We all want long luscious hair that is pinterest worthy. But you might be where I once was, my hair was falling out, thin, and dull. I always desired to have thick long hair and at a point in my life I felt the only way I would have this hair would be through getting extensions.
Now, I have hair down to my hip that is thick and super shiny. My hair stylist always comments on how healthy and thick my hair is. So, how did I get here? In this post I will share my top tips to growing long and healthy hair. You will probably be surprised that there will be no ‘special’ products on this list. Because hair, skin, and nail health is an inside job. Our hair, nail, and skin is a direct reflection of our health.
DISCLAIMER: This article and all information on this site is meant for informational purposes only. Please consult your health care provider before supplementing with any nutrients found in this article and throughout the site. Supplementing with minerals, isolated vitamins, etc. can lead to further imbalance within the body. We advise to get proper testing to know where you need to supplement. In this article you will find recommendations of foods that are high in each nutrients, these are not medical recommendations and are mentioned for informational purposes to better educate our community on how to nourish their body further through whole food sources.
Balance Your Metabolism
As stated above our hair is a reflection of our health. If you are experiencing hair thinning, dull, and lifeless hair it is wise to take a look at your metabolism and how it is or not functioning properly.
What is your metabolism?
The professional definition is, you Metabolism is the set of life-sustaining chemical reactions in organisms. The three main functions of metabolism are: the conversion of the energy in food to energy available to run cellular processes; the conversion of food to building blocks for proteins, lipids, nucleic acids, and some carbohydrates; and the elimination of metabolic wastes. In other words, it is how you digest, absorb and eliminate nutrients.
The reason to why this is so important for hair health is that our hair like everything else in and on our bodies need specific nutrients to grow and be healthy. When our metabolism isn’t absorbing nutrients right our hair will be one of the first things to suffer.
Our bodies don’t see hair an ‘essential’ part of life. When nutrients are deficient either through lack of eating enough or lack of absorption our body will call resources and nutrients to the ‘vital’ organs and processes we need to sustain our life. Hair, not being one of them, which is why we will see hair thinning and overall hair health suffer and decline.
How to balance your metabolism?
Below you will find our simple tips on how to begin your journey into balancing your metabolism for your hair journey.
- Eating Enough: The majority of women tend to under eat. When we under eat we are restricting our body of essential nutrients it needs. You can see what you target calories and macros (protein, carbs, and fats) you should be eating using an online macros calculator. We suggest using TDEE calculator found HERE
- Balance Your Blood Sugar: When you start eating enough and focus on eating to your specific macros (proteins, carbs, and fats) you will notice you won’t crave sugar and eating a balanced diet will start to keep your blood sugar balanced.
- Eat Whole Foods: Eating a whole food diet will help your metabolism balance out by regulating your blood sugar and digesting real nutrients and cutting down on the amount of waste your body needs to get rid of.
- Heal Your Gut: The majority of us suffer from digestive issues such as, bowel irregularities, bloating, and other digestive distress. This can happen due to many reasons, some of them being, processed foods, medications, drinking tap water, pesticides, etc. It is important to ensure your gut is healthy so you can absorb nutrients from the foods you are eating. Some people find it helpful starting a probiotic and digestive enzyme to help with their digestion. We suggest working with a holistic practitioner in order to get the right probiotic for you.
Check Your Thyroid
One of the symptoms of thyroid dysfunction is hair loss. Hypothyroid is a condition where the thyroid is not properly producing enough thyroid hormones or the body isn’t properly converting and utilizing these thyroid hormones.
What is your thyroid and what does it do?
Cleveland Clinic’s definition is, The thyroid gland is a small organ that’s located in the front of the neck, wrapped around the windpipe (trachea). It’s shaped like a butterfly, smaller in the middle with two wide wings that extend around the side of your throat. The thyroid is a gland. You have glands throughout your body, where they create and release substances that help your body do a specific thing. Your thyroid makes hormones that help control many vital functions of your body.
Your thyroid has an important job to do within your body — releasing and controlling thyroid hormones that control metabolism. As mentioned above in our “balance your metabolism” tip, it is important to do all of those bullet points to also help support thyroid health.
How to know if your thyroid is off?
You can test to get your thyroid tested by your health care practitioner. When you do this, make sure they pulling a full thyroid panel that include testing your, TSH, total and free T3, total and free T4, reverse T3, Thyroid Binding Globulin (TBG), T3 Uptake, Thyroglobulin, and TPO and TG antibodies. Another great test to pull is your Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis test. This gives us an insight into the mineral patterns within your body that are essential for thyroid function. When one or more of these minerals are imbalanced we will find thyroid dysfunction. You can reach out to us to get your HTMA test HERE.
Other than getting tested you can review these symptoms to see if you might have thyroid dysfunction. Testing is the best way to know for certain if you have thyroid issues but comparing your symptoms can also be effective.
- Excessive Weight Gain (hypothyroidism) or Loss (hyperthyroidism)
- Feeling Cold
- Muscle Weakness and Joint Aches
- Hair Loss
- Dry & Itchy Skin
- Memory issues
- Heavy or Irregular periods
- Lack of focus & brain fog
- Swelling of neck
How to address thyroid imbalances?
If you get your thyroid panel tested and find out you have an overactive or underactive thyroid your doctor will more than likely put you on thyroid medication and tell you that there is not much else you can do. I have many patients who have been put on thyroid medication and have been told that they just have to live with the underactive thyroid for the rest of their life. But this isn’t always the case.
While thyroid medication is great for managing the symptoms it isn’t getting to the root cause of why our thyroid is imbalanced. When we start to ask the questions of ‘why is my thyroid imbalance’ we start to discover nutrient imbalance that could be leading to impaired thyroid functions. Just like everything else in the body, our thyroid needs specific nutrients to properly function. When we are under nourishing ourselves or not eating the right foods our body will not have enough nutrients to run certain processes with in the body. Such as, thyroid function.
Other than nutrients, your thyroid could be having issues due to toxins that are unable to leave the body. This can impair may functions within the body and bog down the liver. The liver is very important in order to convert and utilize thyroid hormone within the body.
We recommend working with a holistic practitioner , like ourselves, who can create a personalized plan to help you address your thyroid dysfunction and potentially reverse the issues. Yes, I did say that. It is possible to reverse thyroid issues such as hypo and hyperthyroidism. I myself, am living proof of this.
Reduce Hair Washing & Products
Keeping it simple and natural is extremely beneficial to their hair. Oily hair might feel gross but the natural oil of your hair is actually beneficial for overall hair health. The key is wash your hair no more than 2 times per week. and to reduce the amount of products you use on your hair. Too many products can wear down the hair follicle. Yes, even the products that promote ‘hair growth’.
When it comes to hair products here is what you need to remember, your hair is not having a deficiency of a hair product. It is an internal imbalance or chemicals used on the hair that is causing your hair health issues. Fancy hair products might work but aren’t resolving the root of the issue. So, when you stop using the fancy product your hair will go back to the way it was, making your relient on the specific product. See the genius in the business model?
Natural Hair Products
While many hair products seem fancy and potentially work as they’re advertised, I’ve personally found the more natural I went with my haircare products the healthier my hair was. This means restricting the chemicals and endocrine disruptors that are within these products. Thus improving your overall health and that contributes to your hair health.
Chemicals found in hair care products do contain chemicals such as endocrine disruptors which further hurt the thyroid and hormones. Other chemicals in hair care products are carcinogens which are specific chemicals linked to cancers. I think you’re started to understand why natural is better for not only your hair health but your overall health.
I personally love and use Calia hair products.
Reduce Hair Dying
This one goes hand and hand with the natural hair products. We all know dying our hair damages our hair. Especially if we are trying to lighten our hair. I personally have died my hair dark for 4 years. I would dye it up to 4 times per year. Yes, that meant I had crazy roots at a few times per year. But to be honest, I didn’t really care, because I knew dying my hair frequently was not good for my hormone health or hair health.
Reduce Heat Styling
This means blow drying, straightening, or curling your hair. Heat, as we know, damages the hair causing split ends. If we want to grow our hair long we need to limit the amount of heat exposed to our hair. Even if we are using natural heat protectants like argan oil.
If you are wanting to curl your hair a great alternative to using a curling iron is using the method of ‘heatless curls’ this method is using a piece of fabric to wrap your hair around while wet to allow your hair to dry curly. There are many youtube videos and products out there to help you achieve the heatless curl method. And I must say, they do work and last. Of course, depending on your hair type.
Foods That Increase Hair Growth
Eating nutrient rich foods can be extremely beneficial to your hair health. The foods listed below were foods I prioritized when my hair started to grow 1 inch per month (I am not joking). Please note that these were nutrients I needed based off my personal testing. They were nutrients that I found made my hair grow and have since found many studies explaining and supporting this growth.
- Oysters: Oysters are full of zinc. Zinc is a famous mineral that has been studied to increase the health and growth of hair and nails. I personally have experienced my hair growth increase when supplementing with zinc rich foods such as oysters. Eating oysters regularly can be beneficial to your hair health.
- Liver: Liver is a great source of Iron, vitamin A, and B vitamins. Which are both extensively studied to be beneficial for hair and skin health.
- Eggs: Eggs are a great source of protein and biotin. Eating adequate protein is important for hair growth because hair follicles are mostly made of protein. A lack of protein in the diet has been shown to promote hair loss.
Studies have shown a lack of the right nutrients, including vitamins A, C, D, and E, zinc, B vitamins, iron, biotin, protein, and essential fatty acids, may slow down hair growth or even cause hair loss. Be sure to nourish yourself with foods high in these nutrients to help promote healthy hair growth.