Question answer. Hair and scalp


I always have dry hair. Could this be related to my diet?

Answer: Your body works well — it prioritizes the distribution of essential nutrients in vital organs, supplying nutrients last to those organs that are the least important for survival. Your hair may be important to your appearance, but it’s actually at the bottom of your body’s priority list, so if your hair is dull and lifeless, it usually means you’re taking in so few nutrients that there’s nothing left for your hair. Lack of essential fats found in oily fish and seeds (such as pumpkin and sunflower) is the most common cause of dry hair. Therefore, eat oily fish: sardines or trout three times a week and a handful of seeds every day with salad or bread. To ensure adequate intake, supplement with fish oil, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Cod liver oil is a very good source. To ensure there are no other nutrient deficiencies, add a good multivitamin and mineral supplement.

Question: I suffer from dandruff. You can help?

Answer: The first thing to check is whether any hair product — shampoo, mousse, gel — irritates the scalp. Many contain alcohol and harsh chemicals that can dry out your skin, causing itching and flaking. Try another remedy to see if it makes any difference, especially if you changed brands just before. Some people find that rubbing pure aloe vera gel onto the scalp while the hair is still damp after washing helps.

There is another approach — from within. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are key for the skin as they make up a part of every skin cell and prevent dryness and flaking. Fatty fish, nuts, and pumpkin and sunflower seeds are especially rich in these important nutrients. Try eating wild or farm-raised salmon, herring, sardines, or mackerel three times a week, crush a tablespoon of the seeds to sprinkle on bread in the morning, and eat a handful of nuts in the evening. You can add fish oil capsules (1g per day) or a tablespoon of flaxseed oil each day. You may also be deficient in vitamin A, which is important for skin health. So eat eggs, yellow and orange fruits (mangoes, apricots) and vegetables (peppers, sweet potatoes), take a multivitamin that contains at least 2500 mcg of vitamin A (but no more than 3000 mcg if you are pregnant). Many people find sulfur containing MSM to be helpful for all skin problems. Take 3 g per day. MSM is also included in a topical cream.

Q: I am losing a lot of hair. Do I have any nutritional deficiencies?

Answer: Hair loss is associated with many different factors, from stress to general nutritional deficiencies. Nutrients especially affecting hair loss are iron, vitamin B1, vitamin C, and the amino acid lysine. Some hair strengthening supplements contain them all. To optimize hair growth, make sure you get adequate protein from fish, lean chicken, and soy products like tofu, as well as zinc, which is essential for hair growth. Meat, shellfish, eggs, whole grains such as oats, nuts, and pumpkin and sunflower seeds are rich in zinc. Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) has also been shown to stimulate hair growth. Take a multivitamin that contains at least 15 mg of zinc and 50 mg of vitamin B5. If you have other signs such as fatigue, dry skin, and low libido, you may have an underactive thyroid, so ask your doctor to do this.

Question: My hair is thinning on the top of my head and I don’t want to turn into a monk. How can you help?


Answer: Premature hair loss in men can occur for three reasons: hormones, circulation, and diet. The body creates the sex hormone testosterone and stress hormones from the same raw materials. Too much stress can upset the balance and promote hair loss.

Hair loss in women is associated primarily with iron deficiency. The ability to absorb and utilize iron is determined by the amino acid lysine plus vitamin C and vitamin B12. Some hair supplements that contain all of these ingredients are good for both men and women.

Question: My hair grows very slowly. Your suggestions?

Answer: You may just have a natural tendency to grow hair more slowly than most people. There are also other external factors that affect the rate at which hair grows. The first is sunlight, which speeds up cell division. This means that during relatively dark winters, your hair will grow more slowly (unless you’re away to the Caribbean). Another is that you may be deficient in protein, zinc, or vitamin B5, all of which affect hair growth. Make sure you’re getting enough high-quality protein (two servings per day) in the form of fish, lean chicken, or soy. Zinc is found in meat, shellfish, eggs, whole grains (oats or rye), nuts, and pumpkin and sunflower seeds. And take a multivitamin containing at least 15 mg of zinc and 50 mg of vitamin B5, plus other B vitamins.

Source: Adapted from 500 Health and Nutrition Questions and Answers

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