Thyroid-Related Hair Loss
Why do thyroid patients lose hair, and is there
anything that you suggest can be done?-- Mary Shomon
DRS. RICHARD AND KARILEE SHAMES ANSWER
It is widely believed that thyroid sufferers
lose hair due to decreased metabolism in the scalp follicles, resulting
in early release of the shaft, root and all. sometimes the hair
becomes just too brittle, and there is a great deal of loss from
split ends and breakage. As you know, thyroid is intimately involved
with hair function, witness that early graying and loss of outer
eyebrows, is a cardinal sign of low thyroid in oneself or in the
As far as what can be done, the first and primary step is to restore full normal
thyroid function. Consider that in general the body's wisdom directs it to
conserve energy when possible, from nonessential areas, shunting repair and
regeneration power to those functions considered more essential. Another mechanism
is that when thyroid function is low, intestinal absorption and utilization
of vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional cofactors is compromised also.
Not only are there not enough of the raw materials available, but the enzymes
and sometimes temperature required for optimal chemical reactions is lessened.
As to restoring full function, don't be misled
into utilizing the TSH test alone as a terrific barometer of full
restored function. This one laboratory determination is in no way
up to that important task, regardless of what you may have been
told by your doctor or HMO. A great many thyroid sufferers need
more thyroid hormone replacement than most current endocrinologists
are comfortable with giving.
We have seen people whose hair loss is only finally reversed, after years of
unsuccessful treatments, with a fairly high dose of thyroid medicine, resulting
in a very low TSH. Sometimes it is a mixture of thyroid pills (T3, T4, and/or
natural all combined) that eventually does the trick.
In addition, we recommend a rich vitamin, mineral, amino acid, and essential
fatty acid replacement program. These four categories need to be well represented,
using high quality products to restore and regenerate normal scalp function
via optimizing thyroid metabolism. No other mechanism in the body has eight
separate layers of biochemical control as does thyroid, each requiring specific
vitamins, minerals, and other cofactors that would allow a full recovery of
function. (July, 2002)
As it appears on Mary
Shomon's Website Thyroid-Info under "Ask the Experts"