Are you embarrassed by thyroid hair loss? Do you feel like you are in menopause? Wouldn’t it be great if you could reclaim your beauty while working with your doctor? If only you had a friend who knew which products to use to bring back that healthy glow to your appearance.
I know just how you feel. I thought I was in menopause at age 34, when I really had become hypothyroid after a miscarriage. The symptoms are similar – loss of a period, dry skin, restless sleep….you name it, I had it.
But the most devastating was the loss of my long hair. I couldn’t even make a skinny ponytail. My temples were thinning but bangs looked pathetic.
I couldn’t stop crying. And that made me even uglier!
Not anymore! I dried those tears and set about gathering the best hair products for thyroid hair loss and menopause and you can use them too.
But first, you need to understand how your thyroid affects hair growth.
Causes for Thyroid Hair Loss and Menopause
Thyroid and Hair
- Thyroid and Hair Go Together like a Horse and Carriage.
The hair follicles, like every other organ of the body, require thyroid hormone to function properly. The first evidence that thyroid hormones directly target human hair follicles was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism in 2008. Thyroid hormones T4 and T3 affect a variety of hair biology factors, from cycling to pigmentation, according to this study.
You’ll see that the terms thyroid hormones T4 and T3 are bolded. Why is this so crucial for those of us who are experiencing hair loss?
Levothyroxine medications are the gold standard for hypothyroidism treatment in mainstream medicine. While these medications are effective for some people, they are ineffective for others. T4 thyroid hormone is exclusively found in levothyroxine medications. T4 thyroid hormone is meant to be converted to active T3 thyroid hormone by our systems. Some people’s bodies don’t convert T4 to T3 properly, resulting in symptoms. This is why a mix of T4 and T3 thyroid hormone replacement therapy works best for many of us.Check Today's Price on Amazon
While proper thyroid treatment was an important component of my thyroid hair loss remedy, there were other factors to consider.
Low Ferritin Levels and Thyroid Hair Loss and Menopause
- Low ferritin levels
One of the most common causes of hair loss in women is a deficiency in ferritin (the stored form of iron). Because low ferritin is a typical symptom of hypothyroidism, it’s crucial to get iron testing, including ferritin, especially if you’re losing hair. It’s not enough for your doctor to tell you that your iron levels are “normal.” Levels of ferritin aren’t always checked. Get a copy of your lab findings and double-check that ferritin was checked precisely. Even if ferritin levels are within the “normal” range, they are not “optimal.”
The New York Times dubs Dr. Philip Kingsley the “Hair Guru.” What is the significance of ferritin? according to his website:
Correct ferritin levels maximize the “anagen” or “growing” phase of your hair and encourage it to reach its full length. When you don’t obtain enough iron from your diet, your body transfers ferritin from non-essential tissue, such as your hair bulb, to important tissue, like your heart.
Because all of your hair cells are created in your hair bulb, this ferritin leeching can cause your hair to shed before it reaches its optimum length.
The normal standard values for ferritin are 14-170 micrograms per litre, however our research suggests that for hair follicles to operate optimally, ferritin levels in women should be at least 80 ug/L (micrograms per litre).
Another important aspect of my thyroid hair loss treatment was addressing low ferritin levels. I had unpredictable heavy menstrual periods (which, by the way, is another indicator of hypothyroidism and menopause) and my doctors never tested me to see if I was low, No surprise that I had low ferritin.
Many of the iron supplements I tested gave me digestive problems like gas, stomach pains, and constipation. I already had that problem, thank you very much!.
My doctor analyzes my iron levels, including ferritin, on a regular basis to ensure that I’m getting the proper amount of iron supplements for my body and that I’m not taking too much, as an iron overdose can be deadly, especially after menopause, when you don’t bleed anymore to reduce levels.
To ensure that iron supplements, such as multivitamins containing iron, do not interfere with the absorption of my thyroid medication, I make sure to take them at least 3 hours apart.CHECK TODAY'S PRICE ON AMAZON
Acidity and Your Stomach Affect Thyroid Hair Loss and Menopause
- Acidity in the Stomach
Low stomach acid, it turns out, causes malabsorption of iron (which, as you may know, is vital for hair maintenance) and other essential minerals.. Before meals, consider mixing one or two tablespoons of Bragg Organic Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar in water with the ‘Mother.’ This has also helped me with bloating, heartburn, gas, and acid reflux.
Nutrient Deficiencies with Thyroid Hair Loss and Menopause
- Deficiencies in Nutrients
For those of us with hypothyroidism, nutrient deficiencies are a regular problem. Not only are nutrients necessary for thyroid function, but they also play a part in protecting our hair from falling out. A decent multivitamin is crucial, as is a balanced diet, but nutritional testing is also important because many people, like me, will require additional supplementation to reach our full potential. Zinc, selenium, vitamin D, B12, and magnesium should all be tested.
For me, nutrient deficiency is a serious problem. Every day, I take supplements to keep my vitamin levels at their best.
When my thyroid hair loss began to worsen last year, vitamin testing revealed that I was low in all of the components required for hair health. This multivitamin, Vital Nutrients Multi-Nutrients without Iron or Iodine, which can make your hypothyroid symptoms worse, is my choice.
To understand more about this, read The Menopause Diet.CHECK TODAY'S PRICE ON AMAZON
Hair Loss and Medications
- Hair Loss Caused by Drugs
There are a variety of medicines that might result in thyroid hair loss. WebMD has compiled a list of What Drugs Cause Hair Loss:
Vitamin A-based acne medicines (retinoids)
Antibiotics and antifungal medications are used to treat infections.
Pills for birth control
Drugs that reduce cholesterol
Immunosuppressive drugs are drugs that suppress the immune system.
Drugs for the treatment of breast cancer
Drugs for epilepsy (anticonvulsants)
Antihypertensive drugs, such as beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, and diuretics, are used to treat high blood pressure.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a type of hormone replacement therapy
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) are medications that are used to treat inflammation (NSAIDs)
Drugs for Parkinson’s disease
Medications for weight loss
Did you note how thyroid drugs were highlighted on that list?
Many readers have told me that when they started taking one thyroid treatment or another, their hair loss suddenly worsened. Consider when your hair loss began: was it about the same time you started using a specific thyroid medication?
Autoimmune Hair Loss
Alopecia Areata is a kind of hair loss that generates patchy bald patches on the scalp. It’s an autoimmune condition in which the immune system destroys the hair follicles by mistake.
What is the connection between this and hypothyroidism? Quite a bit.
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is an autoimmune thyroid disease that affects 90 percent of persons with hypothyroidism. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack its own thyroid gland.
Thyroid antibodies are rarely examined, despite the high frequency of Hashimoto’s disease. You could be suffering from Hashimoto’s without even realizing it. Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOAb) and Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TAb) are the two thyroid antibodies used to diagnose Hashimoto’s disease (TgAb).
When you have one autoimmune disease, you’re more likely to have others.
According to Dr. Gerald Mullin of Johns Hopkins, a person with an autoimmune disease is at risk of developing a total of seven autoimmune disorders during his or her lifetime.
If you have autoimmune disorders like Hashimoto’s and alopecia, and If this is the source of your hair loss, it’s critical to address the underlying autoimmune condition.
Imbalances in Sex Hormones as a Cause for Thyroid Hair Loss and Menopause
You’ve got to be kidding me, right?!
The indicators were all there. My menstrual cycles abruptly changed and got significantly shorter. My hair loss accelerated at the same time. Coincidence? No, I don’t believe so.
My sex hormones were tested at my doctor’s office.
It turns out that I was going through perimenopause. Perimenopause is a term used to describe the period between the beginning of menopause and the end of menopause.
It’s the bumpy path of hormonal fluctuations that leads to menopause. Perimenopause begins at a different time for each woman, however, it can begin as early as ten years before menopause.
My estrogen levels were decreasing, which was wreaking havoc on my hair, according to sex hormone tests. Hair loss can be caused by both high and low testosterone levels. In her essay The Horrors of Hair Loss for The Huffington Post, Harvard-trained MD Dr. Sara Gottfried had this to say regarding testosterone:
Is there another explanation for hair loss? There is far too much testosterone in the body. Yes, testosterone is produced by both men and women. In reality, testosterone is what puts us in a good mood, boosts our self-esteem, and keeps us feeling young and sassy.
When testosterone levels in women are excessively high — whether due to menopause, obesity, or other factors — we notice indications of male-pattern baldness and rogue facial hair growth. You’re losing hair on your head, but you’re growing new ones on your chin? It’s completely unjust!
DHT (DiHydroxy Testosterone) should be included in sex hormone testing, especially for women and men who are experiencing hair loss. DHT is a male hormone that is derived from testosterone.
The loss of estrogen during perimenopause and menopause in women makes hair particularly sensitive to DHT.
Women with PCOS who are experiencing hirsutism (excessive body hair in areas where males generally grow hair, such as the fat, check, and back) and male-pattern hair loss should have testosterone and DHT tested as well.
DHT, according to the American Hair Loss Association, is “the adversary of hair follicles on your head”:
The hormonal process of testosterone converting to DHT, which then harms hair follicles, happens in both men and women.
Under normal conditions, women have a minute fraction of the level of testosterone that men have, but even a lower level can cause DHT- triggered hair loss in women. And certainly, when those levels rise, DHT is even more of a problem.
Those levels can rise and still be within what doctors consider “normal” on a blood test, even though they are high enough to cause a problem.
The levels may not rise at all and still be a problem if you have the kind of body chemistry that is overly sensitive to even its regular levels of chemicals, including hormones.
If you have the type of body chemistry that is highly sensitive to even normal quantities of chemicals, including hormones, the levels may not rise at all and still be an issue.
The enzyme Type II 5-alpha reductase converts testosterone to DHT.
The role of 5AR inhibitors in the form of prescription drugs and topical lotions is the subject of research.
Saw Palmetto, a botanical 5AR inhibitor derived from the berry of the American dwarf tree, has gotten a lot of attention. I use Nature’s Way Saw Palmetto Berries with certified potency of 585mg of saw palmetto berries per capsule.CHECK TODAY'S PRICE ON AMAZON
Sugar and the Connection Between Thyroid Hair Loss and Menopause
- According to The Today Show, Dr. Apple Bodemer, an assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, says:
When inflammation is constantly fueled by high-glycemic, high-sugar diets, it disrupts the immune system, which is why high-sugar diets are becoming increasingly important for hair health.
The classic example of not eating enough protein is juice cleanses. It’s practically simply sugar for them. The hair has a distinct distinction.
Hair Follicle Characteristics As Early Marker of Type 2 Diabetes was the title of a recent study I came upon. If I’ve ever heard a warning bell, it’s to become focused on minimizing daily sugar consumption and eliminating blood sugar swings. You know how when you eat a high-carb, high-sugar meal, you get a rush and then crash? Those are the ones.
Have you been told that your blood sugar levels are too high by your doctor? Diabetes can be caused by low thyroid, and this could be a red flag that your thyroid needs to be re-evaluated.
When my doctor told me my blood sugar was high pre-diabetic and suggested I start diabetes medication, I asked for 6 months to try replacing my regular multivitamin with this one Designs for Health Metabolic Synergy (created by a nationally prominent doctor specializing in blood sugar), and my blood sugar was completely normal by my follow-up appointment (what a relief).CHECK TODAY'S PRICE ON AMAZON
Supplements for Thyroid Hair Loss and Menopause
The supplements listed below have made a significant difference in my hair.
The newest product for thyroid hair loss is Nutrafol, a multivitamin recommended by dermatologists and created by a woman physician. It comes in two varieties determined by your age (44 is the magic number) and targets the main causes for thyroid hair loss as I discussed above.CHECK TODAY'S PRICE ON AMAZON
Fatty Acids Omega-3
Are you following a very low-fat diet? Is your hair thinning and breaking? Hair health necessitates the consumption of essential fatty acids.
Dr. Andrew Weil is a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine and a world-renowned leader. He wrote in his essay Two Supplements for Thinning Hair:
Examine your diet to check if you’re getting enough omega-3 fatty acids.
Eat wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, herring, or mackerel two or three times a week, or sprinkle two teaspoons of freshly ground flaxseeds on cereal or salads.
You can also take a supplement containing high-quality fish oil.
Black currant oil or evening primrose oil, which can be added to your diet, contains GLA (gamma-linolenic acid).
Take 500 mg of either twice a day for six to eight weeks to see whether it helps.
Every day, I take Carlson Cod Liver Oil, which is mercury-free, and I also take evening primrose oil, which I’ll explain later. This cod liver oil comes flavored. During my childhood, my mother fed me a tablespoon of cod liver oil followed by a tablespoon of Bosco syrup. How I would have preferred this flavored oil instead.CHECK TODAY'S PRICE ON AMAZON
Evening Primrose Oil
Evening Primrose Oil is a type of oil that comes from the primrose
Dr. Kenneth Blanchard, an endocrinologist, says:
“I routinely recommend multiple vitamins, notably evening primrose oil, for hair loss. If there is a sex pattern to it – for example, if a woman is losing hair in a partially male pattern – the problem is that testosterone is being converted to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) at the hair follicle level.
Evening primrose oil is a stifler of this process. As a result, practically everybody suffering from hair loss will most likely benefit from evening primrose oil.”
This is the brand of Evening Primrose Oil that I use. Be sure and take it with food so as not to upset your stomach.CHECK TODAY'S PRICE ON AMAZON
This study on the effects of choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid (ch-OSA), a bioavailable form of silicon, on skin, nails, and hair caught my attention. Sure enough, BIOSIL, a silicon (ch-OSA) supplement, has improved not just my hair, but also my skin and nails.CHECK TODAY'S PRICE ON AMAZON
Collagen is found in your skin, hair, bones, and tendons and is the most prevalent protein in your body.
As we become older, our bodies make less and less of it. I’ve long heard about the benefits of supplementing our depleted collagen resources with a form easily digested by the human body, such as hydrolyzed collagen and gelatin, including better skin and nails and even pain relief.
When I read about a study published in Science in 2016, I got particularly interested in collagen for thyroid hair loss.
It all began with research into mouse hair follicle stem cells, where scientists discovered that age-related DNA damage causes the degradation of a protein called Collagen 17A1.
The hair follicles of older persons subsequently convert to skin cells, resulting in baldness over time. Consider the idea of each hair follicle on your head vanishing one by one, revealing bare skin, and so on.CHECK TODAY'S PRICE ON AMAZON
When it comes to thyroid hair loss, biotin is a popular vitamin advised by many doctors, pharmacists, health food stores, TV shopping channels, health websites, and more. Combing the internet for customer evaluations of various supplement brands has been an important part of my approach in finding some of the top supplement brands for me to explore in my search for thyroid wellness.
Biotin has received mixed reviews. Some people swear by biotin, while others say it doesn’t work for them or that it causes them to break out in acne.
Biotin didn’t make a major difference for me, but it might for you, and some products, like this one, have excellent reviews.CHECK TODAY'S PRICE ON AMAZON
Please note that this story was originally published in January 2016 in Endocrine News. Thyroid Awareness Month in January 2016: Biotin Supplements Can Cause Falsely High and Low Results in a Variety of Laboratory Tests, Including Thyroid Lab Tests, according to Beware of Biotin.
Biotin interferes with the test platform used for specific laboratory tests, causing falsely high and low results in a variety of laboratory tests, including thyroid lab tests.
If you’re taking biotin and your thyroid lab results start to change and don’t match your clinical symptoms, talk to your doctor about having your thyroid labs retested after a few days of stopping your biotin supplement to make sure there’s no interference.
The adrenal glands, which are placed on top of each kidney, help the body cope with stressful events. It’s not unexpected that many of us suffer from adrenal insufficiency due to our hectic, stressful lives.
How can you tell whether you’re suffering from adrenal fatigue?
Take a look at these signs…
Fatigue, sleeplessness, chronic pain, headaches, migraines, anxiety, depression, weight gain, joint inflammation, gastrointestinal disorders (constipation or diarrhea), tendonitis, and bursitis are some of the symptoms that people experience.
All of these symptoms can cause hair loss, so focus on lowering your stress levels to help your adrenals function better.