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Thyroid-Related Hair Loss

QUESTION
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 family.

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"
http://www.thyroid-info.com/articles/shames-hairloss.htm

 
 


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