Is There A Connection Between Hair Loss And Coeliac Disease
When you suffer from a gluten intolerance or full-blown celiac disease there are several symptoms you can suffer from. There is a strong connection between hair loss and celiac disease
Alopecia areata starts with hair thinning at the crown of the head to form a bald, round patch. This quickly causes total baldness if left untreated, and may even progress to alopecia universalis which is the loss of all hair on the body.
Alopecia areata usually begins early in life. Unlike other age-related causes of hair loss, it is sometimes found in children and teenagers.
What the research says
One of the earliest links between alopecia areata and celiac disease was found in 1995 by a group of Italian doctors. They found that the hair loss experienced by a 14-year old patient was completely reversed when he was moved to a gluten-free diet.
Since then a lot of research has been carried out into the connection between gluten intolerance and alopecia. There is some great in-depth information on this page.
Subsequently, it became common to test patients suffering from alopecia areata for antibodies which could indicate the presence of celiac disease. Usually, if the antibodies are present and the patient changes their diet things improve. However, it is important to realise that this is not a quick fix. With nutritional hair loss, recovery takes several months and full recovery of hair can take close on two years.
Nutrients Critical For Healthy Hair
There are several vitamins and minerals that are vital to healthy hair, nail, and skin growth. These nutrients can help play a role in hair thinning reversal. Lets start with some of the most important:
Learning about and sharing things like this is the reason the Gluten-Free Society came into being.
Always looking out for you,
Dr. O AKA the Gluten Free Warrior
Is Celiac Disease Damaging My Hair
Lets look at hair loss first
Its a common and often ignored complaint from celiac patients: Im losing my hair, what can I do? Is celiac disease damaging my hair? Actually, there are several types of hair loss associated with celiac disease, from mild hair loss due to nutritional deficiencies to a condition known as alopecia areata, which is an autoimmune disease.
Lets have a look at causes of hair loss caused by celiac disease and what you can do to prevent or treat this condition:
Celiac disease and Alopecia areata
The relationship between celiac disease and alopecia should not come as a surprise: after all, theyre both immune conditions . This condition, which may affect both men and women, usually manifests as several bald patches all over the head. In extreme conditions, it may even lead to complete baldness. Luckily for those patients suffering from these bald patches, embarking on a gluten-free diet seems to do the trick and patients very happily report hair growth within a few months. Curiously, one patient reported re-appearance of bald patches after accidental exposure to gluten, which disappeared again after finding and eliminating the source of contamination.
Nutritional deficiencies can lead to severely damaged hair and hair loss
Lets look at the vitamins and minerals critical for hair growth
When theres a problem.
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What To Eat For Healthy Hair
Lets talk about healthy hair today, shall we? Today Im sharing with you my tips on how to grow strong, long, healthy hair. There is no special shampoo or dietary supplements that can achieve what healhty eating can do. Its a balanced diet packed with hair health promoting vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
What to eat for healthy hair
Eat proteinProtein is my very first tip for healthy hair. Hair is more than 90 percent protein, and if youre not getting enough protein you can experience slow hair growth or even hair loss. So add protein. Great plant based protein sources are lentils, hemp seeds, chia seeds, quinoa, spirulina, beans and nuts and seeds.
Consume lots of food high in silica
Already in 1939, Professor Adolf Butenandt , proved that life cant exist without silica . In humans, silica is essential for the development of the skeleton and to prevent very dry hair. Its also an important component of hair . Great sources are Fiji water, horsetail, beets, leafy vegetables, brown rice, potatoes , strawberries, green and red peppers, cucumbers, oats, barley, wheat, millet, bean sprouts and asparagus. However, since lots of foods is processed and the soil is often treated with chemical treatments the amount of silica can significantly decrease. Therefore, it is advisable to opt for organically grown unprocessed foods.
Get enough copper and zinc
Have a sufficient intake of iron
Eat foods high in vitamins C and E
Eat enough sulphur
Can Eating Gluten Cause Hair Loss
Hair loss can be quite a devastating condition for anyone. After all, it can cause significant loss of self-esteem and even lead to emotional problems like anxiety and depression. What many may not realize is that hair loss can be the result of the type of food that you eat. Thats because foods, which contain gluten, can have a detrimental effect on hair health and growth.
Gluten generally refers to proteins that are found in wheat, barley, triticale, and rye. It helps food retain its shape by holding its composition together. Today, gluten is found in several types of food. Unfortunately, not everyone can tolerate this in their bodies. In fact, one study published in the journal Digestion has found that gluten sensitivity affects as many as 18 million people in America. That number accounts for roughly six percent of the population. For some of them, the consequence is hair loss.
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Foods That Can Cause Hair Loss
We are what we eat, and this also applies to our hair. Just like a poor diet can cause problems with various organs through the body, it can do the same to our hair follicles.
While hair loss has a significant genetic component, this is true for most health conditions. For example, heart disease is one of the most easily preventable conditions. At the same time, it also tends to run in families. Nobody would use this as an excuse to not look after their heart in the form of proper diet and exercise.
With that out of the way, lets look at some of the most common, widely available foods that could be compromising your precious follicles.
What The Coaches Say:
- Chemical naturally found in some foods also produced by the body
- Forms when the amino acid histidine is transformed into histamine
- Any food containing protein can form histamine under the right conditions
- Function to fight off pathogens in our gut. It stimulates our immune system to release killer chemicals that attack the dangerous invaders and keeps our body safe
- Motility keeps things moving, excretes the waste and toxins
- Acid helps our stomach secrete the acids it needs to digest protein
- We want histamine, but not too much. An excess can falsely trigger our immune system to release killer chemicals and create inflammation, but since its a false alarm and theres no actual enemy to kill, our immune system is overstimulated for nothing and it ends up hurting us
Whats happening during a histamine reaction?
- When our histamine bucket overflows it generally looks like an allergic reaction with flushing, watery eyes, nasal drip, and a bunch of other stuff listed below
- 1% of the population has histamine intolerance and most are middle-aged women
- Histamine is released from immune cells when they detect a threat
- When released, it triggers smooth muscle contraction in the intestines , expansion of blood vessels , mucus secretion in the nasal passages and GI tract, and many other physiologic effects that are intended to fight off invaders
- More common histamine reaction e.g. a foreign protein triggers histamine release such as pollen, bee sting, pet hair, etc.
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Essential Vitamins And Minerals For Hair Growth
Although it is impossible to pinpoint the exact vitamins and minerals responsible for the hair loss seen with celiac disease, itâs a good idea to take a look at those essential for hair quality and growth for supplementation consideration.
If you are noticing symptoms of vitamin and mineral deficiencies with decreasing hair quality , itâs a good idea to consider supplementing the following to reduce symptoms:
Sugary Cereals: Dessert For Breakfast
It is commonly said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Whether this is true or not is up for debate.
What is almost certain, however, is that eating highly processed, sugar-rich cereals is bad for our health. This includes our hair follicles.
These mass-produced, highly processed foods have very high glycemic indices that inevitably cause blood sugar spikes. Lets see exactly what this means and why it is so important.
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Gluten And Celiac Disease
Wheat, barley, and rye contain a protein called gluten. Gluten acts like any other protein for a healthy person and helps the body perform its normal functions properly. But for some people, gluten does more harm than good.
Whenever these people eat gluten, their immune system misinterprets it as a harmful foreign particle and produces abundant antibodies. These antibodies try to attack gluten, but in doing so, they end up destroying the lining of the small intestine. It keeps happening for as long as these people eat gluten.
With every meal that contains gluten, the condition of the small intestine worsens. As a result, these people suffer from various gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal cramps, pain, constipation, stomach bloating, and diarrhea.
Sometimes, these people also suffer from seemingly unrelated symptoms such as anemia, yeast infections, and dark circles around the eyes. The condition that these people suffer from is called celiac disease.
It is an example of an autoimmune disorder. In this condition, the immune system of the body starts to harm its tissues and organs accidentally. Therefore, the symptoms of a celiac patient dont get better, and instead, become even worse upon eating gluten.
Can Food Allergies Cause Hair Loss
Food allergies do not cause hair loss per se, but in some people with food allergies , they can cause nutritional deficiencies that may contribute to thinning hair. People who have food allergies also have an increased predisposition to alopecia areata, an autoimmune condition characterized by patchy bald spots.
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Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis And Hair Loss: Everything You Need To Know
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1% to 2% of the U.S. population has Hashimotoâs thyroiditis. It occurs more often in women than in men and is the most common cause of underactive thyroid, also known as hypothyroidism, in the U.S. Hair loss is, for many, one of the most distressing symptoms of thyroid disorders and may be challenging to treat if you have Hashimotoâs thyroiditis.
What Does Gluten Do To Hair
For celiacs and gluten-sensitive patients, the effects of gluten intake dont end at digestive symptoms. Once gluten takes a complete toll on your body, many side effects come with it.
For example, if youre experiencing hair loss, dry hair, etc., the problem may be gluten. So before you start throwing out every product of your hair care routine, look at your diet first.
Celiacs are more vulnerable to hair issues due to gluten, but gluten-sensitive patients experience it too. So if youre wondering what strictly gluten does to your hair, heres everything you need to know.
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Gluten Destroys Ones Hair Health
For a person with gluten intolerance, eating any type of food containing gluten comes with drastic consequences. The moment the gluten-rich food is ingested by the body, it immediately triggers an unusual autoimmune reaction.
First, the body starts to attack the structure within its own small intestine. As it does this, the bodies own antibodies also start to launch attacks against various other cells. This includes the ones surrounding the hair. When this happens to the hairs overall health is immediately compromised. And as it continues to weaken, it eventually leads to hair loss.
One of the conditions that cause gluten to trigger hair loss is known as alopecia areata. This problem affects as many as 4.6 million men and women in the US, roughly the equivalent of 1.4 percent of the total population.
Alopecia areata is a condition wherein an abnormality in the immune system causes it to target certain tissues in the body. In this case, the immune system compromises the health of ones hair follicles and starts to disrupt normal hair formation.
As a result, someone suffering from alopecia areata may start to experience several possible types of hair loss. These include widespread hair loss, patchy hair loss or even exclamation mark hairs around the edges of the bare spots.
Gluten Intolerance And Hair Loss
Hair loss can be confusing and disorienting no matter what. But if your hair loss isnt following the typical pattern for male pattern baldness or if youre a woman it can be particularly baffling.
Maybe its all the gluten youre eating.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat products as well as rye and barley. Its also used as an additive across a wide range of packaged and prepared food products, as it serves as a filler and helps foods adhere and retain their shape.
Some people have an intolerance to gluten. This intolerance may be mild or very severe. Celiac disease, one of the most serious forms of gluten intolerance, causes an immune system response that can damage the small intestine.
Its by no means common. But for some people, an undiscovered gluten intolerance can lie at the root of their hair loss. The connection is especially strong for those with full-blown Celiac disease, which can often go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
Here are a few ways gluten intolerance, particularly Celiac disease, can cause hair loss.
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