(BlackDoctor.org) — The relationship we all have with our own hair is the ultimate in love/hate for most of us, and although you may be blaming those bad hair days on harsh winter weather, humidity, or styling products gone wrong, have you considered that it may be your health that’s really the problem?
You can’t have healthy hair if you don’t have a healthy body, so if you’re dealing with hair that’s dull, dry, frizzy, flaky, or falling out, it’s worth a closer look to make sure it’s not due to something bigger than just using the wrong shampoo. From genetics to your current nutritional state, learning to read your hair can tell you a lot about your overall health.
Hair follicles must receive a steady flow of nutrients in order to remain healthy. The follicles receive their nutrients through the blood supply. If circulation is poor, follicles will become malnourished, the root will suffer and the hair will not grow to its full potential. The increased blood supply helps to nourish and energize the follicles.
Over the next several weeks we will explore many of the causes of hair loss, you may even discover that you have more than one culprit working against you. We will also explore solutions.
Protein deficiency: Common with the caloric deprivation of anyone on fad diets or suffering from an eating disorder—it is not unusual to experience severe hair loss. The malnutrition forces the body to conserve protein (the building block of all the body’s cells, including the hair) by shutting down hair growth. And since more hair may also be shed—without being replaced—the result can be a noticeable thinning over several months.
Protein is needed by every cell in the body, including the cells needed in normal hair growth. Without adequate protein intake, the body cannot efficiently make new hair to replace the hair that has shed. Iron and protein deficiency can be cause for hair loss. See your doctor immediately. Protein deficiency is one of the most common causes of hair loss. Symptoms include splitting and/or falling hair, extreme fatigue, low blood pressure and brittle nails.
Iron deficiency: Usually due to blood loss, poor diet, or an inability to absorb enough iron from the foods you eat. Hair problems that are caused by nutritional deficiencies can be corrected by a proper diet. Principal nutrients that are involved include vitamin A, certain B vitamins, the vitamin biotin, vitamin C, copper, iron, zinc, protein, and water.
Iron’s main job is to carry oxygen in the hemoglobin of red blood cells. Iron deficiency can lead to a condition called anemia and can lead to possible hair loss or increased hair shedding.
When you lose blood, you lose iron. If you don’t have enough iron stored in your body to make up for the iron loss, you’ll develop iron-deficiency anemia.
In women, low iron levels may be due to blood loss from long or heavy menstrual periods or bleeding fibroids in the uterus. Blood loss that occurs during childbirth is another cause for low iron levels in women.
Internal bleeding (bleeding inside the body) also may lead to iron-deficiency anemia. This type of blood loss isn’t always obvious, and it may occur slowly. Some causes of internal bleeding are:
• A bleeding ulcer, colon polyp, or colon cancer
• Regular use of aspirin or other pain medicines, such as anti-inflammatory drugs (for example, ibuprofen and naproxen)
• Urinary tract bleeding
Blood loss from severe injuries, surgery, or frequent blood drawings also can cause iron-deficiency anemia.
Foods For Your Well Being
The best sources of iron are meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and iron-fortified foods (foods that have iron added). If you don’t eat these foods regularly, or if you don’t take an iron supplement, you’re more likely to get iron-deficiency anemia. This is why we must consume foods rich in iron, such as meat, fish or poultry, sardines, shrimps, seafood, spinach, pinto beans, potatoes, iron-fortified breakfast cereals, oatmeal, oysters, peas, almonds, beef liver and soybeans. Vegetarian diets can provide enough iron if the right foods are eaten.
For example, good non-meat sources of iron include spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables, certain types of beans, dried fruits, and iron-fortified breads and cereals.
It is important to understand your body and how it works. This knowledge helps you to recognize subtle changes that could signal a major change in your health, your beauty and your well being.
By Jacqueline Tarrant, BDO Contributing Writer
Jacqueline Tarrant is a beauty expert, consultant, columnist, founder & CEO of Style Infinity Products & The Hair Trauma Center in downtown Chicago. Jacqueline Tarrant has pioneered effective methods to help men & women re-grow hair with her multi-layered approach to hair loss, known as Quadra-Follicle Stimulation. Jacqueline’s expertise on hair care and hair health is expressed monthly in national columns that reach millions through various publications.
With numerous Style & Beauty appearances nationwide on Good Morning America, NBC, CBS, & the Fox Network; Jacqueline’s credits also extend throughout print in such publications as Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, Essence & the Wall Street Journal to name a few.
Her reputation as a renowned Educator, Trainer and Platform Artist has taken her throughout Canada, Europe, Africa, South America and the Caribbean.
Primarily through her anchor salon on the East coast & her latest location Downtown Chicago, The Hair Trauma Center, Jacqueline has the unique advantage of staying in tune with the pulse of today’s cutting edge hair care and beauty trends. Jacqueline shares her hair and beauty tips through print as a monthly columnist for Sophisticate of Black Hair Magazine with a reach of over 1 million monthly readers monthly.