Why Does Hair Fall Out & What You Can Do! and more! – your SV Ayurveda Newsletter Nov 11, 2021 – #44, Vol 11

Why does Your Hair Fall Out & What Can you Do About It?
I’ve treated many cases of hair loss during my 35 years of practicing Ayurveda. People usually think that it’s mainly men who lose their hair, but I have seen many many women and even children lose their hair as well. 
If it is a genetic hair loss, then it will be very hard to treat. But there are many other reasons besides genetics for hair loss and if you can figure out all of the underlying causes. When it is not hereditary/genetic, then there might be a good chance that the hair can grow back.
My teacher Vaidya Rama Kant Mishra taught me how to treat all health conditions, including hair loss. He always reminded me to start by determining the underlying cause and he told me that there are usually multiple underlying imbalances associated with every health problem we encounter. 
And that’s one of the big problems we see in treating all diseases. Many people, including doctors, are looking for that one underlying cause of the specific disease that patient is presenting with, but it’s never that straight-forward: remember that each individual is unique PLUS our bodies entertain many imbalances over the course of a lifetime, and it’s best to identify all those at the root and address them before they develop into greater chronic imbalances and get set in, and then it becomes harder to correct.

What are some of the common causes of hair loss?
First, remember that the health of the hair reflects the health of your bone tissue. This means that if your bones are weak your hair might be also, since the hair (and the nails) are considered the malas (waste bi-products) of the bone in Ayurveda. Keep in mind your bones can be malnourished even if you haven’t been diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis. It’s actually much more common than you think.
So what could cause bone weakness? Well, lack of good quality whole non-homogenized milk, since whole milk is one of the most nourishing food for the bones. Many people in this country have no animal milk in their diet, or if they do it’s usually low fat or skim. But it’s the fat in the milk that delivers the calcium into the bones, so if you drink low fat milk the calcium will go in one end and out the other, never making its way to the bones. 
Also, the cows must be grass-fed in order to make omega 3-s in their milk. Most of the cows in this country are fed grains and their milk contains omega-6, which can be quite harmful to our health over time. 
Plus, the milk needs to be boiled in order to melt the fat down so it can absorb into the bloodstream properly. And finally, milk should either be taken on an empty stomach or cooked into a grain. It does not mix well with other types of foods such as meats, fresh fruits and vegetables.  
So skip the oats soaked overnight in cold milk and instead cook your oatmeal with milk and spices, such as whole cardamom pods and a cinnamon stick which help you digest the protein and sugar in the milk. And you could put dried fruit such as raisins or dates in with the milk, but not fresh fruit, as it will upset your stomach.
How about calcium supplements? We recommend calcium from the ocean, such as coral and pearl, which are alive with prana, nature’s healing vibration, unlike the dumb and dead synthetic calcium supplements on the market, many of which have been made in a lab, devoid of this very important healing energy. The coral has been burnt into an ash repeatedly for a few months to make the calcium molecule so small it can absorb into the bones. Most calcium supplements on the market have a difficult time absorbing since the molecule is too big.
The bone tissue is a living tissue with old bone cells breaking down and new bone cells being added to the bones every day. It’s kind of like a scaffolding with a hard matrix of calcium salts deposited around protein fibers. The bone matrix consists of tough protein fibers, mainly collagen, that become hard and rigid due to the calcium and other minerals that adhere to it. The minerals make the bone hard and stiff and the collagen proteins give the bone its flexibility, and elasticity. So don’t forget that your bones need not only minerals such as calcium, but the collagen fibers also need to be nourished.
To nourish the collagen in the bones, you could try supplementing your diet with bone broth, if you are not a vegetarian. Simmering the bones over an extended period of time will extract the minerals, collagen, glucosamine and chondroitin out of the bones. As the bones simmer for 12-24 hours in water, parsley, celery, salt, pepper and thyme, the nutrients are released into the water in a form your body can absorb and are very nourishing for the bones. Many people are surprised to hear that the ancient doctors of India prescribed bone broth to heal both the bones and the bone marrow deep inside.

Thinning hair can also be a result of a lack of iron in the diet, which can occur if the diet is too low in iron (this is especially common in a vegetarian diet) or if the person is losing too much blood. This happens quite often from a heavy menstrual flow every month.
There are great herbal combinations to prevent too much blood loss during your cycle — herbs which recalibrate the ratio between estrogen and progesterone, and there are lots of iron-rich foods you could add to your diet, such as black mission figs, raisins, dates, blackstrap molasses, prunes, dried apricots, cooked greens, and cooked beets.
Ayurveda also recommends the use of iron bhasmas, which are Ayurvedically prepared iron supplements processed through repeated incinerations to aid in the absorption of the iron into the cells in the same way the calcium and other minerals are prepared.
The ancient doctors of India wrote in their Ayurvedic textbooks that we need something from an animal everyday in our diets. So vegetarians must make sure they are getting plenty of milk and milk products, such as yogurt, panir and other freshly made soft-curd cheeses. Many people who lose their hair are deficient in animal protein since, as stated before, the matrix of the bones is made of collagen, which is from animal protein.
And don’t forget: the fat tissue transforms into the bone tissue, so you must eat plenty of good healthy fats in the diet to nourish both your fat and bone tissues: fats such as cultured ghee made from grass-fed cow butter, organic cold-pressed olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds.
Sometimes after a big stressor people will lose their hair. This is because the cortisol that they release from the adrenal glands during the period of stress both loosens the hair follicles, allowing the hair to fall out and disturbs the hair growth cycle, causing less hair growth. Once the stress is over or if you have learned ways to deal better with the stress, then the hair will usually grow back.

We use various versions of Ashwagandha in Ayurveda to prevent the release of too much cortisol when we’re under stress.
If the thyroid is weak the bones will suffer and the hair will fall out. There could be numerous reasons for a weak thyroid, such as fluoride in the drinking water, which is a poison to the thyroid. Drinking fluoridated water over the years will depress the entire function of the thyroid gland, causing the hair to fall out. Fluoride also disrupts normal bone formation, which could be another cause of thinning hair. In one study women in a high fluoride community had double the fracture risk of women in a low fluoride community. 
Also mercury depresses thyroid function. Even low levels of mercury may lead to thyroid inflammation, hypothyroidism and depression as the mercury binds to the sites on the thyroid gland that the iodine is supposed to bind to. Mercury is found in immunizations, especially the flu shot, in many species of fish, in old dental fillings, and in the air pollution, especially if you live near coal-powered plants. The thyroid gland is the only gland that uses iodine, so any iodine that comes into the body gets sucked up by the thyroid gland and is used in making the thyroid hormones. But mercury looks similar to iodine, so when it comes into the body, the thyroid actually prefers the mercury over the iodine creating either a hypothyroid or a hyperthyroid condition, both of which can make the hair fall out. 
A large part of the hypothyroid cases I see everyday in my practice are caused by these heavy metals and the vast majority of the autoimmune diseases of the thyroid, Grave’s Disease and Hashimoto’s, present with an overload of these two heavy metals. Think twice before drinking fluoridated water — most filters won’t filter it out and you can’t even remove it even if you boil the water. And if you must get the flu shot for your job ask for the one which doesn’t contain mercury — I have treated hundreds of cases of autoimmune thyroid disease which developed after receiving the flu shot every year resulting in high mercury levels disrupting (or “torturing”) as Vaidya Mishra used to call it, the thyroid gland.
So in these cases, the answer isn’t to give thyroid hormones, as they will actually put the thyroid into hibernation since it’s no longer called upon to make its hormones. Instead you have to chelate out the fluoride and/or mercury using remedies based on cilantro- cilantro is excellent for pulling out heavy metals and evacuating them from the body. Then you have to strengthen the thyroid gland using various herbs and herb formulas recommended from ancient times.
In the case of autoimmune thyroid diseases you must direct your therapies towards fixing the misguided immune system, which means focusing your attention on healing the friendly bacteria in the gut, the liver and the bone marrow. At the same time you’re healing the immune system, you have to also support the thyroid gland to perk it back up. 

Nowadays our immune systems are severely compromised from taking too many pharmaceuticals which disrupt these 3 parts of the immune system. See my book Healing the Thyroid With Ayurveda for a more in-depth discussion on how to heal the immune system to effectively reverse autoimmune diseases.
There are other causes of thyroid weakness: if Vata goes high, if the diet is too light, such as a raw foods diet or a vegan diet, if you go to bed past 10:00 PM, or if you’re constantly rushing through the day. All this activity and rushing wears out both the thyroid and the adrenal glands. And if you are in a constant state of aggravated Vata, multitasking your way through the day, then the adrenal glands will dump out cortisol, their stress hormone, which shuts down the thyroid gland. 
And birth control pills totally disable the thyroid gland as these chemicals infiltrate into the blood. This is because they deplete selenium, zinc and the amino acid tyrosine from our bodies. These are all the vitamins and minerals that are necessary for proper thyroid function. 
And the high doses of estrogen contained in the birth control pills increase the activity of TBG (Thyroxine Binding Globulin), which binds thyroid hormone. This causes lower levels of free thyroid hormone available for use by the body. Here’s an analogy I always use when counseling on the thyroid gland: we make the thyroid hormone, but it travels around the body in an automobile (bound to TBG) and just circulates around until it is needed. Once the body signals that it needs more thyroid hormone, it has to let go of the TBG, or get out of the car, so it can absorb into the cells and have its desired effects. When TBG is high, as is the case while taking the birth control pill, the body is asking for the circulating thyroid hormone, but it can’t get out of the car! Then your body suffers the consequences of low thyroid function.
So now that we’ve figured out some of the most common reasons for hair loss and have addressed these issues,  we can start talking about what to do for regrowing the hair. But a cautionary note: If you just take these remedies for hair growth without focusing on what is causing the hair to fall out in the first place, you won’t get very far.

We have lots of herbal formulas for hair growth which can be taken both orally and wonderful herbalized hair oils which can nourish the hair follicle and encourage the growth of the hair again. Some of the hair oils are based on aloe which cools down the heat in the scalp which comes from very hot toxins coming through the pores which can disrupt the hair growth as well. 
There are four types of toxins, ama, ama visha, gara visha and electromagnetic toxins. Ama visha is made inside the body when the food doesn’t digest well either because digestion is poor and/or the food is too heavy (think peanut butter, almond butter, tofu, hard cheeses, and cold dairy products, red meat, etc). If the food doesn’t combust properly in the gut it remains stuck there, never absorbing into the blood stream, just rotting and fermenting, forming an acid toxin called ama visha.
If you have taken way too many pharmaceuticals, like antibiotics, birth control pills or immunizations, these types of toxins coming from outside the body are called gara visha.
Both ama visha and gara visha are very hot toxins, which can burn the hair follicle on their way out of the body, so our aloe hair oils cool this heat down, preventing the itchy and flaky scalp that accompanies these hot toxins as they ooze through the pores.

Remember — your skin is the largest organ in the body, and it’s an organ of elimination, which means it’s dumping out toxins all day long through the pores. And that includes the skin on the scalp as well. Normally you don’t see or feel the toxins as they come out, but if there is a lot of ama visha or gara visha there, they will burn the follicle or the skin on their way out, causing all kinds of skin and scalp conditions, and of course, falling hair. 
Vaidya Mishra put Bhringraj in all the hair formulas – it is one of the most famous herbs for regrowing hair in Ayurveda. He also put herbs to nourish the bones as well as herbs to calm down the Vata so that we could address all the underlying causes of hair and bone loss.
I hope this information helps you realize that there are other ways which can regrow hair besides taking pharmaceuticals or receiving steroid injections to the scalp, which even the doctors have admitted don’t really work. These injections are especially scary for little children to receive, plus giving them a phobia of doctors after their many painful injections. One of my patients got up enough courage to ask her dermatologist to be honest with her and asked if she had ever seen steroid injections work to regrow hair, and the reply was that “honestly, no, the doctor has never seen them work”!
So you might as well try to find an approach that is more holistic, one which will treat all the underlying causes of the problem, and not just trying to force the hair to grow back while ignoring the other areas of the body that are crying out for help.
Thank you,
Dr. Marianne Teitelbaum
Cinnaminson, NJ

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