Hair Loss due to Vitamin Deficiency

What is one of the most common topics on people’s minds? The answer is hair, literally and figuratively (corny, I know). Being of Middle Eastern descent, I never thought I would ever have to worry about hair loss since I have had an abundance of it my entire life, up until now. There was a time when I wanted to shave half my head because I couldn’t manage. Now, I worry every time I see a strand of hair that has been pulled out into my brush. If you are like me, you should continue reading because I have found that hair loss is not solely due to aging, but also due to lacking certain vitamins and minerals in the body.

The first and most important vitamin for hair loss is biotin (also known as vitamin H or vitamin B7). Biotin helps the body produce collagen, which in turn helps grow strong and healthy hair. It makes the diameter of the hair shaft thicker and less fragile so it is more resistant to breakage as well. Biotin is also thought to prevent grey hair by producing melanin, which is a protein that gives hair and skin its color. As an added bonus, biotin also helps build strong, healthy nails and skin. Zinc also plays a critical role in hair loss because it aids in cell reproduction, hormonal balance, absorption of vitamins, and in protein synthesis, all of which promote the process of hair growth. Zinc also maintains the oil-secreting glands connected to your hair follicles, thus decreasing the chances of your hair falling out. Iron is also very important in preventing hair loss because it helps carry oxygen to your scalp and hair. Iron is a key component of hemoglobin, which is what transports oxygen in your blood throughout your body. Lastly, make sure you have enough protein in your diet. Protein helps supply your body with the building blocks it needs to grow healthy, strong hair. If you are a vegetarian, you can still get your protein from such things as beans, tofu or even dried apricots.

Some products that I have found to work really well are Biosil, which is a tasteless, liquid form of biotin you can just mix with your water and drink, and Biotin Forte, which contains both biotin and zinc along with other B vitamins. Massaging your scalp also helps because it improves blood circulation to that area, which then promotes more hair growth. Some people like to flip their head upside down as well when doing this but I don’t know how practical that would be in most places, but to each his own. Thanks for reading. This has been your daily dose of Vitamin Jas.

Everything you Want and Don’t Want to Know about Rogaine and Propecia

Hair loss is a scary thought, and for most of us, a depressing reality. It is a part of the aging process and, unless you are genetically blessed, it is something you will have to deal with sooner or later. I have written about hair loss before and how there are natural remedies and preventative measures out there that are definitely worth trying at first. However, if all else fails, there are products such as Rogaine and Propecia that one can turn to. The real question, though, is: how safe and effective are they?

Finasteride, which is the generic name for Propecia, was first approved by the FDA under the name Proscar as a treatment for BPH (enlargement of the prostate gland). This medication works by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone to the hormone known as DHT, which also happens to be the hormone that causes hair loss in both men and women. Five years later, the FDA approved this medication under the name Propecia as a treatment for male pattern baldness. The approval for female pattern baldness was not given largely because finasteride was not proven to be as beneficial for women since our testosterone levels are naturally lower than men and also because it has the potential to cause severe birth defects in women who are pregnant. Over the years, Propecia has been shown to work better at preventing hair loss than actually promoting hair regrowth and will only cause hair to grow in places where there is still hair. So, if there are areas on the scalp that are already completely bald, taking Propecia will not help. That is why people start taking Propecia at a young age, even before their hair loss has begun, because it will not work once your hair is gone. As for the side effects of Propecia, they include decreased libido, impotence, testicular pain, and decreased semen volume. However, clinical studies have shown that these side effects occur in less than 5% of users and can be reversed once Propecia is stopped.

Rogaine, unlike Propecia, can be bought over the counter and does not need a prescription. Its generic name is minoxidil and was first introduced as a medication for hypertention. However, clinical trials showed that one of the side effects of this medication was hypertrichosis, also known as excessive hair growth. So, soon after, it became FDA approved for hair loss for both men and women. The way Rogaine works has still not been proven, but it is believed to increase blood flow to hair follicles, which then revitalizes and widens them to produce thicker strands of hair. The increased blood flow also prolongs the anagen stage of hair growth, resulting in longer strands and a higher number of them as well. It is said that Rogaine works best for the crown of the scalp for men and not for the hairline, however, it has still shown to be effective in both areas for a large majority of users. For women, it improves hair growth all over the scalp. The reason Rogaine affects men and women differently is because men and women lose hair in different places as they age. Male pattern baldness is predominant at the crown of the scalp whereas female pattern baldness is more evident in the front. Rogaine is typically safe and well tolerated if used properly since very little minoxidil is absorbed after topical application, and side effects are generally mild and rare. Side effects include facial hair growth, eczema, headache, dizziness, irritant dermatitis, and allergic contact dermatitis.

Hair loss can be due to a number of things including stress, malnutrition, hormones and even genetics. Before starting any regimen, it is always best to discover the exact cause of the problem in order to find the appropriate treatment. Propecia and Rogaine work best for hereditary hair loss and do not work for disease or stress induced hair loss. Both products can be used together if desired, but make sure to weigh the risks versus the benefits before starting and think about if the potential side effects are worth it to you. Thanks for reading, this has been your dose of Vitamin Jas.