Many people may not realize that alopecia areata can benefit tremendously from specific dietary changes. Because the most obvious symptom of alopecia areata is hair loss in the form of bald patches, there is a tendency to focus the entire treatment around re-growing hair within the patches.
Stimulating new hair growth with natural remedies such as essential oils is only one component to treating and healing alopecia areata. It is important to remember that underneath the bald patches lays a deeper problem that caused the bald patches in the first place. This problem is a faulty immune system. Keeping the immune system calm and balanced so it does not go haywire can help inhibit the severity and progression of the disease. This can be accomplished more through change in diet than in any other way.
The main components of diet would involve reducing inflammation, identifying and avoiding allergens, identifying and correcting deficiencies, nourishing the body with a wide variety of nutrient rich foods, and establishing healthy intestinal flora.
ANTI-INFLAMMATATORY DIET FOR ALOPECIA AREATA
Inflammation is involved with all autoimmune disorders and most hair loss conditions. Anti-inflammatory diet can help calm and support an overactive immune system, reducing the potential for flare-ups that could lead to attack on hair follicles.
FOOD ALLERGENS ASSOCIATED WITH ALOPECIA AREATA
Food allergies or sensitivities are a major component in autoimmune disorders. It is important to learn to recognize and avoid all possible allergens that may cause an autoimmune response. Various testing methods are available to assist in determining individual food allergies and sensitivities.
Recent scientific research is revealing a strong association between gluten intolerance or sensitivity and alopecia areata. Testing positive for Celiac disease (gluten intolerance) would require eliminating all gluten. Some parents of children with alopecia areata have noted regrowth of child’s hair, and also increase in height of child once gluten is eliminated. The growth spurt in height would be due to the increased ability to absorb nutrients once gluten is removed.
Gluten intolerance creates nutritional deficiencies if gluten consumption is continued. Eliminating or reducing gluten will naturally decrease inflammation in the diet as long as other unhealthy inflammatory gluten-free snacks are not being substituted. Many people choose to try gluten free to see how they respond, rather than going through diagnostic testing. Other common allergens associated with autoimmune conditions include dairy, casein, nightshades, eggs, legumes and other individual foods.
Certain experts have found that avoiding or reducing meat is necessary or helpful. Those who are affected with autoimmune conditions show higher than normal sensitivity to animal food antigens. This may be because the amino acid sequence in animal meats is similar to those found in human tissues. The close resemblance may cause confusion and provoke an attack. Those who wish to consume meat may consider purchasing only clean, organic, grass fed meats and may also wish to limit consumption.
NUTRIENT RICH/LOWER CALORIE
Eating a wide variety of natural, whole, nutrient-rich food, including an abundance of fruits and vegetables will ensure fullness, satisfaction and adequate nutrition with the least amount of calories. This will allow the digestive system to relax, repair and regenerate. Faulty digestion is highly associated with autoimmune disorders.
Many people tend to eat the same foods over and over. Eating a wide variety of high quality foods will help ensure that a person does not eat too much of the foods they may have a hidden or unknown allergy to.
It is not uncommon for persons with alopecia areata to have nutritional deficiencies such as zinc, vitamin D, iron, etc. that can contribute to hair loss. Supplementing should only be used when there is a definite deficiency. Supplementing haphazardly can create imbalances that can disturb the immune system and the hair growth cycle.
Cleansing the body of excess yeast, bacteria, toxins, etc. will decrease inflammation and allow the body to function better. Having proper amounts of good intestinal flora will help the immune system to stay healthy and balanced. Avoiding processed foods, toxins, additives, pesticides, etc. is especially important for those with alopecia areata as any foreign substance can provoke an autoimmune response
Alopecia Areata May Require Change in Diet by Melanie Vonzabuesnig