Issue #185 March 10, 2014

Welcome to KnowYourThyroid.

I hope everyone is well.

Today, Louise O’Connor is going to discuss hair loss. I know many of you have problems with hair loss due to your thyroid issues, so this information should be helpful. Louise also explains the difference between thyroid hair loss and female pattern baldness.

Enjoy!

Corri

 

Worried about thyroid hair loss? {Why low T3 + T4 triggers this type of hair loss}.

By Louise O’Connor

Your hair health is an excellent barometer of how well your thyroid is working.

If you are concerned about your hair getting thin, or are noticing a greater amount of hair loss the root cause could be your thyroid.

 

Thyroid hair loss is one of the most common and distressing signs of an underactive thyroid.

Hair loss linked to an underactive thyroid causes hair loss from all areas of the scalp. It may even lead to noticeable thinning of the hair, and bald patches in extreme cases.

The link between thyroid hormone activity and hair health

The thyroid hormones fuel up day to day function of the hair follicles. This means a drop in thyroid hormone levels triggers a significant amount of hair loss.

A landmark study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism established this important link between thyroid health and hair loss.

The researchers studied human scalp tissue taken from people who had undergone recent plastic surgery. They investigated how the key thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) directly target the hair follicles.

The research revealed the thyroid hormones play an important role in regulating the natural growth and shedding cycles of hair. Most importantly the thyroid hormones slow the release of hair from the scalp and activate the growth of new hair.

If you have experienced a drop in your thyroid hormone levels a return to healthy levels of T3 and T4 will help revitalize the hair follicles. Over time this will put a halt to thyroid hair loss.

Stress triggers greater thyroid hair loss

We all know stress is not good for overall health. When it comes to thyroid health, too much stress slows thyroid function.

Extreme emotional stress, childbirth, surgery, or severe infections are just some of the stresses that can have a negative impact on your thyroid.

A drop in circulating thyroid hormone levels can set off a range of hypothyroid symptoms.

Many individuals suffer sudden or greater thyroid hair loss soon after experiencing high amounts of stress.

Early greying of hair is also linked to low thyroid hormone activity

It may surprise you to learn that premature greying of hair also indicates low thyroid hormone activity.

The thyroid hormones stimulate melanin production within the hair follicles. Melanin is naturally produced to give color to both your skin and hair.

When melanin levels drop it causes the hair to turn grey. The connection between a drop in thyroid function and early greying of the hair is often missed.

Why female pattern baldness is different to thyroid hair loss

Hair loss associated with low thyroid hormone activity is different to female pattern baldness.

Female pattern baldness usually starts on the crown of the head, or there is noticeable thinning on the top of the scalp.

This type of baldness is due to a hormone imbalance. There is usually an increase in androgens, the male type hormones that should only be present in small amounts in women.

When women have excessive levels of androgens it stimulates male type baldness. This is the type of baldness commonly seen in men.

Putting a halt to hair loss

If you are worried about hair loss it is important to discuss comprehensive thyroid testing with your healthcare practitioner. The top 5 thyroid tests I recommend include; thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), free T4, free T3, reverse T3, and a measure of thyroid antibody levels.

Treating an underlying thyroid disorder is an important step to improve the health of your hair. As the thyroid hormone levels return to healthy levels this will help regenerate new hair growth. This means you should see improvements in both the appearance of your hair and less visible hair loss.

A nutritious diet, specific nutrients and lifestyle modifications can greatly assist healthy thyroid function.

Louise O’Connor is a leading Australian Naturopath & Wellness Coach who specialized in thyroid health. The Natural Thyroid Diet is her top-selling e-book that contains a wealth of information on recovering your thyroid health from a holistic, Naturopathic viewpoint. Louise believes that when you are empowered with credible information and an awareness of new opportunities it really is possible for you to finally take control of your thyroid health… to reclaim the vibrant health YOU deserve!

 


References

Van Beek N, Bodo E, Kromminga A, et al. Thyroid Hormones Directly Alter Human Hair Follicle Functions: Anagen Prolongation and Stimulation of Both Hair Matrix Keratinocyte Proliferation and Hair Pigmentation. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Nov;93(11):4381-8.