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Hair Growth – A Barometer of Your Health?
by Sonia Chartier, on 7 April 2015 Is your hair limp and falling off or strong and shiny? Contrary to what many believe, what our hair looks like is not just about genetics, styling, shampoos and conditioners. Like your skin, your hair showcases your health and yes, your mental state. Hair Structure The anatomic structure of the hair, like so many other things in the body, is a technical miracle. Although the hair has no feeling, it is not dead matter. It can best be compared to a plant with a bulb shaped root. The hair root or bulb is embedded in the skin about 3-5 mm deep, and is connected by blood vessels from which it receives the nutrients necessary for the hair to grow. The daily rate of growth is about ¼ to ½mm. Great mental disturbance and agitation are observable in hair, when viewed under a microscope, as notches or variable depths. So it is possible, for example, to discover if someone has had a nervous breakdown the previous year by examining the hair. A healthy hair is strong, able to support a weight of about 80 g without snapping. A diseased hair however will tear when a weight of 30-40 g is suspended from it. Of course the resistance of a single hair depends also upon its relative thickness. Generally speaking, the more refined our food and stressful our lifestyle, the thinner our hair. Hair Nutrients External care will no doubt benefit your hair. However, if you do not see to the order of your internal body, and do not take sufficient nutrients, all external treatments will be of little use. Indeed, diet is very important for hair growth. Without the B vitamins and sufficient iron, zinc and protein, hair growth may be less than ideal. It does takes about three to four months for changes to take place in the appearance of your hair, as the new hairs have to grow long enough to make a difference. By eliminating any internal deficiencies, the appearance of the hair will improve. A lack of silica may be causing a problem. Silica is necessary for the rebuilding of all connective tissue, including hair, skin and nails. Incorporating silica-rich millet in your diet will help. Otherwise, taking a supplement containing Silica for three to four months will thicken your hair and as a bonus, will also improve skin tone and elasticity and nail strength. A preparation containing Stinging nettle, calcium from nettles and silica may be used to speed up hair growth. It works quickly and also strengthens brittle nails by improving the way the body absorbs calcium. Hair’s enemies Stress seems to sneak back on the topic of every single health issue, even the look of your hair! Stress happens to use up valuable nutrients such as the B vitamins, a lack of which will have a repercussion on hair growth. Stress also causes scalp tension, which tightens the follicles and may cause shedding, and which restricts the amount of oxygen and other nutrients being delivered to the scalp by the bloodstream. You could help yourself by gently massaging your head, go outside and exercise to stimulate your circulatory system, and if you need further help to manage your stress, you could read up on it here. There is one more reason why you should manage your stress: it is possible that it impacts greying as well. Whether your hair greys in your twenties, forties or sixties is largely thanks to your genetic heritage. However, it is well known that stress produces free radicals, particularly hydrogen peroxide. Well, we all know that hydrogen peroxide bleaches. If excess hydrogen peroxide accumulates in the hair follicle, it may in fact have an impact on the colour. Medication can affect your hair in many ways. Some medication will cause excess hair growth or hair loss while others can change its colour or even its texture. Many very common medications can have effects on hair, including oral contraceptive, acne medication (retinoid), antibiotics, antidepressants, nsaids, immune suppressants and psoriasis medication. These side effects are usually reversible once medication is stopped. Hair loss can also be a sign that your thyroid gland is not functioning properly. If you are noticing that your hair is falling off more than normal, it is wise to consult your healthcare practitioner. How do you know you are loosing too much hair? It is easy enough to test by grabbing a strand of hair the size of a pen, close to the head and pulling up. You should not have more than a hair or two staying in your hand; if there is 6 or 7, it is too much. Nature to the rescue Foods to favour for your hair: Eggs, beans, nuts, dark leafy vegetables, dried fruits – especially dates and raisins, brown rice, pumpkin seeds, oats, adzuki beans, lecithin, brewer’s yeast, wheat germ and millet. Since hair contains silica, iron, copper, arsenic, manganese and sulphur, it stands to reason that plants in which these elements are found prove to be excellent for its care. You could also try A.Vogel Hair, Skin and Nails, which contains nutrient rich ingredients for your hair:
- Millet seed extract – a good source of silica. It also contains protein, important for providing the keratin of which hair is mostly made, and B vitamins
- Stinging nettles – which contain silica, calcium and iron
- Brewer’s Yeast – a great food source of B vitamins,
- Zinc – important for the metabolism of proteins.