The normal cycle of hair growth lasts for 2 to 6 years. Each hair grows approximately 1 centimetre per month during this phase. At any one time, about 90% of the hair on your scalp is growing, and 10% is in a resting phase. After 2 to 3 months, the resting hair falls out and new hair starts to grow in its place.
It’s normal to shed some hair each day as part of this cycle. However, some people may experience excessive (more than normal) hair loss. Hair loss of this type can affect men, women and children and can be very distressing.
Nutritional deficiency: nutritional deficiencies can contribute to increased hair shedding by weakening the hair shaft. This leads to increased breakage and slower re-growth.
Principle nutrients that are involved in hair growth include vitamin A, B vitamins, biotin, vitamin C, copper, iron, zinc, protein and water.
Hair problems that are caused by nutritional deficiencies can be identified with a NutrEval Test, and corrected with the help of Smart Nutrition’s nutritional therapists through targeted dietary changes.
Testosterone imbalance: the male sex hormone testosterone is naturally converted in the body to a related sex hormone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This stimulates the growth of facial and body hair, as well as acting on the prostate gland.
Evidence suggests that male pattern baldness results from an oversensitivity of scalp hair follicles to DHT, causing them to shrink when exposed to it. When high levels of DHT are present the hair follicle may shut down altogether and the hair falls out.
High DHT levels may arise from high levels of testosterone, but can be created by dietary imbalances that stimulate DHT formation.
A Testosterone Test measures baseline testosterone levels, and the Complete Male Hormone Test goes into more detail. Smart Nutrition can also analyse your dietary intake to help you to reduce your conversion of testosterone to DHT, minimising its effect on hair follicles.
Female hormone imbalance: hormonal abnormalities can also play a role in female hair loss. Women often experience hair loss after pregnancy, during menopause or as a result of some kind of hormonal condition, for example PCOS.
A Female Hormone Panel is a key diagnostic tool in these cases to help identify the underlying imbalance.
Stress: hair loss can be triggered by a period of emotional or physical stress. Scientists have now identified some chemicals that are produced in the body during periods of stress, which can affect hair growth.
Stress-related hair loss is often reversible once the underlying stress is properly managed.
If stress is a significant factor in your life, it may be influencing your hair loss. An Adrenal Stress Test identifies which stage of stress your body is in and any imbalances in stress chemicals. Once identified, these can then be tackled with Smart Nutrition’s expert advice.
Thyroid dysfunction: the thyroid is an endocrine glad located in the throat. It secretes a hormone called thyroxin which regulates metabolism: disruption in this mechanism can impact a wide range of metabolic activities.
Both an underactive and overactive thyroid can cause hair follicles to remain in the dormant phase for a longer period of time. This leads to stalled hair growth and, eventually, hair loss.
The best way find out if thyroid dysfunction is driving your hair loss is to have a Thyroid Hormone Test. This will identify deficient or excess levels of thyroid hormone and allow targeted therapy.
Low ferritin levels: the most common cause of hair loss in women is low iron stores. Because standard anaemia tests don’t look at the storage form of iron (ferritin), it often goes undetected.
Smart Nutrition offer a specific blood test for ferritin levels. It’s also possible to raise serum ferritin levels very successfully with a combination of iron and supporting nutrients: once serum ferritin reaches a certain trigger level, hair loss should decrease and hair will start to re-grow.
If hair loss is a problem for you, a consultation with Smart Nutrition can investigate the possible cause and help you back to a full head of hair. Please use the link at the bottom of the page to book.