If you’re using natural methods to heal from hair loss, I want you to know; the path ahead is essentially an exercise in self love. You will not find a magic pill for hair growth, because healthy hair is a natural extension of balanced inner health. Establishing and maintaining internal balance depends on daily self care. Herbs and supplements can provide excellent support when needed, but vibrant health and hair growth is established with nourishing meals, stress release, and exercise. In addition to your daily self care rituals, a quality multivitamin is a modern necessity.
It’s confusing to choose from the hundreds of multivitamins available! Which multivitamin provides the most hair growth support? The answer may be a bit unexpected; I recommend a multivitamin that supports stress recovery. Why? Because losing hair is freaking stressful!
A huge variety of internal and external factors can lead to hair loss, which makes it extremely difficult for doctors to successfully treat. Most hair fall can be attributed to one of three main causes:
It is vitally important to acknowledge the enormous role that mental and emotional stress plays in hair loss. Even if your hair loss was initiated by nutritional deficiencies or hormonal irregularities, the stress of losing hair quickly perpetuates a vicious cycle of hair loss.
The stress of hair loss triggers the same fight/flight survival response that’s designed to save your life from imminent danger. Whether you’re facing a wild animal or worried about hair loss, your body responds to the perceived threat by flooding your bloodstream with adrenaline and cortisol. These stress hormones change your entire physiology by initiating a biochemical chain reaction that prepares your body to defend and survive. Your breathing changes and blood is diverted away from the internal organs to feed your peripheral muscles.¹
The survival response is great for getting you out of a dicey situation, but if you’re constantly exposed to these potent survival hormones your health and your hair will deteriorate.
Higher stress levels mean less protein available for hair growth:
The fight/flight stress response quiets down when you know you are in a safe and loving environment. Once your body has a chance to process the elevated cortisol levels from stress and worrying, the rest and digest system turns on (also known as the parasympathetic nervous system). When your body is in “rest and digest” your internal organs are flooded with blood so you can once again digest and assimilate protein to rebuild hair! The parasympathetic nerve pathways direct your body to regenerate and repair your muscles, bones, hair, skin and nails.
Though you can’t completely avoid stress- and I don’t suggest you try- you can learn how to turn on your parasympathetic nerve pathways so your body can rest, digest and regrow hair. Light physical activity is very soothing to our nervous system. A daily 20 minute walk is a great way to quiet the stress response and start to rebuild your parasympathetic nerve pathways. While you learn to nurture your body with daily self care, this stress recovery multivitamin will support hair growth by providing essential nutrients for hair growth and encouraging lower cortisol levels.
This is a science driven blog, so here is a look at the science behind how this multivitamin supports stress recovery and hair growth:
Vitamin C has been shown to improve adrenal function by quickly rebalancing cortisol levels after stress initiated spikes.³ Researchers looked at cortisol recovery rates after the psychological stress of public speaking and the physical stress of running a marathon. In both studies, cortisol levels returned to normal at a faster rate in the vitamin C group.
Ginkgo Biloba improves stress recovery by quickly rebalancing adrenaline, cortisol, and serotonin levels after a stressful event. Ginkgo is also thought to limit the release of cortisol by acting directly on the adrenals.⁴
Zinc is an essential micronutrient involved in protein synthesis and hair follicle formation.⁵ Zinc deficiency has been linked to hair loss.⁶
Selenium plays a role in hair follicle regeneration. Selenium deficiency has been linked to hair loss.⁷
Vitamin A activates hair follicle stem cells.⁸
The combination of L-cysteine and pantothenic acid was found to increase anagen hairs in women with hair loss originating from telogen effluvium.⁹
Copper is an essential mineral for the formation of the hair shaft.10
Brand reputation is of the utmost importance when selecting a supplement! It’s important to note that the US Food and Drug Association (FDA) does not regulate the safety, purity or quality of supplements. (Really?) This means a company can put a flashy label on pressed sawdust and sell it to you as a multivitamin. (Yes, really!)
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman assessed the chemical makeup of several herbal supplements available at large retailers such as Walgreens, Target, and Walmart. His analysis found that nearly 80% of the supplements tested did not contain the herb listed on the label. (Check out this 2016 Frontline investigation to learn more)
Stress can be a perfectly healthy part of being a woman, but chronic stress wears your body down and decreases your ability to regrow hair. Learning to access your parasympathetic nerve pathways gives your body a chance to rest, digest and rebuild hair. Learning to unpack and reverse the vicious cycle of hair loss takes time, patience and a lot of TLC. A stress recovery multivitamin will help to limit the damaging effects of chronic stress while providing essential nutrients for hair growth.
Special note: Consult a medical practitioner before beginning a supplement routine. Hypervitaminosis is another cause of hair loss.
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