A reader asks: "My hair is falling out -- can you recommend a natural treatment for this problem?"
Yes, I can recommend a natural approach to slowing hair loss, but I suspect that most readers aren't going to enjoy this answer very much. That's because as much as I disagree with the conclusion many medical researchers reach about the degree of influence genetics holds over chronic disease, the fact is that baldness, especially among males, is a genetically inherited trait. At a certain age, your hair does start to fall out if you've been genetically programmed for hair loss. But that doesn't mean there's nothing that can be done about it. However, before I get to the solutions, I'd like to discuss some of the more revealing aspects of why hair falls out, and why hair turns gray.
Let's talk about gray hair first, because gray hair is something that is quite obviously genetically programmed into both males and females. When your biological age reaches a certain threshold, your hair starts turning gray. This actually serves a social purpose, because gray hair signifies a degree of not just age, but wisdom and experience. And if you look at other primates, and the influences of behavioral evolution on human history, you realize that there was actually a strong social advantage to having gray hair after a certain age.
This is because the other members of the group tend to look upon someone with gray hair with a greater degree of respect. Gray hair signifies that you probably know what you're doing, that you're wiser, and that you have much more experience about the way the world works. So gray hair is something that is built into human genetics in order to establish a symbol of age and wisdom. This is why when your hair is turning gray it doesn't mean anything's wrong with you -- it just means that your blueprint is kicking in and giving you the symbols of wisdom and experience.
Don't believe it? Here's an example that will explain it further: Silverback gorillas aren't really "silver." They're gray. It's gray hair that gives them the silver characteristic, and it's pre-programmed to appear when they reach the age of maturity (around 13 years old for a gorilla). Gorillas that have gray hair have higher social standing in the gorilla group. They are given far more respect that gorilla children who don't yet have silver hair. In this social group, the gray hair serves as a visible signal of maturity.
I know that gorillas aren't humans, but technically they are 98% humans (we share 98% of our genes with gorillas, including many that control hair color changes).
In fact, I'm willing to bet you unconsciously assume individuals with gray hair are more wise, educated and mature than those without gray hair. Think for a moment, in your own mind, what a "statesman" should look like. Does he or she have gray hair? For most people, the answer is yes. Also, remember when President Clinton was first running for office and suddenly, overnight, his hair color became gray? That was most likely a strategic decision to increase his apparent age and wisdom at a subconscious level. The American people aren't ready to elect a President who still has black hair: the person still looks too young to know anything!
Think about the organizations in which you're involved, too. I'm willing to bet that the CEO of the company you work for, the president of the Board of Directors, the top dog, or the leader of whatever group you're participating in probably has gray hair.
But I don't want gray hair!
Now, I know that in today's society, people don't really want symbols of experience, they want symbols of youth -- give me black hair, please! I want to appear young, even though I'm 57! These are the kinds of pleas we often hear about hair... sometimes coming from our own mouths!
I remember the first time I saw gray hair on my own head -- what a shock! At first, I was frightened and felt like old age was fast approaching. But then, after pondering the issue, I realized gray hair has nothing whatsoever to do with health. If I wanted to look youthful and energetic, all I had to do was take care of my skin, my body, my mind, my posture, and so on. And the way you do that is through nutrition and physical exercise. Today, I still get people guessing I'm in my 20's even though I recently turned 35. One time when I was getting my hair cut, the woman cutting my hair noticed the gray and said to me, "Wow, you must be one of those people who gets gray hair at a real early age." As far as I'm concerned, that's a great compliment, because she had no clue I was actually born in the 60's.
So my first answer to this question is something most people probably don't want to hear, which is to honor the color of your hair, to be comfortable with it turning gray, and work on other ways to look more youthful. For example, strength training alone can give you a much bigger jawbone, especially if you're a male, which improves the cosmetic appearance of your face. I know people don't normally think about gaining a larger jaw from strength training, but that is one of the side effects of pumping weights. You can also do lots of things to improve muscle mass and lose excess body fat. That will inevitably make you appear younger.
The second part of this answer gets into something you might appreciate more as a reader, and that is there are many nutritionally-related things you can do to reverse your apparent biological age. Maybe I shouldn't use the word "reverse" -- I should say "delay," because we are all going to age and we are all going to pass away eventually, but there are some promising therapies in anti-aging medicine that really do work to delay the onset of aging.
Since gray hair is timed to coincide with a certain biological age, you can put off both gray hair and hair loss by fundamentally delaying this aging process. And the way to do that is, of course, to first realize what accelerates aging -- because in America today and in most western nations, people are on a lifestyle program that should be called the aging acceleration program -- we'll call it the AAP. Under this AAP system, people's overall lifespan is much shorter than their bodies and minds were designed for. They end up dying in their 50's or 60's or 70's from heart attacks, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other metabolic disorders that really shouldn't appear until people are well beyond 100 years old. Every human being born today should live to at least 100 years old if they weren't following the AAP, the aging acceleration program.
What goes into the aging acceleration program? It's simple -- it involves the mass consumption of processed foods, especially nutrient-depleted foods such as white flour, refined white sugar, soft drinks, fried foods, hydrogenated oils, food additives, and so on. These are all the foods that are manufactured, convenience foods you might find at a fast food restaurant or a grocery store. These are the foods that are heavily marketed: they're advertised on television, through coupons and with preferred placement on the grocery store shelves. If you want to avoid hair loss and delay the graying of your hair, you've got to avoid eating all of these foods.
This also includes nicotine and cigarettes, of course -- smoking cigarettes is perhaps the fastest way you can accelerate the aging process in the human body. If you want to appear 50 when you're only 25, start smoking four packs of cigarettes a day.
Supplement with superfoods
The next thing you can do to slow your biological aging is start supplementing with superfoods that also delay aging. Many superfoods are classified as longevity
foods or anti-aging foods, and these, once again, include the supergreens mixes, chlorella, spirulina, micro-algae extracts such as astaxanthin, and of course broccoli sprouts, fresh vegetables and all of the berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and so on. You can also eat a lot of garlic and ginger and all the various culinary / medicinal herbs that are known to enhance human health and delay aging.
If you pursue this kind of diet, you will in effect begin to age far more slowly than everyone else around you. That's because they are on the AAP strategy, while you are on an anti-aging program. You could also take various Amazon herbs and make sure you are getting plenty of healthy oils in your diet, such as omega-3 oils, salmon oils and other fish oils. Make sure you get plenty of sunshine in your life, too. Breathe fresh air and drink fresh, clean water on a regular basis. If you can afford it, drink spring water. I know it's expensive, but that's the best thing for you.
So, again, none of this information should be new to those who are regular readers of this website, but this is the answer to anti-aging and avoiding both hair loss and the graying of your hair. Finally, I know that the answers I presented here probably aren't very satisfying to a lot of readers -- if you're suffering hair loss right now, you want something that's going to bring your hair back with the least amount of effort possible without requiring huge lifestyle changes.
A lot of people might turn to prescription drugs or pharmaceutical shampoos like Propecia that promise to delay hair loss or help regrow hair. There are all sorts of shampoos and topical applications, both from the pharmaceutical world and the natural world, that promise to delay hair loss or enhance hair growth. I don't know that any of these are highly effective -- most seem marginally effective at best.
Unfortunately, there really is no magic bullet solution for this as there is for so many other diseases like high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and so on. Even when you have outstanding nutrition, your genetic blueprint is eventually going to take over, and you're going to start seeing gray hair on your head or you experiencing hair loss. There's nothing wrong with you -- this isn't a disease. This is just the way your body shows that you are older, mature and more experienced. You can delay the arrival of hair color changes and hair loss by getting on a good anti-aging program based on nutrition and physical exercise.
Lastly, if you're really desperate, and you want something to do, go with the shaved head look. Shave off all your hair, go to the gym, start working out, get some muscle mass on you, slim down, get rid of the body fat, and you'll look quite athletic. Without any hair on your head at all, people won't be able to guess how old or young you might be, so they'll have to look at other things, such as your skin tone, the amount of body fat on your body, your muscle tone, the way you move yourself, your posture, how much energy you appear to have, and so on. These are the things that you can change, so if you want to appear younger, and you're really concerned about your cosmetics, that's one way to do it.
Once again, it is unfortunate that there are not simple nutritional solutions for hair loss as there are for most other diseases and symptoms. Nutrition has a huge impact on the speed at which you age, though, and if you take advantage of the information you'll find on this website, you can delay aging. You can effectively age far slower than everyone else around you, and you can delay the onset of graying hair and hair loss for many years.