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.

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2 Comments

  • malen January 13, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    Dear Leslie,

    Thank you for this website and all the information provided. I’ve been reading and learning about nutrition and health since my twenties ..I am now in my fourties :-( …thanks to your books ( in the nineties) and to Roxie Dillon ( don’t know if youv” heard of her)…anyway I ‘ve been on mostly raw food and lots of veggies and fruits for the past 20 years , i take spirulina, wheat grass, hem protein powder etc…so I feel desperate to see despite my healthy way of living …to see my hair being so brittle and dehydrated…I used to lose it a mot for almost two years …since this summer, it is starting to grow back….but it looks different …it’s frizzy, it looks like brittle and dehydrated hair ..it ‘s not curly,nor straight …It makes me j look so much older …and now a few grey hair on very dark hair …I’ve never chemically treated my hair ( colour or perm)..so i take it as something “unfair” to end up with this kind of hair !
    I’ve take supplements ( b complex+ cysteine + iron etc…I now take silica ( vegetable silica)
    would you have any advice so that I could improve its condition ? is it possible to get my shiny hair back …yours looks in such perfect condition ! I don’t think it is age related

    One other thing i find confusing and it ‘s not necessarely related to hair…you advise on eating some meat …whereas most raw foodist and famous and sexy 70+ vegetarian ( annette larkins for instance , etc…even Roxie dillon) live on only veggies + fruits+ seeds etc…I take B vitamin and say that each time one eats meat it ages the body…

    I’ve also noticed that my hair is different underneath and on the side…mostly it is dry and britlle on the top of my head and at the end …end I can cut ..but why the top of my head : would that be related to hormones changes ( I’ve read about 5DHT ) ? my skin is changing too ..no wrinkles but dehydrated and lack of tone ( despite exercise) …and poor circulation, like pressure accumulating in my legs …

    so i don’t know if i need to take more nutriments and oil ( like GLA etc..) for the lack of moisture or increase the amount of proteins …any thought on this Leslie ?

    Many thanks

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  • Leslie Kenton June 27, 2013 at 1:25 am

    Dear Malen…Reading all you have written I am going to suggest the following:

    1. I think you need animal protein in your diet such as fish or meat from pasture grazed animals… this will complement the raw foods you so love and improve your hair all round.
    2. I am going to suggest you order an excellent supplement which I use myself (by the way thank you for the complement about my own hair)
    3. My hair, like yours tends to be quite dry and it has taken me a long time to find the right shampoo and conditioner to give it body and a sleek look.
    4. I brush my hair every day with a firm brush in order to stimulate the scalp. I’ve done this since I was a teenager on and off but as I got older I realized how important it is to keep hair really healthy.
    5. You should certainly be taking a good omega 3 fish oil.
    6. Finally I have recently discovered an excellent new oil in the Kerastase range called Elixir Ultime Oleo Complexe by L’Oreal. After shampooing and conditioning your hair, towel dry it then put two drops of this stuff on your hands, rub them together and then through your hair. Then blow dry… and style.

    I order everything except the hair oil from iHerb.com no matter where I am in the world. Here is information about the products and also about herb itself.

    HAIR HEALTH AND GROWTH
    TWO PRODUCTS:

    FoodScience, Superior Hair, 90 Veggie Caps
    http://www.iherb.com/FoodScience-Superior-Hair-90-Capsules/3303?rcode=yes026
    Superior Hair is a synergistic formula that contains well-recognized and scientifically researched nutrients to support the repair of damaged hair follicles and the health and growth of hair.

    Jason Natural, Restorative Biotin Shampoo
    http://www.iherb.com/jason-natural-restorative-biotin-shampoo-16-fl-oz-473-ml/3834?rcode=yes026
    Our Pure, Natural Restorative Shampoo gently cleanses as it restores healthy strength to weak, damaged hair. The thickening properties Biotin and Vitamin B5’s revitalize hair’s elasticity. Ginseng and lavender extracts help repair split ends and minimize future breakage. Fortified with energy, your hair looks healthier and grows stronger.

    Jason Natural, Conditioner, Restorative Biotin
    http://www.iherb.com/jason-natural-conditioner-restorative-biotin-16-fl-oz-454-ml/6263?rcode=yes026
    Pure, Natural Restorative Conditioner gently moisturizes as it strengthens and repairs weak, damaged hair. Biotin and Vitamin B5 revitalize vitality and elasticity. Natural Jojoba Seed Oil deeply nourishes your hair while Ginseng and lavender extracts help repair split ends and minimize future breakage.Hair appears healthier and grows stronger.

    BEST SOURCE OF OMEGA 3
    Carlson Labs, The Very Finest Fish Oil, Lemon, 16.9 fl oz (500 ml)
    From Norway: The finest fish oil from deep, cold ocean-water fish. Bottled in Norway to ensure maximum freshness. Refreshing natural lemon taste. Take by the teaspoonful, mix with foods, and try it on salads! This product is regularly tested (using AOAC international protocols) for freshness, potency and purity by an independent, FDA registered laboratory and has been determined to be fresh, fully-potent and free of detrimental levels of mercury, cadmium, lead, PCB’s and 28 other contaminants.
    http://www.iherb.com/Carlson-Labs-The-Very-Finest-Fish-Oil-Lemon-16-9-fl-oz-500-ml/2796?rcode=yes026

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