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by: Better Not Younger
May 23, 2022
Digestive problems and hair loss are two common issues many people, especially women, face. But what may be less widespread is the knowledge that digestion and hair loss can go hand in hand, because your gut is tied to nearly every function in your body. When your gut health is off, everything is off—and that means if you have poor gut health, you could even experience hair thinning and hair loss. Gut health and hair loss may not have been something you considered when meal planning for the week, but perhaps you will going forward! There’s a lot to understand about gut bacteria and hormones, digestive problems and hair loss, and all the ways you can improve your own gut health. So let’s get started!
You’ve probably heard about gut health, but do you actually know what it means? When it comes to gut health, we’re talking about the amount of bacteria in your body that helps keep everything functioning properly. When your gut is healthy, it’s digesting food properly, supplying nutrients to the bloodstream, and sending messages to the rest of your body about all of it.
Gut health doesn’t just affect your digestion, though. This balanced system can also affect your body in other ways, especially if it’s thrown out of whack. Health problems like stomach pain, fever or sore throats can be tied to poor gut health. Another concern with gut bacteria and hormones is your serotonin levels, which is why some people also feel emotionally low when their gut’s not functioning right.
Digestive problems and hair loss have an unfortunate link that’s important to understand—and it can come about for various reasons. One side effect of poor gut health is inflammation. While inflammation can be problematic for your entire body—generally speaking, inflammation can cause fever, joint pain and more, though it’s not always tied to gut health specifically, according to the Cleveland Clinic—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 and there is even some research around this type of inflammation migrating to other parts of the body, including hair follicles and causing some hair to fall out. This tends to be rare, though.
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. And because your estrogen levels go down as you age, allowing your estrogen levels to be off because of your gut makes it even more of a concern that you could experience hair loss, a common side effect of low estrogen.
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.
Another thing to consider with digestive problems and hair loss is simply how your body processes vitamins and minerals. When your bacterial ecosystem is in symbiosis, your body’s getting the vitamins and nutrients you’re putting into it—in short, all those hair-loving vitamins like biotin, vitamin K and more are making their way to your skin and hair, keeping it growing and healthy. But when your microbiome is off, those vitamins don’t go where they need to. And when your scalp is deprived of the vitamins that help your hair grow, it not only halts that growth but can even weaken the follicles to the point of hair falling out. So while you may never have considered gut health and hair loss, it is actually a very real concern.
You’ll also want to consider the link between leaky gut syndrome and hair loss. With leaky gut syndrome—a side effect of bad gut health—the bad bacteria in your gut that aren’t supposed to get out, do get out and can travel to other parts of your body and cause harm and damage. The connection between leaky gut syndrome and hair loss is possible, because bad bacteria can harm your scalp and even cause your hair to fall out. Digestion and hair loss is a problem, but it’s fixable!
If you’re worried about digestive problems causing hair loss, just know that it is possible to improve your gut health. Take small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (or SIBO) and hair thinning, for example. If you’ve dealt with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, you know the ultimate way through it is with antibiotics, but with most gut health concerns, a change in diet is a good way to start. SIBO and hair thinning have the same type of link that all of these gut health concerns do, and regulating the bacteria in your body can help keep this in check.
More serious gut health concerns will need to be handled by a healthcare provider, but there are small things you can do at home if you want to manage your gut. Your diet is your first line of defense—and it’s important for your hair health, too. Healing alopecia through your diet involves eating a balanced diet with the vitamins, minerals, protein and bacteria that you need to help keep your microbiome happy.
But if you don’t love fermented foods (which is where you can find good bacteria), a probiotic can supply you with more bacteria. Probiotics boost the good bacteria in your gut, bringing everything to normal levels and keeping your body’s systems regulated. Other benefits beyond hair health include improved heart health, a better immune system, overall wellness and even healthier-looking skin.
If you want to add a probiotic to your daily routine, consider our You Glow Girl Probiotic Skin Supplement. It introduces a custom probiotic blend of good gut bacteria to support the existing good bacteria in our gut for improved gut function and free radical defense, which can help with brighter, better-looking skin and support overall health so we feel well as we age.
And while you’re working on your gut health, you can still make sure you’re nourishing your hair with the right products to keep it as healthy as possible. Worrying about digestive problems and hair loss doesn’t have to rule your life! Wash your hair with our Second Chance Repairing Shampoo for Dry or Damaged Hair to bring it back to life and follow that with Second Chance Repairing Conditioner for Dry or Damaged Hair. You can also go in with a restoring mask to smooth and repair damaged hair and a scalp serum to nourish your scalp and promote thicker, healthier hair.
Tell Us: Have you tried to heal your alopecia through your diet or by improving your gut health? Share in the comments below!
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