Don’t Lose Your Hair AND Your Mind During Menopause5 years ago | Nutrition
By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder
Hair. You are born with very little, and when you get older, you start to lose it!
Some hair loss occurs daily. And while no one is counting each hair that they lose, routine hair loss should generally not exceed 70-100 hairs. But if you are going through menopause, maybe you are noticing that your hair is thinning and falling out more than it used to.
Up to 60% of women experience hair loss before the age of 60, according to the National Institutes for Health (NIH). And much of the loss may be attributable to hormonal changes that occur during the period leading up to menopause.
The good news is that while you can’t control aging, you can protect your precious locks through diet and avoiding applied stress to the hair, such as regular use of heat styling tools and harsh hair dyes.
Good nutrition is especially important to combat hormonal imbalances and changes we go through as we age. So let’s take a look at a few key nutrients that may help prevent hair loss and keep our hair healthy and strong.
- Vitamin C. You may have heard that this immune-boosting vitamin is good for your skin, because it promotes collagen synthesis. Well, collagen is also great for hair health and growth. According to the NIH, an inadequate intake of vitamin C can negatively influence the health of the hair shaft. This vitamin also helps increase absorption of non-heme iron (iron that originates from plant-based foods). Iron is a mineral which is also essential for hair growth. Foods rich in vitamin C include kale, bell peppers, oranges, kiwi, citrus fruits and more.
- Iron. This trace mineral is an essential component of many proteins and enzymes. It is vital in the formation of red blood cells and lean muscle. So it makes sense why iron is critical for your hair. “Iron as hemoglobin [red protein, transports oxygen in the blood] component supplies energy to matrix cells being subject to division and differentiation which results in hair production,” according to the NIH. Iron deficiency has also been associated with alopecia, an autoimmune skin disease that causes hair loss. You can find iron in red meat, poultry, seafood and dark, leafy greens.
- Vitamin D. This vitamin is critical to your overall health. “Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency can be rather nonspecific and include fatigue, altered mood and depression, insomnia, nonradicular back pain, arthralgias (particularly of the wrists, ankles, shoulders, and shins), proximal muscle weakness, headache, and hair loss,” the NIH reports. Several reports also say vitamin D may help thicken the hair. To check out a variety of food sources of vitamin D, click here.
- Zinc. A deficiency in this mineral is common in the aging population, and one of the signs of a zinc deficiency is hair loss. The NIH says, “[z]inc takes part in carbohydrates, proteins and fats metabolism and at the same time influences hair follicles and hair growth. It is an enzyme activator stimulating protein transformation, which have sulfide bonds, necessary for hair building.” Zinc rich foods include oysters, beef, crab meat, dark-meat chicken and turkey, pork, yogurt, milk, cashews, chickpeas, almonds, peanuts and cheese.
I cannot overemphasize the importance of ensuring that you get adequate nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals in your diet. And even if you eat a healthy diet, as we age, our bodies may have difficulty absorbing these nutrients from the foods we eat. So the only way to determine whether you are getting enough of these valuable nutrients is to do a nutrient test. For more information on nutritional testing, click here.
And if you are bald, this does not give you a pass. You still need adequate intake of vitamins and minerals for healthy skin, bones and so much more!
Enjoy your healthy life!
The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.