The connection between the thyroid and hair loss may not be immediately clear. But hair loss, sometimes known as alopecia, is one of the classic symptoms of low thyroid or hypothyroidism, along with fatigue, weight gain, constipation, depression, muscle or joint pain, sensitivity to cold and a number of other problems.
The link between a low functioning thyroid and hair loss, and all the other symptoms named above, is that they are all related to a decrease in energy production or metabolism. The thyroid gland produces hormones that control metabolism. When your thyroid gland is damaged, either by an autoimmune disorder such as Hashimoto’s Disease or any of the other many causes of hypothyroidism, it does not produce an adequate supply of the hormones your body needs to produce energy necessary for normal bodily functions.
Too much or too little thyroid hormone can cause hair loss so let’s talk about why that happens. With too little thyroid hormone, your body will not properly metabolize the protein you eat which is important for growing healthy hair. Additionally, your stomach acid levels will drop so you won’t absorb important vitamins and minerals that are important for hair growth.
The most important vitamins and minerals for hair growth are iron, zinc, b-vitamins such as B12, folate, B5, and biotin, and vitamin C. Iron levels usually drop in hypothyroidism so every woman should have her ferritin levels checked to see if her iron stores are low. Iron is the most most abundant mineral in the body which makes it extremely important for hair growth.
When iron and zinc levels drop, hypothyroidism usually follows along with hair loss. You may also be deficient in b-vitamins and vitamin C so supplementation may also be necessary if you have hair loss along with hypothyroidism.
Too much thyroid hormone such as being over-prescribed thyroid hormone or due to Graves’ disease can also lead to hair loss. Usually, too much T3 in your body will lead to hair loss so make sure to have it checked if you’re taking medication and experiencing hair loss. A very low TSH can also be an indicator that you are taking too much.
What Can Be Done About Thyroid and Hair Loss?
It’s important to get your thyroid in the right balance which should correct the hair loss problem. However, if you are deficient in some of the key vitamins and minerals mentioned above, the only way to restore them is through supplementation. Be sure you are getting thoroughly evaluated for iron, zinc, the b-vitamins and vitamin C. It will be very hard to correct the hypothyroidism and hair loss if you are deficient in iron and zinc.
By researching the connection between thyroid and hair loss, you have already taken an important step towards naturally renewing your health. Knowledge is power when it comes to healthcare. Traditional doctors will often prescribe medications to treat thyroid symptoms such as hair loss. But medications don’t work for all patients, and many people don’t want to have to take drugs indefinitely.
If you are just starting your research into low functioning thyroid and hair loss, read The Complete Thyroid Health and Diet Guide by Dr. Nikolas R. Hedberg. This book provides a comprehensive overview of research into hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis or Autoimmune Thyroid, as well as in depth analysis of many natural ways of restoring healthy thyroid function.
Hashimoto’s Disease and Hair Loss
Those with Hashimoto’s Disease are more likely to experience problems with thyroid and hair loss conditions such as alopecia areata. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune condition, which means the body’s own immune system attacks the thyroid gland with antibodies that damage the thyroid gland.
If you have Hashimoto’s disease, then the most important thing to do is work with a doctor who understands how to find the underlying causes of this disease. If you don’t find the cause, then you won’t be able to get the thyroid in balance. Even if your medication is the right dose, the autoimmune component of your thyroid problem is not addressed which could explain why you are still suffering from symptoms such as hair loss.
Individuals who suffer Hashimoto’s related thyroid and hair loss problems may have more than one autoimmune condition. The most common cause of hypothyroidism worldwide is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. It is also unfortunately one of the most undiagnosed conditions. If you are suffering from thyroid and hair loss issues, find a practitioner with experience and knowledge into Hashimoto’s Disease and other autoimmune problems.
What other thyroid and hair loss connections are there?
Stress can cause hair loss due to excessive production of cortisol and adrenaline from the adrenal glands. The thyroid-adrenal-pancreas axis is intimately connected so your thyroid and adrenals must be in good balance in order to correct your hair loss.
The other major factor is the gut-thyroid connection. All of the nutrients and protein your body needs for healthy hair growth are absorbed in the gut and if your thyroid is out of balance then your gut will be as well. Hypothyroidism causes low stomach acid and sluggish bowel motility which can lead to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, bacterial dysbiosis, parasites, candida, and bowel inflammation. Biotin is made by the bacteria in your gut which is important for hair growth but biotin levels can drop due to an unhealthy gut from hypothyroidism. The same is true for the other vitamins and minerals mentioned above.
Estrogen is also important for healthy hair and hypothyroidism can lead to poor estrogen metabolism resulting in hair loss. Many women with PCOS have Hashimoto’s disease and PCOS can cause hair loss as well.
What should you do if you have hair loss due to a thyroid issue?
It’s important to work with a functional medicine doctor who can look at all the systems of your body and identify the cause of your thyroid issue and hair loss. Get tested for your gut health, hormones, vitamins, minerals, and detailed blood tests to identify any deficiencies and imbalances that you may have. It is actually fairly straightforward to figure out what is causing hypothyroidism and hair loss so work with someone like Dr. Hedberg who can do the necessary detective work to help you get well and get your hair growing again.