Understanding the Gut Health and Hair Relationship
Have you ever wondered what aspects of your health may be related to each other? For example, it is known that if we drink enough water we will be able to stay hydrated and consequently our skin may look better. Same thing if we eat fruits and vegetables and also if we eat junk food. What we consume and how we do it can have an impact on our bodies and image. But how about those deep connections we may never have thought about before. The truth is, everything is connected and how we heal our bodies from the inside will reflect how good they truly are on the outside.
One of the best and most important ways to track this is by monitoring our gut health in order to maintain it thriving and constantly improving. Why? Well, the digestive tract respresents an important connection between the body’s internal environment and the external one. The digestive tract is home to a complex and diverse ecosystem: the gut microbiome. The integrity of the gut microbiome is critical for optimal total-body well-being.
Take a look at the most common factors that trigger an unhealthy gut and consequently hair loss. Here’s How Gut Health and Hair Growth/Loss are related:
Poor Gut Health Can Cause Scalp Inflammation
Digestive problems and hair loss have an unfortunate link that’s important to understand. One side effect of poor gut health is inflammation. While inflammation can be problematic for your entire body, it can also affect your scalp and hair follicles. When this happens, hair loss can follow. In fact, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which is an inflammation-related disorder of the large intestine, is linked to poor gut health. There is even some research around this type of inflammation migrating to other parts of the body. That includes hair follicles that cause hair to fall out. This tends to be rare, though.
Poor Gut Health Can Lower Estrogen Levels
Understanding Gut Health and Hair means knowing that your microbiome (all the bacteria in your body) can also affect your hormone levels. There’s research around how hormones can fall out of balance, including your estrogen, when your gut health is off. Estrogen levels go down as we age. Therefore, allowing estrogen levels to be off because of your gut makes it even more of a concern. You could experience hair loss, a common side effect of low estrogen.
Poor Gut Health Can Cause Stress
Here’s How Gut Health and Hair Growth/Loss are related: Just as there’s a gut-skin connection, a gut-brain connection is real too. When your gut bacteria isn’t balanced, this can affect your stress levels. A troubled gut can send signals to your brain leading to stress or anxiety, and we all know how stress can be a trigger for hair loss. When our body undergoes high levels of stress for prolonged periods of time, this can push our hair follicles into the resting stage of hair growth.
Ok now what can you do?
It is important to address inflammation and its origins—commonly associated and initiated within the digestive tract. From the functional medicine clinical perspective, the majority of diseases start and end in the gut. The gut is a strong and impactful system tied to multiple chronic conditions, including hair thinning and loss. Optimizing gut health helps develop necessary foundations tied to hair health. You can do this with therapeutic opportunities, pre- and probiotic support, dietary modification, environmental intervention, and stress management.
So… visit a nutritionist or your trusted doctor to check if you need to be doing anything else to improve your gut health. Maybe get to know more about what does your body good and what doesn't. Try to check in with yourself in order for you to realize what foods, drinks and habits feel good and how you could maybe improve or prevent others. For example, let's say caffeine makes you anxious or chocolate increases your stress when you consume a lot of it and you usually do that because you were stressed in the first place. In those cases the best option is to find alternatives like caffeine free drinks or crunchy healthy snacks to help you get through your day without interfering with your body's wellness.
If you try to do that and also stay active and conscious while keeping a healthy hair care routine, your gut will definitely thank you and your hair will show how much.