Almost 60% of all women experience hair loss when they approach age 60 and this could lead to low self-esteem, increased stress levels, and increased psychological distress.
Only about 50% of all women maintain a full hair through their life span. Hair loss in women total presents itself differently from men; women lose the volume of their hair due to thinning while men lose it due bald patches or receding hairline.
This article would help to investigate the possible the impacts of nutrition and lifestyle on acute and chronic hair loss in women.
So many factors put together or individually could actually lead to hair loss, and this most times makes it a very challenging situation. Age, weight loss, genetics, diet, stress, medications, illness, ethnicity, hair styles, and the use of hair styling tools and cosmetics all contribute to hair growth and equally loss.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, typical daily hair loss is between 50 to 100 strands. Any amount higher than this is clinically termed telogen effluvium. Sometimes, excessive hair shedding can be last for a short while (less than four months) following a state of stress or trauma, and might increase in its span, but might return to the normal hair growth cycle. Anagen effluvium is a totally different phenomenon which occurs when hair stops growing.
Hair loss is totally different than hair thinning when you consider their biological processes. Hair loss in women start initially from the middle part with an overall thinning of hair follicles. This phenomenon makes it hard to hide the loss.
Other factors also cumulatively affect the process of hair loss and they include weather conditions, humidity, ultraviolet rays and wind. These factors put together, can decrease hair density, growth, and texture. “White and Asian women are more susceptible to damage from weathering, while African Americans are more prone to damage from styling methods, chemical relaxers, and other products”
WHAT ARE THE STAGES OF HAIR GROWTH?
There are 3 stages of hair growth and each strand of hair has a particular timeline it follows. The stages are:
The anagen, or growth, cycle: lasts 2-8 years
-The catagen, or transition/regression, cycle: lasts 4-6 weeks and hair stops growing at this phase
-The telogen, or rest, cycle: hair falls out in this stage and it lasts 2-3 months
On average, 80% to 90% of hair is in the anagen phase at any given time, with 1% to 2% in the catagen phase, and the remaining 10% to 20% in the telogen phase.
The growth can be influenced by both chronologic aging (related to genetics and other fixed variables) and biologic aging, which is affected by diet quality and dietary patterns.
The type of hair loss experienced by any woman can be ascertained by cross-examining the dietary history, medical history, and performing a physical examination on the hair and scalp. To accomplish this, a team comprising a dietitian, primary care physician, and hair care specialist would be involved
CAN I INCREASE THE INTIAL STAGE (ANAGEN)?
How long the anagen stage lasts totally depends on how long your hair is and the ability for you’re the cells at the base of your follicle to multiply and become hair cells.
Research is still ongoing on ways to “switch on” the anagen stage, but until then, there are ways which can help promote healthy hair growth during the anagen stage.
Your hair is made of keratin and dead skin cells. Although there might not be any direct ways to help hair grow rapidly, your dietary choice can help it grow in a healthy way.
These ways would help to make your hair healthy and probably last longer:
1. DIET: an inadequate intake of nutrients affects hair loss. Your choices pertaining to diet can totally determine the strength, quality and health of your hair.
Paying attention to your diet would go a long way to ensuring healthy hair growth.
Vitamins like vitamin B5 and biotin, vitamin D and C, iron, zinc, omega 3 and 6 are important to maintain a healthy hair.
An adequate diet with a variety of proteins, vitamins, and minerals supports the metabolic functions necessary to support hair growth and prevents every possible deficiencies relate with loss or thinning
2. ESSENTIAL OILS: applying essential oils to the scalp could benefit hair growth. Studies show that pumpkin seed increases hair count for men with hair loss by 40 percent. Oils like jojoba oil, peppermint oil and rosemary oil also have their benefits.
3. TOPICAL OINTMENTS: this could be beneficial especially for people with alopecia. A list of ointments that could influence hair growth/loss includes:
– topical melatonin reduces hair loss and increases hair density
– topical minoxidil 5% slows hair loss
– ketoconazole shampoo
4. TRY KETATIN SUPPLEMENTS: there aren’t much studies to support this but One study looked at a product that had 500 milligrams of keratin and other vitamins and minerals. The group that took the supplement showed:
• 12.5 percent reduction in hair loss
• 5.9 percent improved in hair strength
• improved hair brightness and luster
5. USE PROTEINS: Protein helps with hair growth and could prtect the hair from environmental and chemical damage. Taking the right amounts of protein is paramount for any bodily growth process. Ensure to incorporate both from plant and animal sources.
6. CAFFEINATE YOUR HAIR: Studies are still new on the effects of caffeine on hair growth, but a cell studyTrusted Source found that caffeine may have growth-promoting effects on hair. Trying out products with caffeine might just help.
ARE THERE CONDITIONS RELATED TO HAIR LOSS?
oh surely, there are some conditions that supports rapid hair loss especially in women
Hair loss, especially alopecia, is linked to several disease states and endocrine disorders. This section examines hair loss’ relationship with metabolic syndrome, hypothyroidism, type 2 diabetes, and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
Either directly or indirectly, nutrition plays an important role in hair loss or growth. Some nutrients supports the very process involved in hair growth.Common nutrient deficiencies that affect hair growth include iron and vitamins A, B, and D.1 Zinc, selenium, and biotin also are associated with hair loss in patients with low serum values of these minerals.
The role iron plays in hair loss is totally complex and not fully understood, but one theory is that it regulates many of the genes present in hair follicles.
Iron can either be heme or non heme and could be found in a variety of foods ranging from vegetables, to beef and fortified foods. For better absorption by the body, ensure to take with vitamin c sources.
Vitamin A is functions entails stimulating the growth of hair follicle stem cells. Commonly consumed sources of vitamin A include fortified cereals with skim milk, eggs, and dark green, orange, or yellow produce rich in beta-carotene.
Vitamin D is the primary nutrient involved in the growth phase of the hair follicle and affects the cells that form the outer root sheath.11 Rodent studies have indicated a potential link between rickets—a form of vitamin D deficiency—and hair loss, and these results were replicated in a study conducted involving women with either telogen effluvium or FPHL. Topical application of a solution containing vitamin D (calcipotriol) for three months resulted in full hair regrowth and no loss at six months in a 7-year-old boy with alopecia areata.
Zinc deficiency has been linked to telogen effluvium and changes in hair structure, but a reversal is possible with adequate dietary consumption. Animal proteins, particularly oysters, red meat, and poultry, as well as a few plant foods such as fortified cereal and baked beans, are good to excellent sources of dietary
In a study published in Annals of Dermatology, serum zinc was compared in four different hair loss patient groups: alopecia areata (44 men, 50 women); male pattern hair loss (84 men, 0 women); FPHL (0 men, 77 women); and telogen effluvium (11 men, 36 women). All four groups were compared with a control group of 32 healthy individuals not suffering from hair loss (14 men, 18 women). Mean serum zinc concentrations across all four hair loss groups was 84.33 ± 22.88 mcg/dL, while the control group exhibited a significantly higher zinc value of 97.94 ± 21.05 mcg/dL. When directly compared, the alopecia areata and telogen effluvium groups had the lowest zinc concentrations.
Selenium helps in the formation of hair follicles and protection against damage; deficiency is not very common in healthy adults living in developed countries. More research is needed.
An absence of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the diet or an inadequate intake of them is associated with hair loss both from the scalp and eyebrows and lightening of hair color. Consumption of dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids has been linked to hair growth due to proliferation of hair follicle cells and a mechanism similar to that of the FDA-approved drug finasteride, which is used to treat alopecia.
Role of the RD
The role of a dietitian is to help access nutrient deficiencies and combat them with dietary means. Since treatment approach to hair loss is a multidisciplinary way, dietitians should ensure that they manage every nutrient deficiencies noticed.
A Brazilian study found that women had an equivalent fear of experiencing a heart attack and baldness, and Glamour magazine reports that more than 50% of women feel that a bad hair day can make them feel unattractive. For better results, women with possibilities of having hair loss should be encouraged by health professionals on adequate measures to take to curb the possible effects.