For decades the medical fraternal around the world have said that stress is killer number 1. The reason for this is because when we go through stressful periods our bodies respond to this whether we want to believe it or not. When we stress, our body gets flooded with stress hormones that are the same ones that trigger our ‘fight or flight’ responses. It’s at these times that your heart rate speeds up, your breathing deepens, and your muscles get ready for action. This response is there to protect your body against danger but when this response goes off consistently day after day, with all the stresses we face on a daily basis, it can leave your health at risk.
Now the question would be, how does this effect my hair? Well, when these stress hormones are released your blood vessels constrict and diverts more oxygen rich blood to your muscles so that you would be ready to act. This would mean that the natural processes that would generally take place like digestion, the general way food moves through the body and gets absorbed as well as general growth processes like hair growth slow down. In general, if we don’t have blood rich in nutrients and oxygen coming to a part of the body, over time it would diminish in function until it dies. This is exactly what happens to our hair follicles when we are in constant high levels of stress. Our hair follicles don’t get enough oxygen and nutrients to produce strong and healthy hair but rather weaker thinner hair. This unfortunately leads to less coverage due to the thinning of hair and in the end, hair loss. This left untreated can lead to severe and in most cases irreversible balding where the hair follicles die.
Another factor that plays a huge role in the quality of the hair is what we eat. There’s a famous saying ‘You are what you eat’ and in the same breath the statement ‘whatever we eat becomes our hair’ rings true as well. The nutritional value of your blood is vital for your hair follicles to not only produce strong hair but also maintain the overall health of the hair shaft as well. This value drops significantly if we don’t necessarily watch what we eat, by this I would be referring to a well-balanced diet of carbohydrates, proteins and vital amino fatty acids all contained in the food that we eat. But it can also be diminished if we are on very stringent or strict calory counting diet. Its in the latter that your body will naturally transport the nutrients to areas that are necessary for survival rather than your hair. I have had clients on our laser program that were on very strict calory counting diets and they in turn went backwards after experiencing really good results before the diet. Skipping meals are also not helpful in maintaining a healthy level of nutrition in the blood. We need to remember that every time that we skip a meal, that the level of nutrition needed for the daily functions don’t decrees but rather stay the same. Its then when our bodies will take from other areas or reserves to make sure that the body will continue to survive.
A great way of combatting both areas would be to find what makes you work through your stress instead of suppressing it, that makes it worse. Many have found that gyming does that for them and this is not a bad way to work through stress because it has other benefits to the body like increasing blood flow that would inevitably assist with hair growth in general.