creating a plan to treat and prevent further loss, and consulting a physician is highly recommended in helping with that.

How can I Treat Hair Loss?

Most types of hair loss either cannot or do not require treatment as they are temporary types of shedding or are a normal and expected part of aging. Furthermore, hair shedding that is caused by an underlying health condition will automatically stop once it is addressed and resolved. However, if your hair loss is creating emotional and/or physical distress, there are some treatment options.

  1. Wigs come in natural and synthetic forms and are ways to cover up hair loss.
  2. Over the counter or prescription medications that slow hair loss, and which contain the finasteride or minoxidil ingredients in gel, foam, or cream forms.
  3. Medical procedures like hair transplant surgery. Here, bald parts of the scalp are covered with parts of the skin that do have hair. This procedure might need to occur multiple times as some types of hair loss are progressive.

These treatment options can be expensive, do not always work for everyone, and often need to be reperformed, which is why people often look towards prevention instead.

The Role of Multivitamins

Vitamins play various roles in maintaining healthy hair and addressing hair loss. Here is how some key vitamins contribute:

Vitamins are essential for maintaining healthy hair and addressing hair loss. Vitamin D is crucial for hair follicle cycling and keratinocyte differentiation. Excessive intake of vitamin A can lead to hair thinning and loss. Vitamin E reduces oxidative stress and protects cells, while Vitamin C aids in collagen synthesis and iron absorption. B-vitamins like Biotin, B12, and Folate play vital roles in cellular metabolism and energy production. Iron deficiency is a common cause of hair loss, especially in women. Selenium and zinc deficiencies are linked to hair loss, but their role is less well-established. Overall, a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals can help maintain health.

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Preventative Measures

Because about 50% of hair loss is hereditary and due to age (male pattern baldness and female pattern baldness) it is not preventable. However, there are various precautions that can be taken to address the types that are preventable, including:

  • Be gentle when styling and combing your hair. Avoid excessive heat, tension, and tugging.
  • Aim for an iron and protein rich diet with foods like poultry, dark green vegetables, oats, seafood, etc.
  • Consult your physician or pharmacist about any medications that might be causing hair loss.
  • Keep your hair covered against sources of UV light and sunlight.
  • Quit smoking: In men, a correlation between baldness and smoking has been shown in several studies.
  • If your hair loss is due to undergoing chemotherapy, talk to your doctor about using a cooling cap which reduces risk of losing hair.

When to See a Doctor?

Visiting a doctor about hair loss is recommended if you are feeling physically and/or emotionally distressed from any changes and their impacts. Additionally, noticing excess shedding when brushing or washing hair as well as sudden or patchy hair loss is a good reason for seeing a doctor, as this can often indicate an underlying health condition in need of treatment. In general, it is recommended to consult a doctor when noticing unusual hair loss in any pattern and part of the head to avoid permanent and significant baldness.   

To conclude, hair loss is a distressing but normal part of life that experienced by a vast majority. There are many different causes of hair loss which are influenced by the various types. Treatment and prevention options exist, and consulting with a physician at the earliest point is recommended to prevent significant and permanent balding.




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