Why am I still losing my hair?
Losing hair can be incredibly scary, and sometimes even traumatic. It is one of the most common symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease and one of the most frustrating ones.1 Not only do you have low energy, gain weight, have brittle nails and a terrible mood – on top of that you may also be losing your hair. No wonder you want a solution, yesterday.
The good news is thyroid dependent hair loss is reversible when the thyroid function is reregulated. It may take some time, but it is possible to see good results in about 2 months.2
But first, why does Hashimoto lead to hair loss?
Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease, which means your own antibodies are attacking your thyroid. It’s like little soldiers mistaking their own for the enemy (friendly fire). This constant attack causes long-term inflammation of the thyroid and over time the thyroid struggles to keep up its function and finally is not capable of producing enough thyroid hormones.
Thyroid hormones are produced and then released into the bloodstream, where they reach the whole body to perform their function. They regulate the metabolic rate, stimulate the metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins, are essential for optimal brain function and even affect fertility, ovulation, and menstruation.3
Just like a house that needs the right amount of bricks and concrete to be stable, your hair needs the right amount of proteins, fats and minerals to be built. If your body is not able to utilize those metabolites correctly it results in brittle, straw like hair or overall hair loss.
What are other reasons for my hair loss?
Hair loss can be a sign of multiple different conditions.
For example, in women after giving birth or after menopause it is common to experience hair loss or hair thinning. Too much or too little of Testosterone can also lead to hair loss. If you have Hashimoto’s, chances are high you may also have other autoimmune diseases. Having one autoimmune disease can increase the risk of having others and some, like celiac disease and alopecia areata, can also lead to hair loss. 4
Other reasons are increased stress, nutrient deficiencies, some medications, inflammation, and low stomach acid5. Even treatment with T3 can lead to an initial increase in hair loss by increasing your metabolism.
What can I do?
Know your labs; are your hormones optimal, or do you have nutrient deficiencies? Make an appointment with a health care specialist to get your blood tested. When testing your thyroid, it is all about having optimal levels instead of just normal.
Optimal levels of TSH are below 2mIU/L, while free T4 should be above 1.4 ng/dl, free T3 above 3.4 pg/ml and reverse T3 below 13 ng/dl.
Additionally, adapting your diet is essential.
A gluten free, gut healthy diet, low in processed carbs and sugar, as well as high in healthy Omega-3 fatty acids found in cold water fish, grass-fed meat and oils has shown to be beneficial.
A supplementation of Vitamin D, B12, zinc, iodine, magnesium, selenium, and iron should be considered, as well as starting a medication after checking with a health professional.
Hair loss can make you feel desperate and hopeless, but there are many promising treatment options. To find the right treatment plan for you it is essential to work with a skilled specialist in this field.
- Gaitonde DY, Rowley KD, Sweeney LB. Hypothyroidism: An Update. AFP. 2012;86(3):244-251.
- Hair loss and thyroid disorders. British Thyroid Foundation. Accessed July 16, 2021. https://www.btf-thyroid.org/hair-loss-and-thyroid-disorders
- Shahid MA, Ashraf MA, Sharma S. Physiology, Thyroid Hormone. In: StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing; 2021. Accessed July 19, 2021. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK500006/
- Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Hair Loss: Everything You Need To Know. WebMD. Accessed July 19, 2021. https://www.webmd.com/connect-to-care/hair-loss/hashimotos-thyroiditis-and-hair-loss
- Hair loss: Who gets and causes. Accessed July 19, 2021. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/causes/18-causes