Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What a vitamin D deficiency is doing to your hair!

Every year, after the summer season has passed, I have this unexplainable desire to consume more fish oils and stand out in the sun.  I can't say for sure, but I think it has to do with a craving to increase my vitamin D levels.

I'm sure you are familiar with this, but our bodies are unable to produce vitamin D on its own.  So it relies on natural sunlight to help synthesis the creation of this necessary vitamin.  We can also get vitamin D through our food but, based on what I've read, people rarely get enough vitamin D through eating alone.  It's also important to note that people of color have a natural sun protection factor through the melanin of our skin which blocks some of the vitamin D from forming.  Those of us who are diligent about wearing sunscreen are potentially inhibiting vitamin D production even more.  Less hours of sunlight coupled with dark skin and inadequate diet all work together to create a potential deficiency situation (those who live in colder climates should pay special attention).

Without adequate amounts of vitamin D we can start to experience symptoms like depression, feeling tired/weak, inability to lose weight, chronic pain, and even cancer.  But what really caught my attention was the link between vitamin D and our hair.  After browsing online, I found a few discussions where women who had vitamin D deficiencies noticed a huge improvement in the growth and health of their hair after proper supplementation.  In some cases, active hair loss was attributed to lack of vitamin D.  Could that be another factor in seasonal shedding?  Some of us who are "slow growers" may consider looking into their vitamin D levels as, low vitamin D levels can impact our hair growth rate.  I was shocked to hear an account, on one of the forums, where the person claims a woman with severe vitamin D deficiency hadn't gotten a hair cut in over 5 years.

(My modest cod liver oil collection)

What's critical to mention in all of this, is how important it is to have your vitamin D levels checked by a qualified physician so you can be prescribed the right amount of supplementation.  I will be very conscious of this potential problem as I head into the fall/winter months.  Some of the things I plan on doing include rotating gym visits with actual walks/workouts outdoors.  There were a few days when I worked from home consecutively. One thing I noticed is how quickly my mood levels dropped.  After taking a brisk 2 mile walk outside for a couple of days, my energy shifted for the better and I felt like myself again. Along with the outdoor activities, I will be consistent with my fermented cod liver oil consumption which boasts of containing between 2000-4000IU of vitamin D per teaspoon.  What I appreciate about fermented cod liver oil is how it is a natural (readily absorbable) form of vitamin D.

I have to do more research on this topic including understanding the various types of vitamin D. But in the mean time, I will do what I know. I will also make a conscious effort to consume vitamin D foods including leafy greens, eggs, sardines, etc.  I'm excited to learn about the connection of vitamin D to a successful hair (& health) journey.  By the way, this doesn't mean that I'll be foregoing sunscreen.  I will still wear it daily on my face and hands for anti aging purposes.  But, what I will do, is wear shorts more when I walk instead of full length pants.

Here's to healthy hair growth all year long!

**Please consult with your doctor regarding the proper amount of vitamin D usage to avoid risk of toxicity.**

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