Understand the diverse factors behind hair loss and thinning. From genetics to stress, discover the root causes and delve into the best herbs for hair growth. Transform your hair care routine.
- Several herbs can help reduce hair loss, including ashwagandha, moringa, nettle, peppermint, and shilajit.
- Ashwagandha helps reduce stress hormones, which can contribute to hair loss.
- Moringa is rich in nutrients that support hair growth, such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B and A, and zinc.
It can be distressing to deal with hair loss and hair thinning. However, there are many holistic strategies for promoting hair growth. Here I will explain the common causes of hair loss and thinning and I will also reveal the best herbal hair growth solutions.
What Causes Hair Loss And Thinning?
Hair loss and thinning can affect both men and women of any age. There are a wide range of causes so it’s a good idea to find out what might be behind your specific condition.
For example, sometimes we can be more predisposed to hair loss issues due to genetic variations. However, hair loss and thinning tend to be the result of nutritional deficiencies, stress, hormone imbalances, or just hair that has been damaged.
It’s tempting to fall for the quick fixes that promise rapid, almost overnight hair growth. However unfortunately there is no immediate solution for hair loss or thinning.
Instead, there is a wide range of options that can help you promote healthy hair growth – once you first establish your particular cause.
Whilst everybody loses around 50 to 100 strands of hair per day – if you’re noticing a much higher shredding rate you may have excess stress leading to thinner hair.
While the occasional episode of acute stress is unlikely to have any impact on the health of your hair, if you – like many people, experience ongoing chronic stress this can lead to constantly elevated cortisol levels, which can promote excess hair loss. (Source)
High cortisol levels can trigger a condition which is called telogen effluvium. Here, your hair starts falling out and you don’t experience the normal hair regrowth to replenish the loss.
So managing stress through increased exercise, better sleep quality, and mind-body practices such as meditation and yoga may help to reduce any stress-based hair loss or filling.
A number of nutrient deficiencies may contribute to hair loss. In particular, having low levels of vitamin B12 (which is common in vegetarians and vegans) may increase your risk of hair loss. (Source)
Similarly, if you are low in biotin, folate, or riboflavin you may also experience an increased incidence of hair loss or thinning hair. Iron deficiency is another common cause of hair loss as it may disrupt follicle growth – if you have insufficient supplies of iron your body may prioritize other areas of the body, so your hair follicles do not get enough to thrive.
If you are a woman who menstruates and in particular, if you experience heavy periods it’s important to eat an iron-rich diet. The best sources of iron are from animal products but it is possible to obtain iron through some vegetarian sources including dark green leafy vegetables.
Vitamin D deficiency is another common culprit of hair loss. Many people have insufficient intake, especially during the winter months. Studies have shown that people with hair loss issues tend to have notably lower levels of vitamin D, therefore it’s a good idea to get tested if you suspect your levels are less than ideal, and consider supplementing from October to March.
Zinc is an often overlooked nutrient but it plays an important role in hair follicle development and may help your hair follicles recover when damaged. People with the hair loss condition alopecia, as well as those suffering from male pattern hair loss, tend to also have lower zinc levels than people without hair loss.
Aside from micronutrient deficiencies, if you are on a particularly strict diet your hair may struggle to grow well. This is because both energy (in the form of calories) and protein are required for normal hair growth.
So people undergoing very low-calorie diets or those who are on protein restriction protocols may be at risk. This is due to the reduced intake of amino acids which are the building blocks of protein required for healthy hair growth.
While it’s important to get enough nutrients into your diet it’s also necessary to avoid things that may harm your hair health such as excess alcohol, caffeine, and cigarettes. All of these are associated with hair loss.
Hormonal Issues And Hair Loss
Post-menopausal women may notice their hair starts to look thinner than before. This is due to a decrease in key hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. Some women find that taking HRT can reduce the effects of hair thinning due to the decreased levels of estrogen post-menopause. (Source)
There’s also a complicated relationship between a man’s testosterone levels and his risk of hair loss. You might think that low levels of testosterone are responsible for hair loss however it’s normally high testosterone levels that are associated with hair loss in several studies.
Some men have hair follicles that are particularly sensitive to a form of testosterone. This may feed into hair loss, specifically male pattern hair loss.
Finally, mistreatment of the hair itself can lead to breakages and hair loss. For example, hair can become increasingly fragile and prone to breakage when it is exposed to excessive colouring, perming, or hair relaxation processors.
If you frequently undergo these procedures without giving your hair time to rest and recover you may be prone to hair loss, particularly if you don’t condition your hair and a regular basis to counteract the effects of these procedures.
What Herbs Are Good For Hair Growth?
Several herbs are helpful for hair loss reduction. In particular, ashwagandha – an ancient Indian adaptogenic herb shows promise in mitigating this common condition. Ashwagandha helps to bring the body back into a healthy state of balance. In particular, this special adaptogenic herb is able to reduce stress hormones such as cortisol.
As previously discussed, stress can have a detrimental impact on hair health – so keeping this in check by using ashwagandha on a regular basis can really help. Adaptogens have many health benefits aside from hair growth and may even help with weight loss.
In one study, adults with mild to moderate hair loss had a significant reduction in hair loss following ashwagandha supplementation. Their hair also became thicker, and denser and grew better too. (Source)
Another helpful herb that is often used in combination with ashwagandha to support hair health is moringa.
Moringa has benefits for women specifically but can support everyone with healthier hair. This nutrient-dense herb supports hair growth due to its high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B and A.
Moringa also contains zinc, which as previously mentioned is a key nutrient lacking in those with hair loss. Studies have found that oral moringa intake could promote hair growth in those susceptible to loss and thinning. (Source)
The other best herbs for hair growth include Nettle, Peppermint, and Shilajit. You can make herbal teas with these to enjoy the benefits.
It can be tricky to get some of these natural hair growth solutions into your diet, especially adaptogens, which aren’t in many multivitamin blends.
However, you can find both ashwagandha and moringa in Human Tonik’s super greens blend. Here, you can top up on many of the key nutrients required for healthy hair, alongside an additional dose of antioxidants and adaptogens, to support your hair health holistically. This superfood blend can also help with motivation and anxiety.
To conclude, to best manage hair loss and thinning you should prioritize a nutrient-dense diet, reduce stress, and, include some of the best natural ingredients for hair loss such as ashwagandha and moringa.
Julia is a health content editor and nutritionist from Norwich, UK. She has worked as a health coach in private practice and for the national health service. She undertook an MSc in nutritional medicine to deepen her knowledge.
She enjoys producing evidence-based content which inspires people to become healthier and happier.