The Magic Foods for Hair
Ask Any Cat
Talk to a vet about the poor condition of your pet's coat and you will get the same answer - change his diet or give him supplemental vitamins and minerals, or both. They know well that the strength, gloss and beauty of an animal's coat depend on how close his diet comes to providing, not just adequate, but optimal quantities of essential nutrients. It has taken until quite recently for trichologists and doctors to realize that a similar approach to the treatment of human hair can yield the same remarkable improvements. They've started asking, for instance, `What might be done to stop the kind of changes that happen to hair as the body ages?' And they have begun to formulate nutritional approaches to a lot of other annoying hair problems such as dry brittle hair and dandruff.
The Magic Foods for Hair
Two foods are of enormous help to hair in protecting it from age-related changes: liver and sea vegetables.
Liver is rich in vitamin A - essential for healthy skin and for the proper functioning of the scalp's sebaceous glands. It also contains a good quantity of many of the B-complex vitamins which help guard your hair from premature loss of color and preserve its sheen and strength plus many of the essential minerals which are needed to maintain a full shining head of hair.
Sea vegetables - seaweed of all varieties - are the single most potent strengthener of hair (and incidentally nails) you can find in nature. They are veritable treasure houses of essential minerals, including organic iodine as well as the B vitamins, and vitamins D, E and K. You can buy many kinds of dried seaweed to use in vegetable dishes, soups and curries. You can't find a better helper for hair anywhere. Alternatively you can buy kelp tablets to take with each meal. If you opt for the tablets it is important to take enough, since they are not drugs or even concentrated pills, but simply a dried vegetable product. Most people find that 4-6 300 mg tablets with each meal brings enormous benefits to the look and strength of hair within six to twelve weeks. Like all nutritionally based approaches to good looks, kelp tablets take time to work their wonders. Remember it may have taken years for a body to become depleted in essential minerals which shows itself in poor hair condition, a few weeks to restore it to a healthy balance is not long to wait.
Cysteine for Hair Protein
Hair is 97 percent protein which your body makes out of amino acids, eight of which are essential - they must come from the foods you eat. One of these amino-acids - cysteine - is of particular importance to hair. It can be made in the body from another amino acid - methionine. But this conversion takes two vitamins - folic acid and B12 - both of which are not always in good supply, particularly among people who have lived on the typical western fare.
Some dermatologists and nutritionists find that giving the single amino-acid cysteine in its free form (that is not part of a long chain protein molecule) to people that have thin hair or hair in poor condition can make it strong and thicker and more lustrous within a few weeks. Cysteine occurs naturally in good supply in eggs. In supplementary form it should always be taken with vitamin C in a ratio of one part cysteine to at least three times as much vitamin C.
Stress and Hair Loss
Alopecia areata marked by circular bald or thinning spots on the head of women and men can be the result of acute extreme stress. It is said to be particularly common in women who have trouble expressing anger and who have a tendency to depression. It can be treated internally by a diet high in the anti-stress vitamins, vitamin C and the B-complex vitamins, and by learning a technique for deep relaxation and practicing it regularly. Externally it is treated by rubbing phenol, minoxidil or dinitrechlorobenzene (DTB) on the scalp. Other causes of hair loss include a hyperactive or sluggish thyroid, infection with a high fever, surgery, anemia, iron deficiency, crash dieting and excessive massive doses of vitamin A.