There I was, standing in front of my bathroom mirror brushing my hair, when I noticed strands of it were coming out of my brush. It was horrible and depressing, after all I was 32 years old and this was not normal. Later, I found out that this was a symptom of Graves' Disease and I even had the misfortune to experience it again during my thyroid treatment. While thyroid hair loss might not be one of the most dangerous symptoms of thyroid dysfunction, it can be one of the most daunting, and it was a constant reminder that something was not right with my body.
Fortunately, after a long journey to restore thyroid function, my hair was full and healthy again.
However, when I come across thyroid patients, it is often times that they struggle with thyroid hair loss, even while treating their thyroid dysfunction.
As with many health problems, this is often because conventional medicine doctors fail to identify and address the cause of thyroid symptoms.
I look at all of these environmental root causes in my book, The Thyroid Connection, with interviews with 35 of the world's best thyroid experts on this topic.
10 tips to reverse thyroid hair loss
In this article, I'm going to share seven tips for tackling the root causes of thyroid hair loss so that your hair can grow shiny and healthy again.
1. Make sure your lab tests are optimal
My first recommendation when it comes to thyroid hair loss is that your doctor order complete thyroid tests to make sure your levels of TSH, Free T4 (FT4), Free T3 (FT3), and Reverse T3 (RT3), they are all optimal.
Your doctor doesn't just have to order TSH and T4 (which is what most doctors use), and should use optimal reference ranges instead of the "normal" ones.
It is important to understand that you can still have thyroid dysfunction and symptoms, including thyroid hair loss, even if your TSH and T4 are "normal," and the first step in optimizing all of your levels is to have them tested.
2. Make sure you are on the correct type and dose of thyroid hormone supplements
Once you know all your thyroid levels, you can work with your doctor to make sure you are on the correct type and dose of thyroid hormone supplement.
Free T3, the active form of thyroid hormone, plays an important role in the health of your hair, however, the most widely used thyroid hormone supplement is T4 only, as are Synthroid® or Levoxyl.
Many patients have difficulty converting T4, the storage form of thyroid hormone, to release T3, and do better with naturally desiccated thyroid hormone, such as Armour® or Naturethroid®, which include both T4 and T3, or by adding a T3-only thyroid hormone supplement, such as Cytomel® or a formula of a T3 compound that is a trigger.
3. Optimize your diet
From there you will want to ensure that your diet has been optimized for thyroid health, which includes eliminating toxic and inflammatory foods and adding many of the nutrients necessary for essential thyroid function.
I have written many articles on the enormous impact I have seen from my thyroid patients quitting gluten, and I cover the scientific research behind it in my book.
Dairy production is another big culprit in thyroid patients due to its chemical similarities to gluten and because it is so flammable for many people.
Other inflammatory foods that I recommend eliminating while working to resolve thyroid symptoms include corn, soybeans, nightshades, eggs, nuts, and seeds.
Instead, you'll want to focus on eating real, whole foods rich in the nutrients necessary for thyroid health, including iodine, selenium, zinc, iron, vitamin D, vitamin B, and vitamin A.
If these nutrients are low, your thyroid cannot adequately produce its hormones, convert T4 to T3, or get T3 in your cells to bind to thyroid receptors, which can cause symptoms of hypothyroidism, as is thyroid hair loss.
I recommend a diet heavy on grass-fed meat, green leafy vegetables, starchy vegetables, organic fruits, and healthy fats.
4. Take a high-quality multivitamin
While eating a diet rich in these nutrients is an important step in maintaining levels of each, the unfortunate fact is that our soil has been depleted of nutrients and food is less nutrient dense than it was in our Parents’ Day. and grandparents.
5. Increase iron
Even though all of the nutrients I've mentioned above are key to thyroid health, iron deficiency, in particular, is a common cause of thyroid hair loss in premenopausal women.
It seems to me that most of the women I treat in my clinic are deficient in iron, specifically ferritin, the protein that stores iron, as they are menstruating on a monthly basis.
It is particularly common among women who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, but I see it frequently in those who follow a paleo diet as well.
6. Add collagen from a Paleo protein
Collagen is a protein that is packed with amino acids, including glutamine. It gives your hair its strength and your skin its elasticity, supports healthy bones and joints, and helps maintain intestinal health.
Your body produces collagen on its own, however, its production decreases as you age, and if you are chronically ill or stressed your ability to produce is reduced.
Try to get very good quality collagen supplements.
7. Check for low stomach acid
Sure you are familiar with the saying "you are what you eat." However, I prefer to say, "you are what you digest and absorb." If you have a chronic disease like thyroid dysfunction or an autoimmune disease, you may not be fully digesting and absorbing all the nutrients that are vital for thyroid function and healthy hair. A main reason for this is low stomach acid, which breaks down food once it reaches your gut.
Some tell-tale signs of low heartburn include acid reflux, gas, and bloating, especially after heavy, high-protein meals.
There is a simple test you can do to find out if you have low levels of acid in your stomach. You can take an HCL (primary stomach acid) capsule with water before a meal, and then see how you feel after about 30 minutes.
If a burning sensation is felt, your HCL levels are fine. However, if you don't feel anything, you may need to add an HCL supplement.
8. Balance your hormones
Many women develop or see a flare in thyroid dysfunction during pregnancy or menopause, when our bodies are going through major hormonal changes. If your estrogen levels are too high, either due to hormonal changes or chronic stress, the excess estrogen increases the levels of TBG, thyroid-binding globulin.
This is the protein that allows your thyroid hormones to travel through your bloodstream. When thyroid hormones bind to TBG they remain inactive, so T4 cannot be stored in tissues or becomes free T3, causing symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as hair loss.
9. Balance blood sugar
Eating a lot of carbohydrates and not enough quality protein and healthy fats can take your blood sugar on a roller coaster ride.
These dramatic drops in blood sugar stimulate the body to convert more of T4 to reverse T3, an inactive form of thyroid hormone. This slows down all metabolic processes and can cause hair loss more quickly.
To avoid this, I recommend starting your day with a high-protein breakfast, be it a protein-packed shake or a plate full of free-range meat and vegetables, and high-quality fats, such as avocado and coconut oil.
10. Fix adrenal fatigue
You probably know that your adrenal glands produce adrenaline and manage your fight or flight reaction, but did you know that, as part of your endocrine system, they also produce hormones that affect your main metabolic processes, just like your thyroid? These hormones help regulate blood pressure, electrolyte balance, blood sugar, immune response, digestion, and much more.
Chronic stress, which many of us face on a daily basis, puts your adrenal glands into overdrive for extended periods of time, leaving you in a state of adrenal fatigue.
The rise and eventual plummet of stress hormones has many negative impacts on the thyroid. It slows down the thyroid's production, reduces its ability to convert thyroid hormones to their active form, and increases resistance to thyroid hormone, causing symptoms of hypothyroidism, including thyroid hair loss.
While stress can be an unavoidable part of our modern lifestyles, there is a lot we can do to control our stress levels and its impact on thyroid health, whether it's taking a walk outside, practicing meditation, or take a nice relaxing bath.
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