I want to discuss the hidden causes of hair loss. Over the last 30 years of practice, I have had patients come in with various chronic conditions. Among those conditions are fatigue, aches and pains, headaches, brain fog, digestive issues, skin problems, and hair loss.
Hair loss is a common symptom among women who come in. There are several causes, and we’ll go over some significant reasons for hair loss. I’ll also give you some simple solutions. Hair loss can be a good thing because it’s telling you that something is going on that needs attention.
Hair Loss Lets You Know Something Is Not Right
How can hair loss be a good thing? It’s letting you know that something’s wrong inside your body. Much like driving your car, and the engine warning light comes on. We were going to Orlando for a conference a couple of weeks ago, and the oil light in the car came on. Instead of panicking because the light’s coming on, you just need to stop and check and maybe add oil. In the same sense, hair loss is a warning that something is going on inside your body that’s not right. This can be a problem that can lead to other issues.
The most common causes for hair loss that I see are thyroid and other hormone imbalances. So often, when people go to the doctor, they get a general lab test on their thyroid. They may check your TSH, which is only one thyroid value, and tell you your thyroid is fine. However, if you have hair loss, you need your thyroid checked more thoroughly. That includes TSH, free T3, free T4, reverse T3, and your two thyroid antibodies.
Identifying The Causes of Hair Loss
Knowing your TSH, free T3, free T4, reverse T3, TPA and thyroglobulin antibody values can give you a complete picture of what’s going on in with your thyroid. I often have patients coming in whose doctors have said their thyroid is fine. Yet when we do a thorough evaluation, it is not. The thyroid is a prevalent cause of hair loss and can easily be fixed once you get the numbers and then balance them.
Other common causes we’ll run through are hormonal issues and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Hormones that can affect hair loss are estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and adrenal hormones. In addition, being under stress for long periods can be a factor.
Nutritional deficiencies are a widespread cause of hair loss. These include certain B-vitamins, zinc, vitamin D, and iron. Iron deficiency is a very common cause of hair loss. Maybe even more so than thyroid. Ferritin levels are what you want to test for iron deficiency. The problem is that doctors do not usually check unless you specifically ask.
I’ll touch upon a few other causes. Toxins are an issue that can cause hair loss. Among those toxins are heavy metals, mercury, lead, and other environmental toxins. Surprisingly, however, iron can be one of those toxins.
I know I talked to you about iron deficiency as one of the most common causes of hair loss. Well, too much iron can also be a cause of hair loss. So before you decide on your own to start taking iron, you need to have your levels checked.
Other issues contributing to hair loss may have to do with chemical toxicity. However, it can be things that you use externally on your hair, which is a whole other topic.
There are other causes: infections, especially fungal yeast overgrowth; too much yeast in your body; auto-immune issues, including autoimmune thyroid conditions. There’s also an autoimmune condition that affects your hair specifically.
We address hair loss by finding the root cause. Food reactions, especially gluten, can be another cause of hair loss. I developed the FreeDiet®, which is free of the most commonly allergenic foods and those most commonly responsible for inflammation, digestive issues, and other chronic conditions. If you want a copy of the FreeDiet® phase 1 food chart, click here.
Natural Solutions for Hair Loss
When patients come to us, we do a comprehensive health panel, and I check ferritin levels and two or three other different iron factors in the blood. The range of ferritin is from 10 to 300. So if your doctor checks this and you’re at 11, and he determines everything’s fine, or you’re at 29 and everything’s fine…No, it isn’t. Ferritin levels below 50 can cause hair loss, and ferritin below 40 or 30, hair can fall out even more rapidly.
I had a 38-year-old patient last year who came in with many symptoms and her primary symptom was hair loss. She suspected she had a thyroid condition due to fatigue, anxiety, brain fog, and many others. One of the main things that brought her in was hair loss. She’d been to her doctor and several other doctors, traditional and functional medicine doctors, and she was so upset because of the hair loss.
When I did a comprehensive panel including ferritin, her ferritin level was 7. Remember the range is 10 to 300. Her level was seven, and below 40-50, hair starts falling out. This was just an obvious answer as to what was going on. We began iron supplementation. The supplements that we use are highly absorbable and non-irritating iron. Many people don’t like to take iron because it’s constipating and irritating to the stomach, and they just don’t do well with it. The supplement I use is highly absorbable, non-irritating, non-constipating. Click here to take a look.
At that level, it takes many months to build up iron stores. But after some time, her levels started to build back up. Her hair stopped falling out and gradually started growing back and getting thicker. It’s a process that takes time. But once you find the answers and the causes, hair loss can usually be reversed.
I recently had a patient in her early sixties whose ferritin level was over a thousand. Remember that the range is 10-300. Ideally, you want 60-90. Hair loss can occur when ferritin is under 50. She was over a thousand, which is quite toxic. That can cause organ damage in addition to hair loss.
That is why you want to get your levels checked before taking iron on your own. There is a particular protocol used to eliminate the toxins and heavy metals from the system. It takes quite some time, but it can be accomplished. As that takes place, the hair can then start growing back.
Hair loss can be a good thing if it motivates you to get checked and determine what is going on.
It comes down to hormones, including your thyroid and adrenals, nutritional deficiencies, toxins, food sensitivities, infections—especially yeast, autoimmune conditions, and medications. For example, birth control pills can cause hair loss; antidepressants and blood pressure medication can cause hair loss as well.
So it comes down to having this warning sign that something’s going on. Then, get checked specifically to see what the cause is. Once the cause is identified, not only can you reverse hair loss and have it start growing back, but these other symptoms and damage being done to your body can also get cleared up.
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