Occasionally, we are asked about hair thinning or hair loss. While it is concerning to those who experience this during their SHAPE journey, most will experience the opposite. More often, we hear about how much healthier their hair has become (growing faster, thicker, shinier.) Nail health is also improved.
It is clinically documented that hair loss can occur in aggressive weight loss programs but will improve once the patient resumes a normal diet. Any patient who has experienced hair thinning/loss in my private practice, has also experienced restored hair growth once their health is restored.
Barring there is no hormonal imbalance (i.e: hypothyroidism) the real culprit is that the body goes into starvation, causing the blood to move to the core of the body. This leaves less nutrients available to the surface (skin), therefore, hair loss can occur as will cold hands and feet. We counsel our practitioners to use the urine analysis to spot any signs of starvation. If you see such markers in the urine, alter the patients program accordingly and the hair thinning/loss should improve.
When taking full health history, ask all the pertinent questions. Knowing whether the patient is experiencing thyroid dysfunction is beneficial before starting the patient on SHAPE. If the patient has not had recent labs performed, I recommend you run a full thyroid panel to determine if there is a thyroid condition lurking. Often times, it is a T4 to T3 conversion factor and must be supported. Knowing this before they start SHAPE will guide you to supporting this weakness before the patient experiences hair thinning or loss. I recommend Thyro Life Force by Physica Energetics to support the T4 to T3 conversion.
It is common for peri and menopausal females to experience hair thinning as their hormones decline. A progesterone to estrogen ration imbalance can increase hair loss. Consider using a DIM product (I use CDG EstroDIM from Ortho Molecular) to help balance this ratio. Excess triceps fat is a strong indicator of an estrogen imbalance.
Note: Hair loss is rarely seen in males during SHAPE.
If your patient is losing weight aggressively and is experiencing hair loss, consider supplementing with a good whey protein supplement. (ITI’s Physcian’s Protein Complex) Consider adding a good quality fish oil with a higher DHA to EPA ration. I personally use Orthomega Select DHA from Ortho Molecular but certainly use what product you put your trust in as long as it has the higher DHA to EPA ratio. DHA is a brain nutrient. I also recommend an herb called Sheng Fa Wan: Pine Mountain Herbs – which is also effective for alopecia areatum. Biotin can also be a supplemental option.
In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) hair is “governed” by the water element (representing the Kidneys and Bladder.) If the patient is experiencing kidney deficiency symptoms (joint pain, excess nighttime urination, poor libido, LBP, and even meno/andropause) consider supportive measure for the kidneys. I like to use Kidney Korrect by Designs for Health and/or adrenal support (Adrenal Life Force or HPA Axis Life Force by Physica Energetics or HPA Adapt by Integrative Therapeutics.)
Although axillary temperature testing is viewed poorly by today’s medical establishment, it can give an “inside look” at thyroid function and I consider it a helpful tool for determining the need for thyroid support. When you recommend this to your patient, ask them to follow these directions:
Upon awakening (before getting out of bed), place a thermometer in the axilla. Wait for digital beep or 10 minutes with a mercury thermometer and record temperature. Some believe this test should be done on day 2, 3 and 4 of menstrual flow; however, this is not always an option. I do not adhere to this recommendation.
Axillary temperatures above 97.8 indicate no thyroid issue. Temperatures less than 97.2 indicate hypothyroid is potentially a problem. The in-between requires additional questioning.
Thyroid “governs” memory, will power and motivation. If the patient is experiencing heart beat irregularity, nervousness, allergies, poor sleep, low libido, headaches, lump in throat, or problems swallowing can indicate a thyroid insufficiency.
I might add, it is rare to have a subclinical thyroid issue and not also have adrenal insufficiency.
This requires the “THINK & LINK” mentality.