ooperfect healthy hair nail skin

At first sight, hair differs for more than skin. Beyond the natural variation we are born with, we can change its style, length, colour and texture to a greater or lesser extent, yet everyone wants a füll head of healthy looking hair. Hair los can cause a creat deal of distress sometimes it is a factor of growing older, but it can also be a sign of illness in the body. Diet can play a role in limiting hair loss and in facilitating the growth of healthy new hair.

About your hair

There are roughly 100.000 to 150,000 follicles on the human scalp, bur not all of them are productive at any given time. Hair growth is cyclical on the scalp cach follicle is active for around 1,000 days (three years) and then rests for a period of 100 days (three months). This hair cycle varies from individual to individual and is influenced by age, diet and general state of health. The old hair from the last hair cycle may remain in the hair follicle until it is dislodged, for example by brushing, or pushed out by a new hair. Hair length is determined by the length of your growing phase. If you have a short growing phase of around 600 days, at the average rate of 0.33 mma day your hair will grow to approximately 200 mm/8 inches. With very long growth phases the hair can grow down to the ground!

Hair food

Any “food’ you put on your hair in the form of conditioners can have no more than a cosmetic effect. Whether you buy the most expensive conditioner or make your own using eggs, the principles are twofold: protein clings to the hair shaft and thickens it, while oils lubricate, making the hair look shiny.

Remember that your hair reflects your general state of health: it is therefore important to look to your lifestyle if you want to keep your hair in good condition: eat a well balanced, healthy diet, take regular exercise, get plenty of fresh air and sleep, and don’t smoke. To check that your diet is providing a wide variety of nutrients, I suggest you first read the section on Understanding your nutritional needs, then keep a food diary for a week or two.

One of the simplest ways to improve the look of your hair (whether it is too dry or too greasy) is to drink more water. After all, it cannot look its best if it is dehydrated. This is not an occasional instant’ remedy, but a lifelong necessity

Caffeine has the opposite effect to water-it dehydrates the body. It also inhibits the absorption of vitamins and minerals and increases their excretion People who are constantly drinking cups of tea, coffee or other caffeine containing drinks such as cola can drain their body iron stores to a level that can

cause or aggravate hair loss. Choose water and within a couple of months you sbevuld notice an improvement in your hair and your general health and vitality

Understanding hair loss

We all lose some hairs every day. It Is important to realize that the amount lse is less significant than a change in your wal pattern. For example if you have been losing forty hairs a day and this interes to eighty, you will notice buice many hairs when you brush or shampoo. Although eighty is still well within the normal range for hair loss, in this case it represents a 100 per cent increase

Around 95 per cent of hair loss complaints are caused by just two condition increased hair shedding and genetic hair loss. Thyroid disease causes two per cent, alopecia areata (hair loss in patches) two per cent and scarring alopecia les than one per cent

INCREASED HAIR SHEDDING

Most of the time there is a simple explanation for increased hair shedding. Certain illnesses and drugs, particularly chemotherapy for cancer, anti-coagulares for thrombosis and even the contraceptive pill, may be the cause. If you are not taking any new drugs, you should see your doctor to ensure that there is no underlying physiological cause. Viral illnesses can cause increased hair shedding tight to twelve weeks later. Stress can also cause hair loss, particularly bouts of acute stress, shock or bereavement. Excessive hair loss may be associated with skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema or seborrhoeic dermatitis. It can also occur in children or young adults with malabsorption problems such as Crohn’s disease, or people suffering from eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa. In the latter case the hair loss stops when body weight reaches an acceptable level and nutrient stores are replenished.

When there is no obvious physiological reason for the hair loss, it is most probable that it is caused by a nutrient imbalance. There has been a great deal of research into the role of nutrients in the cause and therefore the treatment of hair loss, but it is only recently that the correlation has been found between hair los and low iron stores in the body This is more of a problem for women than for me because of menstruation every month women lose iron from their bodies and if this is not replaced in time the body’s iron stores become so low that hair lons occurs.

Women suffering from sudden hair loss should see their doctor to have hoch their scrum ferritin and their haemoglobin levels tested. The serum ferritin level measures total iron stores in the body, whereas the haemoglobin level measures the iron in the blood. It is possible to have a low serum ferritin level and yet have anormal haemoglobin level because the body tries to maintain its haemoglobin level, drawing from its iron stores. A low haemoglobin level suggests deficiency anaemia ( , but if you find you have low serum ferritin the nutritional treatment is exactly the same.

• Boost your intake of iron-rich foods such as lean red meat, game and offal and secondary sources such as eggs (yolks), dark green leafy vegetables ad

puhes i Boost your intake of vitamin C and folic acid both are important to help your body absorb the iron from your food.

• Maintain a good balance of proteins. Hair follicles have extremely high requirements for essential amino acids In addition, researchers have found a link between the intake of lysine, one of the essential amino acids, and serum ferritin levels. Poor protein levels compromise the body’s ability to build good ferritin stores. Vegetarians and vegans need to be

particularly vigilant Biotin deficiency can also cause hair loss This nutrient is mainly produced by bacteris in your intestine, which could be a probletti if antibiotics or other drugs are disturbing the balance of bacteria. It is also found in food nich sources of biotin are cooked eggs (raw eggs severely inhibit biotin absorption), peanut butter, wholegrain foods (especially oats) and fiver.

GENETIC HAIR LOSS

Many men are distressed by their thinning hair, but unfortunately there isn’t any simple cure for hair loss due to a gene that has been with them since before they were born. Women can often be treated successfully with a drug therapy based on androgen hormones in combination with oestrogen, consult a doctor

or trichologist for advice

Nails

The skin is the nurturing bed for both nails and hair, so it is important to look after it well. If you suspect that your weak, brittle or blotchy nails are linked to poor skin, To maintain good, strong healthy wails you should strive to eat a well-balanced diet, drink plenty of water, exercise regularly, avoid stress and generally look after your body by not smoking or drinking too much coffee or excessive amounts of alcohol.

It is rare that a deficiency in any one nutrient can cause poor nails. In fact, overdoses of some vitamins and minerals can lead to ridged, brittle and yellow Ith nails. In some cases, poor nails can signify health problems such as iron deficiency anaemia or liver problems. You should definitely point poor nails our to your doctor if you also suffer from symptoms such as severe tiredness, nasea or lack of appetite Severe calcium deficiency can manifest itself in brittle nails. Brittle nails often respond well to an increase intake of biotin

Non-nutritional therapies

Regular hand massages help to keep the nails supplied with blood (and therefore oxygen and evential nutrients). Manicures also encourage strong nails.