We usually have about 300,000 hairs on our head and lose up to 300 each day. Hair grows at the rate of about one centimetre a month, after about 3 years the hair falls out. The hair follicle then goes into a resting phase before starting a new 3 year cycle of hair growth.
There are many conditions that can affect the growth and lifespan of hair, the best known being male pattern baldness which leads to loss of hair at the front, sides and crown. The more testosterone you have, the greater the hair loss.
Conditions such as severe illness, pregnancy, iron deficiency, shock, severe stress or excessive dieting can cause a lot of hairs to go into the resting phase and be shed after a few weeks.
Scalp disease which causes scarring destroys the hair follicles which do not regenerate. Scarring may be caused by an injury to the scalp, severe scalp infection or lichen planues.
Alopecia areata can cause patchy hair loss, the cause is unknown.
Total hair loss is a side effect of chemotherapy, once the drugs are stopped, the hair usually regrows.
Because alopecia can be an indication of underlying illness, severe stress, compromised immune function, a viral infection, lack of dietary protein or inadequate digestion it can be helpful to use supplements to boost the immune system, help digestion and control stress.
|Supplement/Herb||What it does||Dosage|
|If a virus is suspected take the following for up to 14 days:|
|Echinacea||Boosts the immune system and helps take white blood cells to areas of infection.||1 to 5gm daily`|
|Goldenseal||Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic properties.||1 to 3gm daily|
|Vitamin C||Supports the immune system and healing.||1 to 10gm daily|
|Astragalus||Helps to boost the immune system and improve tolerance to stress.||1 to 3gm daily|
|To support the digestive system:|
|Betaine Hydrochloride||To assist in the complete breakdown and digestion of proteins||1 -2 capsules at the start of a meal.|
|Digestive enzymes.||To assist in the complete breakdown and digestion of proteins.||1 -2 capsules at the end of a mea|
Diet and Lifestyle Factors
Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Eat sea vegetables, seeds and nuts.
Eat good quality proteins.
Avoid tea and coffee if stressed.
Drink 2 litres of water daily.
If stress is a factor, see the article on stress.
Suggested further reading
- Alopecia explained
- Alopecia treatments