• 6 Tools I Used to Stop My Hair Loss From Hashimotos

    Hair loss is no joke.

    I suffered from hair loss for years after I was diagnosed with Hashimotos and it was quite scary because not one doctor was able to help me solve the mystery as to why it was happening. They just said, “It’s part of your hypothyroidism; it comes with the territory.” It wasn’t until the past few years that I started to understand the many mechanisms that nourish our hair and encourage hair growth and health. Healing hair loss is multi-faceted as with most healing, and with Hypothyroidism and Hashimotos there are many underlying root causes that can cause this problem. Often times the root cause is different in everybody but it’s worth probing in all areas to discover what your root cause is.

    Possible Root Causes 

    {Often times there is more than one of these happening simultaneously}

    • Sluggish thyroid which includes tsh/t3/t4/rt3 numbers being off
    • Hashimotos Disease which includes elevated Thyroid Peroxidase (TPO) antibodies and Antithyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAB)
    • Low Ferritin levels
    • Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies (like too much vitamin A or too little vitamin D or iron)
    • Alopecia
    • Not eating enough protein or good, clean fat
    • Female hormone imbalances (pregnancy/menopause, etc.)
    • High levels of chronic stress
    • Blood sugar imbalances and surges
    • Improper hair care or toxic hair care
    • Medications (can be a side effect)

    One Step at a Time

    As you can see this list seems quite overwhelming. Actually, a healing journey in general can be very overwhelming and that is why it’s a must to take it one step at a time. One item at a time. Through my own research and trial and error as well as the support of my functional doctor doing tests I requested, I was able to narrow down the root causes of my hair loss. For me, my thyroid numbers needed to be exact for my body. What that means is that because we are all individuals we all have different “normal” levels. For me it happens to be more t3 than average and there are various reasons for that. It would be a whole new blog post to get into that topic. I have written a little more in depth below. Also, I had numerous vitamin and mineral deficiencies that I needed addressed. My doctor and I were able to pinpoint the exact deficiencies through repeating a test called a NutrEval. We repeated it over the course of years for comparison but upon the first test we acted on addressing some of the deficiencies. The other factors for me in remitting my hair loss I will talk about below.

    Some of these I would have never thought were inter-related but they are. God designed our bodies with all systems interconnected and working synergistically with each other. If one system is not in balance it can throw all the others off. That being said, if I am not careful to keep in balance by being mindful of the way I treat my body, my hair loss could come back at any time.

    6 Tools That Had a Profound Impact on Stopping My Hair Loss

    These were all addressed simultaneously as well as the vitamin & mineral deficiencies I mentioned above.

     

    Thyroid Numbers & Compounded Thyroid Medication

    Compounded Medication

    If you have Hypothyroidism and Hashimotos it is imperative to get your TSH, T3, T4, Reverse T3, and Antibodies stabilized. Hair loss is directly affected by these hormones. When I first got diagnosed at 28 years old with hypothyroidism I started getting gray hair! That’s because optimal thyroid hormone levels equal optimal hair color as well as hair growth. Of course, there are many factors that can change hair color but this is one of them. Thyroid hormone also has a direct affect on the cycling of hair called anagen, catagen, and telogen.

    Not only do stabilizing your thyroid hormones help with hair loss but the type of thyroid medication you take matters. I personally have had the best results taking compounded thyroid medication. My compounding pharmacy creates a specific dose of time release t3 and t4 and microcrystalline cellulose. That’s all of the ingredients that are in my medication. My pharmacy knows my specific sensitivities and makes up a special batch of my personal medication when I need it. I used to take Synthroid which not only has fillers but has dairy, GMO sugar and different colored food dyes in different dosages. When I took Synthroid it triggered inflammation in my body because I don’t tolerate dairy or synthetic chemicals and certainly not anything with GMO’s in it. Changing my medication to a compounded form as well as getting my thyroid numbers in my optimal range were critical pieces to remitting my hair loss.

     

    Limiting Unrefined Sugar/ Balancing Blood Sugar

    Sugar in a bowl

    Refined sugar must be deleted from your diet. I know you have heard it time and time again that sugar is bad for you. What is important is that you actually believe that, take it to heart and realize that the power sugar has on your body to degrade your health is mighty. Yes, it applies to you. I used to think it didn’t. Years and years ago at my first functional doctors appointment in another state, when I had no idea about health or our how our bodies worked. I was told that I needed to reduce my sugar intake. The doctor didn’t tell me why and I am a “why” person so had I known why it would have been very motivated to decrease unrefined sugar and eliminate refined sugar. The biggest why for me, that was found in my research once I became my own advocate, is that all sugar – even unrefined depletes your body of vital micronutrients like vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, chromium and vitamin c. That’s a really big deal friends! When it comes to unrefined sugar, it can do the same depleting as well as spike insulin levels just like refined sugar can. However, there are some lower glycemic sugars and sweeteners like coconut sugar, coconut nectar and dates that wont cause insulin spikes. I tend to stick with those. High insulin can hinder conversion of the Thyroid hormone T4 to the active form T3 and instead convert it to Reverse T3. When that happens you will feel awful and your hair loss will increase.

    Let me throw in something else – starchy carbohydrates like white flours, potatoes, tapioca starch, cassava flour, etc. are sugars when they’re broken down in our bodily processes! Whole food carbs like sweet potatoes should be eaten but in moderation and to feel good everyone differs on how many carbohydrates they should be getting. The main point is to understand that all carbohydrates like grains, starch, legumes, all turn into sugar as well. So if you are eating a lot of gluten free baked goods devoid of nutrients and high in sugar and starch or grains at every meal you can bet you are in the process of depleting your body of vital vitamins and minerals that it needs.

    Here’s what I noticed. The more consistently that I enjoyed Paleo treats which are whole food, unprocessed treats with unrefined sugar and good fats, the more I would notice increased hair loss. That’s because sugar causes inflammation because increased insulin causes inflammation which in turn increases oxidative stress. This in turn affects Thyroid hormones which are in every cell of our body and if not properly functioning can induce hair loss. Hopefully that makes sense. In reducing my refined sugar I am giving my body the best chance to absorb all the vitamins and minerals it needs which nourish my body and help it to grow hair properly.

    One of the things to do to help stop hair loss, boost your immune system and help prevent disease is get all refined sugar out of your diet and greatly limit treats with unrefined sugar in them. *I didn’t talk about this but refined sugar is GMO and GMO’s also hinder good health. Read up on this article for more on that.

     

    Lots of Bone Broth and Collagen

    Bone Broth

    I could do an entire series of posts on the benefits of bone broth because it is nourishing in so many ways. Years ago, my mom used to tell me that homemade bone broth was so good for me. I would stubbornly brush her comments off in disbelief. I was so wrong and she was very right! Bone broth and collagen are key to regrowing hair. When you drink homemade broth regularly you are helping to repair the tight junctions in your intestines. This decreases intestinal permeability which in turn allow for proper absorption of the nutrients you ingest as well as keeping all foreign contaminants out. The result is reduced inflammation.

    In simmering your bones in filtered water and a little apple cider vinegar you allow the bones to release some amazing compounds that will increase hair growth. The gelatin and collagen that is in the broth is what promotes hair and nail growth. Broth is also jam packed with vital nutrients like calcium, magnesium, potassium, silicon, sulfur and phosphorus in very absorbable forms. Glycine present in broth will help you sleep and all of the above nutrients will help your hair to grow thick and appear very shiny as well as rejuvenate your skin.

    I drink a cup of homemade bone broth every day and always notice a difference if there is a time I go with out it. This kitchen tool is my best friend. It helps me make the richest most beautiful broth in just 2 hours! During the time I was trying to repair my gut as well as stop my hair loss and start it growing long, thick and shiny again I would drink several cups a day and I would also add this collagen into my daily regimen. I use a scoop every day by putting it in water, adding it to a whole food organic smoothie, adding it to fresh juiced vegetables, or adding a scoop to my tea. These have helped stop my hair loss and help it come back healthy and strong!

     

    Reducing Stress and Addressing Spiritual Health

    Reduce Stress

    I didn’t really understand the impact that stress can have on our overall health until the past few years. In fact, there were times that I didn’t even think I had stress but I actually did. A particular stressor that God revealed was hindering my healing had to do with my spiritual life. I was holding on to some bitterness, unforgiveness and resentment. I humbly had to give that over to the Lord in one of my quiet times. I had to ask him to take it while I willingly gave it away. It was only hindering me. God wants good for you and me and he wants us to walk righteously so we can thrive in life and recieve the blessings he wants to pour out upon us.

    Another facet of stress is being over-committed or overworked. Life is not always about doing things all the time, accomplishing something or trying to achieve that next goal. Yes, that’s part of it but we need to find rest for our physical bodies and for our souls. For me, that meant stepping away from some of my commitments. It meant saying no to that late night screen time and going to bed earlier. Focusing on my time with the Lord everyday and reveling in His presence while reading the Bible as well as journaling and praying was a vital refresher and relaxer. De-stressing and addressing my spiritual health meant that I had to let go of control and fully accept that God IS sovereign and in charge of my life. I don’t have to carry it all, solve it all or analyze it all. He’s got it.

    Releasing those things and making those changes in my life were the second to last piece to my hair loss puzzle. When my stress reduced and I truly learned to rest and let go, my body wasn’t in a constant state of survival. It was now free to be able to heal in areas it couldn’t before because it was devoting time and bodily resources to surviving the chronic state of burdens I put on myself.

     

    Addressing Ferritin Two Ways

    Ferritin

    The last piece to my hair loss puzzle was dealing with my Ferritin levels. Adequate or inadequate iron (or Ferritin) stores in your body stem from a myriad of different factors. A few of them I will talk about here. The first is gut health. If your gut is in poor health and you have intestinal permeability (or leaky gut) then you will not be able to absorb the nutrients that you take in. Bone broth is one way to heal you gut as we talked about above. Secondly, Ferritin levels must be available in your body so you will have optimal thyroid hormone levels. Iron is a key nutrient required in the conversion of T4 to the active form of Thyroid hormone which is T3. If you are low in iron then your body will start creating Reverse T3 instead of T3 and your antibodies are likely to go up as well as your hair loss increase. Ferritin is stored in the hair follicle which is why your levels directly affect the growth of your hair.

    After asking my doctor to test my Ferritin levels and discovering they were indeed VERY low, which is usually a symptom of Hypothyroidism and Hashimotos,  I addressed the issue two ways.

    The first way I addressed my low Ferritin was with Dessicated Liver. The most important thing in trying to increase Ferritin levels is to try to eat whole food forms of iron first and then when supplementing with iron take the most bio-available form to your body can assimilate it and use it properly. I don’t love the taste or texture of liver. I will make myself eat it but really do not enjoy it. I have prepared it numerous ways and would only eat it if I had to survive. The next best thing I found was something called dessicated liver which is basically dried powdered liver. The brand you take makes a difference in your results. I started with a brand that did not give me any results. The one linked above is the only one that showed my levels had risen after retesting.  Supplement brands make a very big difference and it’s also important to me that the liver I am eating in capsule form is coming from non-gmo, healthy pastured animals.

    The second way I simultaneously addressed my Ferritin problem was by supplementing with Iron Bisglycinate. This is the most absorbable form of iron available outside of whole food and it wont’ hurt your stomach or give you constipation.

    For a while I was taking four dessicated liver capsules and one Iron Bisglycinate capsule during the day between my vitamins since iron hinders calcium absorption. I noticed a tiny increase once we retested my levels but still not enough to make me feel better. However, the thing that got my levels to a much higher level than I was at was changing the time of day that I took these supplements. My doctor suggested that I take my iron supplements at night, on an empty stomach, right before bed for maximum absorption. That did the trick. Within a week of doing that I noticed my fatigue went away and within a month I noticed my hair loss stopped. I felt so much better overall. *It usually takes about a month to notice any kind of hair loss stopping then another month to notice hair regrowth.

    One quick note about supplementing with iron. It is really important that you find out if you have the gene for Hemochromatosis. This is a disorder where your body absorbs too much iron from the diet. While suffering from anemia (or low iron) you would expect you don’t have the gene but often times that’s not the case. I actually have the gene. I found out through the genetic testing I had done. My doctor is aware of that and finds it very important to retest my Ferritin levels several times a year to make sure that for one, my iron levels are adequate and for two, that they are not too high.

    These are the six things I did to address my hair loss that was related to my Hashimotos. These six things were all done in tandem with eating a diet with no inflammatory triggers for my body, reducing toxins in our entire house and being mindful of ingredients I put on and in my body and continuing to get at least 8 hours of solid sleep a night.

    Do you have any questions? What have you found to address your hair loss related to thyroid?

    This post is here to bring awareness, serve to educate and inspire and bring new information into your life. I am not a doctor and therefore the material you find at Feasting on Joy is not intended to substitute for any professional medical advice that you may receive by your own doctors. All info is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, heal or prevent any disease that you may have. Feasting on Joy and all authors herein are not responsible for any adverse reactions, effects or consequences experienced from following anything suggested on this website.

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