‘The eyes are the windows to the soul’, they say.
Taking that one step further, one could very well say that the hair is the window to your health. Any change in your mental or physical health, your hair will reflect it. However, few of us fail to realize this. All of us want gorgeous, luscious hair, but we do not realize that expensive hair treatments and trips to the salons are not the solutions. The solution, in fact, begins by understanding the root of the problem and then shows you ways to tackle it.
A bit about hair and hair loss…
On average, there are about 150,000 hairs on the head of an adult human. Shedding up to 100 hairs daily is considered normal. The hair growth cycle consists of different phases and at the end of the cycle, the hair is shed off and a new hair replaces it. The main structural component of hair is a protein called keratin. Apart from being an indicator of something being wrong with your body, hair loss in itself can be a cause of stress. It leads to insecurities, especially in women, and can lead to anxiety and depression. Thus, it is important to treat it and do so quickly. If you want to know more about what could be causing your hair loss, schedule for a FREE 15 Minute Consultation with Dr. Celaya.
What causes hair loss?
Causes of hair loss are several and range from systemic diseases to stress. Here are some common ones:
- Autoimmune conditions
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease affecting the hair follicles. It occurs suddenly and leads to hair loss in patches.
- Poor dietary habits
Certain nutrients such as zinc, iron, biotin, essential fatty acids and proteins are essential for maintaining the health and strength of hair. Refraining from eating sufficient quantities of these nutrients will eventually lead to hair loss. Anemia due to iron deficiency is also a leading cause of hair loss. Likewise, anorexia and bulimia also affect the health of your hair. Leaky gut can also target your hair due to poor digestive health and hormonal imbalances.
- Hormonal imbalance
Pregnancy, menopause, and conditions like PCOD (Polycystic Ovarian Disease) can all lead to hair loss. Male pattern baldness also occurs due to androgens.
Thyroid hormone imbalance is another common cause of hair loss, which can occur due to either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.
- Telogen effluvium
Any kind of prolonged illness or mental/physical stress to the body such as childbirth, sudden and drastic weight loss, accident, etc. can lead to hair loss. This condition is known as telogen effluvium and occurs because the stress tends to alter the growth cycle of your hair and shock a large number of hairs into the resting phase simultaneously. This leads to noticeable shedding of hair.
Your prescription could be the reason for your hair loss. Implicated medications include antidepressants, contraceptives, steroids, etc.
Your genetic predisposition can also influence the amount of hair loss and how soon or late it begins in your lifetime.
Use of excessive chemicals and heat can weaken your hair and lead to temporary, or rarely, permanent baldness.
What can you do?
Knowing the possible cause of hair loss is winning half the battle. Treatment starts by identifying the problem and eliminating causative factors if any.
Drastic measures include hair weaves or wigs, local medications such as Minoxidil, and hair grafting. However, wigs and locally applied medicines are temporary fixes and not a cure for the problem. Hair grafting and laser treatments are expensive options and usually performed for a limited area of baldness.
Apart from these abovementioned options, a few strategies that will help you hold onto your hair, and can be easily incorporated into your lifestyle, are as follows:
Treating the primary cause
If an underlying disease such as thyroid dysfunction is diagnosed, treating it will automatically bring about an improvement in your hair. Telogen effluvium also ceases to cause hair loss once the stress is eliminated.
Focusing on a better diet
- Rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids include green tea, fish, chia seeds, and flax seeds. Salmon, chia seeds, and vegetable oils are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.
- If you are anemic, adding nuts, broccoli, spinach, and peas to your diet are recommended. If you are not getting enough veggies, click here.
- Biotin-rich foods include eggs, nuts, and milk products. You can also take vitamin B supplements to ensure that the requirements of your body are met.
- Adequate amounts of zinc can be consumed by adding oysters, beef, and chickpeas to your diet.
- Probiotic-rich foods can help repair your gut lining and heal leaky gut. Also taking probiotics can help.
Exercising brings about a release of endorphins, which helps in relieving stress. Exercising regularly also improves your blood circulation, adding to the health of your scalp.
Minimize the use of chemicals and heat on your hair. Try to avoid shampooing your hair daily as this strips the hair of moisture. By combining a base oil with a few drops of essential oil, you can massage your scalp yourself and aid in circulation to the scalp. This also can calm you and relieve stress. Coconut oil, rosemary oil, ginseng oil, etc. are some of the oils that can be used.
Sleep & Meditation
Being stress-free is the key to having good hair. Meditation can help you achieve this goal. You can use simple breathing exercises or chants for this purpose. Moreover, not sleeping enough wreaks havoc with your hormones and also increases stress and anxiety. To avoid this, try sleeping for at least seven to eight hours every day.
Acupuncture has been proven beneficial for hair loss and is often accompanied by dietary herbal supplements.
- Aloe vera conditions your scalp and maintains its pH. Twice a week, you can apply aloe vera gel on your scalp and rinse it out after two hours.
- Amla (Indian gooseberry) is a time-tested solution for all hair troubles and its juice can be applied to the hair.
- Other useful herbs include neem, sage, and lemongrass among others.
Maintaining healthy hair is not difficult. By simply adopting a healthier lifestyle and a few simple changes, you can ensure that your hair continues to be your crowning glory, adding to your inner and outer beauty!
Dark circles under the eyes are a common medical condition of both men and women, although they can sometimes be observed in young ages or children. Dark circles under the eyes do not necessarily indicate tiredness, but stress and exhaustion are likely to aggravate the facial appearance of many individuals, including their likelihood to develop dark circles. People who suffer from dark circles under their eyes often look older, sadder, more tired and more stressed out than they are. In most cases, dark circles under the eyes are not a sign of a serious medical condition.
But, what causes these dark circles under eyes?
There is no single cause for this problem, but it may occur due to various reasons such as sleep deprivation, excessive smoking, excess alcohol consumption, allergies, eczema, aging, heredity factors, malnutrition, gluten intolerance, mold exposure, candida, stress, and illness. Sleep deprivation is considered the primary reason, and the easiest to prevent. But oversleeping can also cause dark eye circles. Allergies and nasal congestion can dilate the blood vessels that drain from the area around the eyes, causing them to darken. There is also a direct relationship between dark circles under the eye and age. As we get older, we lose some of the fat and collagen surrounding our eyes. This loss, joined with the thinning of our skin, intensifies the development of dark circles. In addition, heredity factors also play a leading role. For example, dark circles under the eyes that appear in childhood are often an inherited trait. Some children will outgrow them, but others will not. Some people notice that dark circles under the eyes tend to run in families as well.
Malnutrition can cause dark circles under eyes. A common cause is low iron and/or low vitamin B12 and sometimes folic acid. This can be especially seen with vegetarians. The deficiency may prevent the blood from providing enough oxygen to eye tissues, resulting in the appearance of dark circles. Take a look at MegaMulti which is a great multiple vitamin to pick up the deficiencies.
Wheat or gluten intolerance can also contribute. Try eliminating wheat, barley, and rye from your diet for a couple of weeks to see how you do. This is not foolproof though. There are other products that can have gliadin cross contamination issues with gluten. Also, when someone stops their intake of gluten, they can increase their consumption of certain foods that also can cause problems, such as buckwheat, sorghum, hemp, sesame, amaranth, quinoa, tapioca, teff, and potato. The only way to find out what you are sensitive to is to have the right testing performed; otherwise, you are just guessing.
Mold exposure can also cause chronic dark eye circles. This very common problem can decrease your immunes ability to deal with detoxification. There are several types of mold, and some may just cause allergies, while black mold (Stachybotrys), Penicillium and Aspergillus can be toxic. Not only can they cause black circles under the eyes, they can be linked to memory problems, brain damage, leukemia, and cancer of the kidneys, esophagus, and liver. These molds can weaken the immune system and damage DNA in the cell. This can cause chronic illnesses, birth defects, infertility, and miscarriages. Here again, testing for you and your environment can help you know if this is causing issues.
Candida, which is a fungus, can also cause dark circles. Making sure you do not have an overgrowth of candida can make a difference. Of course, certain diets high in carbohydrates and processed foods can feed candida. When someone has a problem digesting food due to a lack of stomach acid and or digestive enzymes, food can putrefy or ferment, which can cause an increase in opportunistic or pathological bacteria. Candida then can become a problem since the beneficial bacteria are not in large enough numbers to keep the candida under control. Taking a digestive aid with HCL and enzymes and a probiotic can be beneficial. See my digestive supplement Digest and probiotic ProBio in my website store.
People who drink too much coffee can have difficulty getting enough sleep. Fluid retention, as may occur with excess salt in the diet, can cause dark circles. Pregnancy or weight gain may be considered an additional risk factor. Bacterial infection of the eyelid such as Periorbital cellulitis can carry an additional risk for these dark circles.
How to get rid of these black circles under your eyes?
The first and most important step is to get plenty of sleep at night. It’s not fully understood why insufficient sleep may result in dark circles under the eyes, but it seems that lack of sleep does reduce circulation and increases the tendency of the skin to become pale (thus increasing the appearance of darkness under the eyes). It is advised that you remove all eye makeup before going to bed at night. Make sure that you sleep seven to nine hours per night. You should also abstain from alcohol and drugs because they can negatively affect the quality of your sleep.
One of the most common causes of skin discoloration under the eyes is an allergy. If an allergy is the root of the problem, you shall treat the allergy or avoid the allergen. If there are persistent dark circles under the eyes, you may have an undetected food allergy or an allergy to a chemical or mold in your home. People with allergies also tend to be deficient in B6, folic acid, and B12, so taking a multivitamin can be beneficial.
A stuffy or congested nose can result in dark circles under the eyes because the veins around sinuses are darkened and dilated. Here again, you need to think about how your immune system is working, and how to boost it. Watch my video, antibiotic resistance to get some ideas on how to boost your immune system.
You must eat a healthy, balanced diet. Inadequate antioxidants, vitamin B12 deficiency anemia, and vitamin K deficiency may lead to skin problems such as dark circles and puffiness under your eyes. Hence, you must eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, especially cabbage, spinach, and other leafy green vegetables. Many doctors advise people to take a multivitamin supplement daily. Drinking adequate fluids is necessary to improve circulation. Fast or processed food should be avoided. It is also recommended that you should reduce salt intake since excess salt causes the body to retain more water, and this may lead to the appearance of dark circles under the eyes. Too much salt can also impair your circulation and cause the blood vessels under the skin to appear blue.
Dark circles can appear in heavy smokers because smoking leads to vascular or blood vessel problems that make your blood vessels appear more prominent and bluer.
Last but not least, relaxation can help you get rid of stress and anxiety that are preventing you from sleeping, eating and resting properly. Adrenal issues can be a major cause. Hence, relaxation can lead to very positive results for many people who suffer from these dark circles.
In conclusion, if you have these dark circles under your eyes, do not worry. Simply, eat healthy food, sleep well, quit smoking, take a multivitamin supplement, reduce your exposures, and finally relax! If you would like help finding out if food sensitivities are contributing to your dark eye circles, Click Here to set up a free consultation.
You can eat fermented foods every day and take all the probiotic supplements you want, but if you aren’t also feeding those intestinal bacteria what they want, you could be throwing your money away. That’s because to thrive and multiply, healthy gut bacteria need to eat. And what your gut bacteria like best is fiber.
Recently published research done at the University of Oveido in Spain found that obese people with low levels of a group of intestinal bacteria — Bacteroides, Prevotella, and Porphyromonas — also had a lower intake of fruit.
Fruit is a good source of pectin, which is metabolized in the colon by bacteria, such as Bacteroides, producing small chain fatty acids (SCFAs). SCFAs are known to keep the immune system in check and turn down inflammation, known to be implicated in obesity.
The researchers conclude in the journal Nutrients, “These results could be useful for designing strategies targeted to obesity prevention.”
Why Feed Your Microbiome Prebiotics
Researchers have yet to agree on a precise definition of prebiotics, the substances that intestinal bacteria feed on, but generally, the scientists agree that these are “undigested dietary carbohydrates that are fermented by colonic bacteria yielding short chain fatty acids.”
Different prebiotics may nourish different types of bacteria, and researchers have not yet pinned down the specifics — that is, exactly what prebiotic nourishes which bacteria. But you can’t go wrong covering your bases by eating with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.
A high fiber diet has often been recommended for people who need to lose weight, but now we know the point of eating more fiber is not only to make you feel full but also because of its integral role in sustaining a healthy diversity of gut bacteria. Meanwhile, the opposite — an unhealthy microbiota — is being increasingly associated with inflammation and obesity.
Supporting gut bacteria with probiotics
In addition to a diet of ample and diverse produce that is rich in prebiotic fiber, you can also support your microbiota with probiotics. Probiotics work best when you are already fostering your gut environment with healthy prebiotic fiber. Look for probiotics that will survive the acidic environment of the environment. Many different strains exist and researchers are increasingly finding different strains support different aspects of health. Research which ones may be best for you and switch them up on occasion.
Fermented foods such as kimchee, sauerkraut, kefir, and kombucha contain live microbes that can help improve the health of your gut bacteria. Make sure you get truly live products and not pasteurized. They will usually be in the refrigerated section at the store.
You could be developing an autoimmune disease, one of the most common diseases today, and are not aware of it. This is because autoimmune diseases sometimes start off as “silent” autoimmunity. This means your immune system is attacking tissue in your body but the damage isn’t bad enough to cause symptoms yet.
Autoimmune disease is more common than cancer and heart disease combined, and that’s just the diagnosed cases. Many, if not most, cases of autoimmunity are happening without a diagnosis.
This is because medicine does not screen for autoimmunity until symptoms are advanced and severe enough for a diagnosis and treatment with steroids, chemotherapy drugs, or surgery.
Autoimmunity: The disease for the modern era
Autoimmunity can affect any tissue in the body or brain. It occurs when the immune system attacks and damages tissue as if it were a foreign invader.
Common autoimmune diseases include Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, Graves’ disease, multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, and psoriasis. More than 80 different autoimmune diseases have been identified so far.
Autoimmune disease affects 1 in 5 people, the majority of them women. It is believed women are more commonly affected because of their hormonal complexity. Although autoimmune disease is very common, the statistics do not tell the whole story.
Autoimmunity can happen long before diagnosis
Autoimmunity can begin long before damage is bad enough for a disease to be diagnosed. Many people can go years, decades, or even an entire lifetime with symptoms but never have damage bad enough to be labeled disease.
As an example, autoimmunity against the pancreas can cause blood sugar issues long before the development of type 1 diabetes. Additionally, about 10 percent of people with type 2 diabetes, which is caused by diet and lifestyle, also have pancreatic autoimmunity. This is called type 1.5 diabetes.
One of the most common autoimmune diseases is Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. Patients may need to gradually increase their thyroid hormone because although they were diagnosed with low thyroid, the autoimmunity was overlooked and left unmanaged.
Or a patient may have an autoimmune reaction that has not been recognized as a disease. For instance, autoimmunity to nerve cells may produce symptoms similar to multiple sclerosis (MS), which is an autoimmune reaction to nerve sheathes. However, because the autoimmunity is not attacking nerve sheathes specifically, the patient cannot be diagnosed despite MS-like symptoms.
Autoimmunity can attack anything in the body
People can also have symptoms that suggest many types of autoimmunity. Although symptoms vary depending on which tissue is being attacked, many autoimmune sufferers experience chronic fatigue, chronic pain, declining brain function, gastrointestinal issues, hair loss, weight gain or weight loss, brain fog, and more.
Fortunately, functional medicine offers lab testing that can screen for autoimmunity against a number of different tissues. We also use strategies such as an anti-inflammatory diet, blood sugar stabilizing, gut healing, addressing toxins, and habits that minimize stress and inflammation.
Ask my office if autoimmunity may be causing your strange and chronic symptoms.