Diabetes and Hair Loss (Causes and Solutions)

Ugh! The shower drain is full of hair again! You have had to clean that shower drain with increasing frequency over the past couple months. So annoying! When you finally get the courage to look at it, you realize it’s YOUR hair! You are losing hair! Your intuition tells you, “something is really wrong if I’m losing that much hair” and you finally decide to do a little research.  There are so many disorders that can cause hair loss in women! Thyroid issues, weight loss, and pregnancy are the most common causes, but did you know there is a correlation between diabetes and hair loss?

There are potentially four root causes to the loss of hair and diabetes:

  1. Lack of blood sugar control causes hormonal imbalances.
  2. Poor eating habits create vitamin deficiencies leading to hair loss.
  3. Inflammation results not only from poor eating habits and deficiencies but also from increased insulin and blood sugar levels.
  4. Your immune system decides to rebel by attacking your hair follicles.

  • What does blood sugar have to do with hormones?

It’s actually a simple answer. When you do not control your blood sugar, your body needs more and more insulin to handle the high blood sugar levels.  Higher insulin levels over time cause estrogen in women to shift to testosterone production. This testosterone production may cause hair to grow in places you don’t want it , ladies but it also can cause you to lose hair on your head! For men, testosterone shifts to estrogen, and men, two words, man boobs…

Controlling blood sugar and lowering insulin levels means you are going to have to shift away from the Standard American Diet, SAD or Modern Urban Diet, MUD.  This SAD MUD diet is composed of primarily high carbohydrate, low nutrient foods. SAD MUD includes things like oatmeal, granola bars, many yogurts, cookies, chips, pretzels, pasta, soda and breads. This junk only serves to spike your blood sugar and your insulin leading to the hormone imbalance.

  • Okay, you may want to know…how do I end up with vitamin deficiencies?

Let’s look at that list of SAD MUD junk.  These “foods” are highly processed and have virtually no nutrients. So, when you fill your diet with these foods, your body is actually becomes malnourished! You cannot get the required ninety nutrients from this crap. I call it overconsumptive malnutrition.

Your body must have vitamins A, B-Complex, C, D, E, Iron, Zinc and protein to grow healthy hair. Iron comes from lean red meats, spinach, kale and other dark green leafy vegetables. Zinc comes from nuts and seeds. Protein can come from a variety of plants like beans or soy, or from animal products like chicken, beef, pork, lamb, fish, or eggs.

These foods are not only not only nutrient dense, but also do not spike insulin.  So, eating vegetables and protein will help with deficiencies as well as lower your blood sugar and insulin needs. Two for one…and just wait…

  • How is inflammation created from increased insulin and blood sugar levels?

You have already learned that when your blood sugar is high, your insulin levels will spike up. The longer you have high sugar levels, the “stickier” your blood cells become.  Sugar is sticky right? You’ve spilled a soda before…you know that…Well, when you consume high carbohydrate junk, it converts to sugar in your blood very quickly. It’s sugar ladies, it’s sticky. When your red blood cells get sticky, we can measure it, this is your Hemoglobin A1C. This tells us HOW sticky your cells are in your bloodstream.  This marker may only be a part of the picture. See Chris Kresser’s article on blood sugar.

Can you now imagine that those cells stick together? When the cells stick together, these clumps become too big to fit through the small veins in your eyes and kidneys, primarily, but also your lower legs, feet and even your scalp could be affected.  So, these clumps create little dams in your veins and blood flow is reduced. YEP! This causes inflammation and poor circulation. Without proper blood flow, nutrients and oxygen cannot reach those areas and those areas start to break down and become less active.  Eventually the tissue will die.

This is what causes so much damage for diabetics.

High insulin levels actually signal other molecules in your body that go into your cells and turn on the production of inflammation producing molecules.  Yes, high insulin turns on inflammation. Pretty simple.

Where do you feel that inflammation? Achy, sore, bloated, puffiness, weight gain, you name it…and yes, hair loss and poor hair growth. If you think about it, hair growth isn’t necessary for life.  Although, socially unacceptable for women to have bald spots, your body is not going to grow hair if it has to sacrifice other more important survival processes.

  • What causes my immune system to attack my hair follicles

Your immune system can’t do it’s job normally when it doesn’t have the vitamins and nutrients it needs to do its job.  It’s like asking your mechanic to change your oil without a wrench and the new oil.  The foods you have chosen that generally create diabetes are nutrient poor foods and contain inflammatory fats. Couple that with the fact that most Americans are vitamin deficient, and you are setting yourself up for some kind of auto-immune issue.

Your immune system needs healthy fats like omega 3 fish oil.  I am a big proponent of fish oil for diabetics. It helps calm down the inflammation and helps make your cells more responsive to insulin, thereby improving insulin sensitivity. Look at the labels and take one that has more than 300 mg of EPA and more than 200 mg of DHA per gel cap.  make sure you take a clean brand like our professional brands.  Reach out via our form on the website and we will hook you up with great supplements!

  • What can I do about my diabetes and hair loss? Don’t wait, start now…

The easiest thing to do is download my free ebook, Clean It Up.  It has everything in it for a quick and easy start…

  1. Start shifting your diet to a diet with more whole foods, real food like protein, vegetables and a little fruit.
  2. Less bread and pasta, smaller portions to start.
  3. Drink more water, less coffee and alcohol.
  4. Start shifting your choices.
  5. See a Functional Medicine doctor to discover any vitamin deficiencies.  Your traditional medical doctor is NOT trained to look at your labs for nutritional deficiencies because they typically have NOT had any classes in nutrition in medical school. Yes, I know that’s crazy, but true…(rant over) If not me, www.functionalmedicine.org has a physician finder.

 

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