Hold on to your hair
Q: I read that I could take fish oil capsules to combat my thinning hair, but I wonder if there’s anything else I could do. I feel like I’m way too young for this, and I’m a woman, so it’s even worse. Do you have any other suggestions?
Dr. Wright: Taking omega-3 fatty acids in the form of fish oil is a very good first step towards slowing hair loss. The next thing I would urge you to do is check with your doctor right away to see if hair loss is one of the side effects of any medications you may be taking. Many blood thinners and medications to treat arthritis, depression, gout, heart problems, and high blood pressure are known to cause hair loss.
If that isn’t the case, there are two other natural approaches you can try. The first is to increase your iron intake.
A three-year study of hair loss in women conducted in the late 1990s identified iron deficiency as the cause of hair loss in 72 percent of pre-menopausal women. But you don’t need to be anemic to start losing your hair from lack of iron: Even deficiencies that don’t qualify for an “anemic” diagnosis can contribute to this problem.
Fortunately, increasing your iron intake is relatively simple to do through your diet. Dried fruits, fish, meat, legumes, and dark leafy greens have high iron content. But if you find that eating more of these foods doesn’t help, you might need to take an iron supplement — although if you do so, you should seek the assistance of your physician.
Another way to combat hair loss is to supplement with MSM (methylsulfonyl methane), an important component of proteins found throughout the body, like the ones in your hair, nails, skin, and tendons. Since MSM is a sulfur-containing supplement, be sure to take a small amount of another nutrient called molybdenum along with it. Molybdenum helps your body metabolize sulfur.