Most people think about their hair on a daily basis, fretting over frizz or enjoying the results of a beautiful blowout. Perhaps there’s a new style that is intriguing, but that can’t happen if hair is dull, limp, or brittle. There are subtle cues from hair, be it change in texture, look, or thickness, which may indicate underlying health issues.
Similar to fluctuating moods, your hair experiences both good days and bad days. When you notice abnormal or constant changes to your locks, something may be awry with your body. The body has different ways of informing you that something is going on, be it through changes in urine, stool, or even hair. Everything from stress and nutrition to hormones and health conditions can impact your hair. Check out the following telltale clues that your hair can give you about your health.
Hair Thinning May Indicate A Thyroid Problem
Hypothyroidism is a common issue that indicates an under-active thyroid. When the thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones, you may notice an increase in thinning or shedding. Hypothyroidism can also cause muscle pain, puffy face, weight gain, fatigue, joint pain, and more. Some thyroid disorders may also increase the risk of alopecia areata, an autoimmune hair loss condition. Get a thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test to see if your thyroid is the cause of thinning hair.
Losing Hair In Patches May Indicate Alopecia Areata
A telltale sign of alopecia is when you lose hair in dime- and quarter-sized patches. It’s an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks healthy cells in the body. Major life events, including pregnancy, death, or illness, can trigger its development. It’s possible for patches to regrow, but more bald patches may also show up. Consult your doctor to determine whether alopecia is the root cause of hair loss.
Yellow Or White Flakes May Indicate Dandruff
Many people are familiar with the “salted shoulder” look, in regards to dandruff. Small white or yellow flakes can fall on the shoulders or reside on hair strands. Although dandruff is not a serious medical issue, it can be embarrassing. There are many natural remedies (click here to learn more about them), but you can also treat the issue with prescription shampoos or over-the-counter specialty shampoos.
Dry Hair May Indicate A Diet Issue
Often times, dry hair results from too much sun exposure, but hair that’s dry year round can indicate another issue. Many times, this issues results from an insufficient intake of healthy fats, according to registered dietitians. Healthy fats are vital to the health of your hair and scalp, giving more life to your strands. Support the health of your hair via your diet by enjoying more foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids. These foods include olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, wild caught salmon, and beans.
Brittle Hair May Indicate Cushing’s Syndrome
Brittle hair doesn’t always indicate Cushing’s syndrome, but it is one of the symptoms. This health condition is quite rare and it’s caused by an overabundance of cortisol, a primary stress hormone, in the body. However, there are many more obvious symptoms of Cushing’s, including high blood pressure, fatigue, and back pain. Brittle hair may also indicate a zinc or iron deficiency. Both zinc and iron and necessary for keratin production, so low levels of these nutrients can cause changes to hair structure.
Going Gray Early May Indicate A B12 Deficiency
Most of the time, genetics are the primary cause of white hairs sprouting all over your head. There isn’t typically another health issue at play. That being said, many nutritionists say that developing lots of grays before the age of 35 may indicate a B12 or folic acid deficiency. Researchers noticed that increasing folic acid and B12 intake, combined with more sun exposure, was able to re-pigment patches of both skin and hair that stopped producing melanin. To increase your folic acid intake, focus on leafy greens, legumes, and whole grains. For more B12, focus on nutritional yeast, tempeh, shellfish, grass-fed beef, and wild caught tuna and salmon.