Hair Loss – The Preventable Causes !!!
“ Akshay walked into my clinic accompanied by his parents. His first impression spoke much more than what he would. He was a Punjabi, 5foot 8inches, 24yr old gentleman, placed on the higher side of the weighing scale. As he made way to sit, his body language had some prominent markers that couldn’t be missed. He was constantly fidgeting with his hands, had big dark circles under his sunken eyes, frowning eyebrows and a receding hairline.
As he sat, his first statement was the most expected, “ I am not mad, I am suffering from hair-loss, I don’t think you can help me?”
A procedure that I have followed with more than 300patients, I had to explain him that as a mind-body healer, my vocation’s primary role as a psychotic-healer was over-advertised. The age of tranquilizer injecting, dependency creating, asylum keeping evil psychiatrist was over more than 15yrs ago. The new breed of us, were specialist in dealing with soft-core neuropsychiatric cases like stress, anxiety, depression, thought disorder, emotional disturbances and sexual problems.
He still failed to understand the role of mind-body healing process in helping him battle a rapidly falling hair stock.
I further proceeded to explain him, how his parents had earlier visited me, and narrated about some concerning habits which he had developed over the past 7months. They had noticed how stressed he would remain throughout the day. He would wake up every morning to immediately count the number of hair strands on his pillow. A similar hair count would be followed over the soap while bathing, on the comb while combing and even while adjusting his hair with his hand. This had become a compulsive behavior which could be triggered at any place at any time.
The second disparity was to see his newly developed fixation of spending huge amounts of time and money on hair-products. If expected results weren’t found within days he would discard the product for a new one.
The third major problem cropped with his visible receding hair-line making him asocial. He would spend hours within his own trying to find natural and non-surgical cures for the same. The polluted stream of low self-esteem had seeped into his rock solid personality. A fear of being socially rejected was growing into a monstrous dark cloud. He found himself comparing his hair with that of known and unknown people at work, in the mall and even on the street. An occasional comment on his hair status would throw him into fits of irritation and uncontrolled anger lasting hours to sometimes days.
It was obvious what I was telling Akshay wasn’t rocket science. He already knew of the same, but found himself helpless to prevent these changes in his personality. He had always been proud of his dense hair, and watching it slowly fade away made him feel helpless, hopeless and worthless.
What I did succeed in showing Akshay was how he had been overlooking the mind-body trap he had landed into. His constant, repetitive thoughts over the same issue had made him a powerful generator of stress. It was this stress which in cyclic manner has increasing his rate of hair fall day after day.”
Hair Fall or alopecia as it medically called happens due to many reasons. The non-preventable reasons compose a long list, which ranges from hereditary to diseases like cancer. There is nothing that can be done about these causes, and only short-term cure can be provided thru newly developed surgical procedures.
The list of preventable causes is equally high and generally constitutes the main reasons for increased and constant hair fall. The lack of vision to tackle these causes starts from the lack of knowledge about the same. Some of these are as simple as minor lifestyle and nutritional modifications.
Four major preventable causes of hair loss are :-
2. Iron Deficiency
Modern diets can be blamed for a number of nutritional deficiencies that may contribute to hair loss.
- Refining of whole grains reduces the B vitamin content.
- Overcooking of vegetables destroys B vitamins.
- Most people have a lack of raw leafy greens in the diet.
- The vitamins that have been ingested are directed to aid in the digestion of excess refined carbohydrates such as sugar and white flour that are deficient in B vitamins.
- Stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol rob the body of vital nutrients.
- High levels of cholesterol are linked with the production of DHT which is a major contributor to male pattern type baldness.
- Excessive salt intake may influence hair loss due to its tendency to accumulate in tissue.
- Low fiber intake inhibits the digestion process thus reducing the body's ability to pass nutrients into the blood stream.
An adequate balanced diet should have the right mixture of the following nutrients:
Carbohydrates – 55-60%
The most important vitamins and mineral required in diet include:
Vitamin A – 5000 IU
Vitamin C – 60mg
Vitamin E – up to 400 IU
Biotin – 150-300mcg
Niacin – 15mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) – 5-7mg
Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine)- 1.6mg
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)- 2mcg
Calcium – 1200
Copper – 1.5-3mg
Iodine – 150mcg
Iron – 15mg
Magnesium – 280m
Manganese – 3-9mg
Zinc – 12mg
You can easily prepare a table of your nutrition level by the following steps:
1. Take a piece of Paper
2. Write down your average daily diet
3. Use Google or consult a nutritionist to get the exact amount of each of the above in your diet
4. Add those elements missing from your diet.
It’s a small exercise that will hardly take you an hour, and can save your hair for ages.
B. IRON DEFICIENCY
Iron is the mineral responsible for healthy blood circulation. It’s the main constituent of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a iron-protein mixture that helps in carrying oxygen to various parts of the body. A decreased hemoglobin means lesser blood supply and major manifestations like skin problems, hair fall, decreased stamina, fainting attacks, etc.
Iron also is one of the major deficits in traditional Indian cooking. The current mixture of fast food, colas and fried foods, has further decreased the iron levels among the Indian population. As per recent studies, the hemoglobin levels of majority of adolescents and adults range between low and borderline to normal. This also goes undetected for ages as consulting a doctor or getting a blood test has certain taboo’s attached to it.
The simplicity of a small blood test, can confirm your hemoglobin levels and save you from emotional, psychological and financial losses due to hair fall.
Modern life-styles and desires have created high physical requirements from our bodies. The current culture of hitting the gym to create an Adonis like body has triggered a rat-race among anti-social elements to cash upon the desires and needs of people.
I have come across so many cases of illiterate gym-coaches, who with or without a degree in physical education blindly procure and sell muscle-building anabolic steroids for making quick money. Dangerous health powders, without label, adequate ISO certification or even FDA approval are sold at affordable prices to body-building enthusiasts.
It’s not long before the side-effect of such supplements are seen all over the body. Damaged liver, kidney, hair, skin, heart, sexual problems and in extreme cases even mental status is very prominently caused by such dubious supplements.
Prevention is the best cure in such cases. Always make sure your gym trainer has an adequate degree. Also make sure that you Google and find all the pro’s & con’s of any product he is offering you. Strictly avoid buying any power, tablet or capsule which doesn’t come with a proper label, expiry date, FDA certification and is not from a reputed company.
Medically many drugs like anti-epileptic, anti-hypertensive, anti-thyroid, drugs for arthritis and heart problems can all cause hair-loss if taken without the advice and prescription of a doctor.
Stress is easily defined as great amount of mental tension. When its positive it can catapult you to create higher heights for yourself. When negative, it destroys the mind-body balance leading to psycho-somatic problems.
Stress is also one of the most neglected aspects of human health. The belief that “this phase will pass on” and excessive “counseling” from close quarters, forces one to push it towards the back of list of priorities in life.
Stress is a slow poison that requires the brain to work overtime to fight it. In simple terms this excess brain’s work schedule forces:
- The body to direct many of its important nutrients and chemicals towards the brain.
- The brain to release many negative chemicals into the body.
These mind-body interactions are responsible for physical changes like hypertension, sleep disturbances, headaches, appetite disturbances, mood swings, and decreased immunity to common illness.
The common response to such situation is, increased blood circulation towards the brain which decreases nutrient and blood availability to the hair.
The vicious and dangerous nature of stress is expressed in the form of a stress cycle. It’s a process thru which mind and body coordination are utilized as a potent and powerful generator of stress. In case of our friend Akshay it worked as following-
Stress due to hair fall –> seeing hair on comb/pillow/soap –> increased irritation –> no action taken to fight stress –> increased sense of helplessness, worthlessness –> increase in Stress-levels due to hair fall.
Since 95% people are tabooed to get professional help for stress, it keeps ruminating until the final result of baldness is achieved.
This tornado leaves devastations among self-image, confidence level and social appeal which are irreversible to correct.