Hair Loss: Understanding the Role of the Nervous and Endocrine Systems
Hair is often seen as a reflection of our identity and health. Interestingly, it is more connected to our body's complex systems than we realize. Hair growth is influenced by various physiological factors, including the nervous and endocrine systems.
The Connection Between Hair and the Nervous System
Hair follicles are intertwined with a network of tiny nerve fibers, making our hair an extension of the nervous system. Two types of nerve fibers play a crucial role:
Sympathetic Nerve Fibers: These fibers are part of the sympathetic nervous system and are responsible for the "fight or flight" response.
Sensory Nerve Fibers: These fibers are essential for sensing external stimuli, such as touch and temperature changes on your skin.
Hair Growth Phases
Hair growth occurs in three distinct phases:
Anagen Phase: The active growth period.
Telogen Phase: The resting stage.
Telogen Effluvium: The phase associated with hair loss.
Stress can trigger hair to move from the growth phase to the resting phase prematurely due to the release of cortisol during the body's fight or flight response.
Hormonal Influences and Hair Loss
Hormones play a significant role in hair health:
Hormonal Imbalance: An excess of hormones like testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) can lead to alopecia by shrinking hair follicles.
Iron Deficiency: Low oxygen levels, often due to iron deficiency, can also contribute to hair loss.
Growth Hormone: Produced by the pituitary gland, this hormone is essential for hair growth cycles.
Thyroid Hormones: Thyroid dysfunctions can disrupt hair growth metabolism.
To support the nervous and endocrine systems and, by extension, hair health, it is vital to:
Avoid processed chemicals and foods that cause hormonal imbalances.
Consume whole foods and herbs rich in essential minerals needed for hormonal balance and hair follicle metabolism.
Key nutrients include:
Iron, Zinc, Selenium, Magnesium, Silicon, Iodine, Copper
Incorporate foods like:
Lentils, Quinoa, Pumpkin seeds, Chickpeas, Hemp seeds
Almonds, Brazil nuts, Sunflower seeds, Avocado, Bell peppers
The Impact of Stress and Chemicals
Environmental stress can lead to hair loss. This is evident when observing populations in less violent communities often have fuller heads of hair. Moreover, applying certain chemicals to the scalp can inflame the skin and impact hair follicle growth. Some of these harmful chemicals include:
Repairing the nervous and endocrine systems with herbs can be beneficial. Herbs like Nettle, Blessed Thistle, Blue Vervain, Licorice root, and Lavender help balance and maintain these systems. They support the production of chemical messengers or hormones that the endocrine system uses to communicate internally.