Functional Remedies for Hair Loss
We believe health isn’t just the absence of disease, but looking and feeling your best. With Father’s Day this week, we’re looking into one of the most common complaints by men as they age – hair loss. Here are 7 functional remedies for hair loss. If you haven’t seen our previous article, check it out for the common causes of reversible hair loss.
As toxins have been linked to hair loss, evidence-based detoxification can remove the triggers for hair loss and begin letting hair regeneration occur. The liver doesn’t just clear out toxic compounds, it also clears excess hormones – such as excess DHT known to cause a large percentage of male hair loss cases.
- Chelation therapy works by introducing a chelator to the body, usually through an IV. Chelators (like DMSA and EDTA) are compounds that act as a sponge to soak up heavy metals before safely excreting them in your urine.1 Proper chelation should be low and slow to reduce the common side effects of detoxification like fatigue, brain fog, mood disruption, sleeping issues and more. Just be sure to include nutrient replenishment afterwards, as chelation can strip some of your essential minerals along with it.
- Infrared sauna therapy raises your internal temperature to induce a sweat response. Sweating is an ancient therapy that is now proven by science to help the body rid itself of heavy metals including lead, mercury, arsenic and cadmium.2
- Glutathione IV therapy supplies high but safe doses of this master antioxidant to help detoxify and eliminate toxins from the liver, lungs, intestines, and kidneys. It is also able to pull out fat-soluble toxins and heavy metals that may be sitting in hard-to-detox places like our fat.3
Detoxification should be a holistic approach that includes limiting ongoing toxic exposure while supporting the body’s natural detoxification pathways. Whatever the therapy, once the toxic load is alleviated, liver function can be improved and excess hormones or toxins can stop getting in the way of healthy hair growth.
You can’t build anything without the nutrients to do so, whether it’s muscles, long nails or thick hair. A good start is to test your nutrient status to assess any key gaps that might be causing the hair loss. Nutrients aren’t just linked to hair loss, but nutritional therapy has been proven to exert therapeutic effects.4,5
- Correcting nutrient gaps in zinc, iron, niacin, selenium, fatty acids and protein have been shown to positively effect hair regrowth. For example, patients with low serum zinc and hair loss who were given 50 mg/day of zinc supplementation for twelve weeks reported a positive effect.6 While these studies tend to single out individual nutrients, fixing nutrition as a whole could have huge impacts!
- Nutrient therapy uses the power of nutrition to biohack the body’s natural processes. Some forms of hair loss, namely alopecia areata (AA), can be a result of the immune system attacking the hair follicle. Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids have not only been associated with immune-balancing effects, they have also been linked to AA.4,5
Nutritional IVs are an amazing way of providing quick and personalized doses of essential nutrients to replenish stores and kickstart hair regrowth. IVs bypass the gut and therefore are often able to raise internal levels (like serum, blood, tissue) more effectively than oral alternatives.7
Sometimes our hair is hurting because our body is too busy fighting pathogenic or opportunistic microorganisms to thrive. Alopecia areata (AA) was linked to gut dysbiosis, skin fungi and even certain viral infections.8
- A microbiome reset starts with testing. The Gastrointestinal Microbial Assay Plus (GI-MAP) is a clinical tool that measures gastrointestinal microbiota DNA from a single stool sample. In other words, it tells us if there are types (and quantities) of microorganisms in your gut that may be causing widespread inflammation, immune imbalance and hair loss. If there are high levels of pathogenic microorganisms, a microbiome reset may be recommended. In a reset, you are given a cycle of antibiotics to kill off the microorganisms, followed by a comprehensive cycle of probiotics. These healthy microorganisms are then able to colonize your gut and keep pathogenic species under control long-term.
- Targeted supplement therapy is an alternative option that focuses on harnessing the power of nutraceuticals to combat pathogens. Potent anti-fungal options include caprylic acid, oregano oil, garlic and grapefruit seed extract9 while probiotics can help remedy gut dysbiosis. Probiotic strains L. reuteri and L. acidophilus have been studied for intestinal immunomodulation, which may be helpful for AA in particular. Targeted supplement therapy may help slowly tip the balance between good vs bad microorganisms to rebalance the body and support hair regrowth.11
Hair loss is extremely common, not just later in life, but in our 40’s, 30’s, and even 20’s. Thankfully, many types of hair loss are reversible. We hope that our list of therapy options gives you the knowledge that they are avenues to explore and the hope that hair loss doesn’t have to be a fact of life.
Contact us to talk to our team about solutions that might work for your body and your goals.
- Sears ME. Chelation: harnessing and enhancing heavy metal detoxification–a review. ScientificWorldJournal. 2013;2013:219840. Published 2013 Apr 18. doi:10.1155/2013/219840
- Sears ME, Kerr KJ, Bray RI. Arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury in sweat: a systematic review. J Environ Public Health. 2012;2012:184745. doi:10.1155/2012/184745
- Pizzorno J. Glutathione!. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2014;13(1):8-12.
- Goldberg, L. J., & Lenzy, Y. (2010). Nutrition and hair. Clinics in dermatology, 28(4), 412–419. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clindermatol.2010.03.038
- Guo EL, Katta R. Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use. Dermatol Pract Concept. 2017;7(1):1-10. Published 2017 Jan 31. doi:10.5826/dpc.0701a01
- Park, H., Kim, C. W., Kim, S. S., & Park, C. W. (2009). The therapeutic effect and the changed serum zinc level after zinc supplementation in alopecia areata patients who had a low serum zinc level. Annals of dermatology, 21(2), 142–146. https://doi.org/10.5021/ad.2009.21.2.142
- Padayatty, S. J., Sun, H., Wang, Y., Riordan, H. D., Hewitt, S. M., Katz, A., Wesley, R. A., & Levine, M. (2004). Vitamin C pharmacokinetics: implications for oral and intravenous use. Annals of internal medicine, 140(7), 533–537. https://doi.org/10.7326/0003-4819-140-7-200404060-00010
- Barquero-Orias, O. Muñoz Moreno-Arrones, S. Vañó-Galván. (2012). Alopecia and the Microbiome: A Future Therapeutic Target? Actas Dermo-Sifiliográficas (English Edition), 112(6), 495-502.
- Lisa Richards, CNC, reviewed by Dr Eric Wood, ND. The Candida Diet. Natural Antifungals: The Strongest Candida Killers. (2022). Available at: https://www.thecandidadiet.com/guide-to-antifungals/
- Hemarajata P, Versalovic J. Effects of probiotics on gut microbiota: mechanisms of intestinal immunomodulation and neuromodulation. Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2013;6(1):39-51. doi:10.1177/1756283X1245929.