One part of the body can easily affect another. When troubling symptoms crop up, it’s usually because a vital system somewhere else isn’t working right. For instance, people who experience hair loss might focus on ways to nurture the health of their scalp and hair follicles. But in the case of thyroid-related hair loss, the key to healthy hair rests in the thyroid gland.
Uncover the link between thyroid and hair health so you can begin the journey of restoring your full head of hair.
The phases of normal hair growth
Learning how hair grows will help you better understand the connection between your thyroid and hair health. Growth begins in the root of the hair follicle, which is located under the skin’s surface. Blood vessels in the scalp deliver nutrients that are necessary to create new hair cells. These nutrients increase hair cell production in the root.
As cells continue to multiply, the strand will grow longer and push through its hair follicle. Blood vessels provide an ongoing supply of nutrients that allow the hair to gain length outside the scalp. When new hairs emerge, they pass through oil glands to keep the strands shiny and soft. Oil prevents the hair from becoming damaged or brittle.
Hair grows for varying amounts of time, depending on the person. Eventually, your blood vessels stop feeding the root with nutrients, and the strand will fall out of its hair follicle. Once the hair falls out, cells begin to multiply in the root and repeat the hair growth cycle. People with healthy thyroid function lose between 50 and 100 hairs a day.
How the thyroid affects hair growth
The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate several processes throughout the body. The two main thyroid hormones are triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). These hormones promote hair growth by generating new cells in the hair follicles. They’re able to replace old strands with new ones so the hair on your head stays thick and full.
Thyroid issues occur when the gland produces too little or too many hormones. A hormonal imbalance can disrupt the hair growth cycle and prevent follicles from creating new strands. As a result, people with a thyroid condition often experience hair loss. Hair loss is a common symptom for both under-active and overactive thyroid glands.
Thyroid-related hair loss develops slowly over time. The hair growth cycle doesn’t repeat itself overnight, so it may take months or even years to notice changes in hair health. This form of hair loss usually involves uniform thinning of the hair all over the scalp. In some cases, a person may notice smooth, circular patches or bald spots. In addition to the scalp, thyroid-related hair loss can show up in other parts of the body, such as on the outer corners of the eyebrows.
Natural ways to regrow healthy hair
Losing hair can ding your self-image, but the good news is it’s possible to reverse thyroid-related hair loss. By treating your thyroid condition, you can get healthy hair back along with a renewed sense of confidence. Normal T3 and T4 levels can stimulate growth in the hair follicles and put out new healthy strands. Brittle hair will regain its luster, and thinning hairlines will look full again.
Try these remedies to promote normal thyroid function and grow thick, luscious hair.
- Cut back on sugar: Sweet treats raise inflammation throughout the body, including the thyroid gland. Inflammation makes it difficult to convert T4 into T3, which lowers hormone production and disrupts the hair growth cycle. Eliminating sugar from your diet can reduce inflammation and help regulate thyroid hormone levels.
- Take an iron supplement: Iron is a trace mineral responsible for maintaining ferritin levels. Low ferritin levels are associated with hair loss, regardless of whether you have a thyroid condition or not. Boosting your iron intake can restore healthy ferritin levels and encourage hair follicles to generate new growth.
- Eat selenium-rich foods: People with thyroid conditions often have low levels of selenium, an important mineral that aids in thyroid hormone production. Healthy sources of selenium include tuna, turkey and grass-fed beef. Adding selenium to your diet can increase hormone levels, so consult your doctor if you have an overactive thyroid. They’ll assess your condition to determine how much selenium you need.
People with thyroid conditions can get discouraged seeing hair go down the drain. But hope is not lost! Many treatments are available to balance thyroid hormone levels, which in turn can help your hair grow back. People experience thyroid conditions differently, so talk to a doctor about your options and see which solution is best for you.