Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease. Inflammation triggers and worsens autoimmune symptoms, says Harvard Health, and many foods promote inflammation. You may be able to reverse alopecia areata, or at least calm some of its more uncomfortable symptoms, by following certain dietary recommendations.
Alopecia Areata and Your Diet
“Alopecia areata may be reversed through diet, possibly with antioxidants or an anti-inflammatory diet, probiotics, zinc, biotin and healthy oils,” Kimberly Langdon, MD, an OB/GYN based in Ohio who works at Medzino, tells WebMD Connect to Care.
Add probiotics to your diet. “By taking a probiotic to replace the gut’s normal bacteria and reducing inflammation, one can improve the skin’s microbiome, as well, reversing some hair losses or, at minimum, preventing it from worsening,” Sharleen St. Surin-Lord, MD, a dermatologist in Maryland and assistant professor of dermatology at Howard University College of Medicine, tells WebMD Connect to Care.
A 2020 report published in the Journal of Nutritional Medicine and Diet Care highlighted the role of diet in modifying oral and scalp microbiome, which was shown to have an impact on the progression of alopecia areata.
Reduce inflammatory foods. Eating the wrong foods can contribute to hair loss.
A 2020 report published in theJournal of Nutritional Medicine and Diet Care suggested that, in some patients affected by non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), alopecia areata recurred when gluten be included in their diets.
The paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP) can help you control inflammation by eliminating certain foods that may trigger autoimmune symptoms.
On the AIP elimination diet, you will avoid grains, legumes, nightshades (such as potatoes and peppers), dairy, eggs, coffee, alcohol, sugar, oil and food additives. After a few months, you can work the excluded foods back in one at a time to figure out which foods trigger an inflammatory reaction.
Eat plenty of protein and healthy fats. “A diet must support the body’s protein requirements to grow healthy hair. A diet rich in omega oils and antioxidants to reduce oxidative stress placed on the hair by the environment, as well as some seafood rich in minerals and vitamins, can help with hair growth,” St. Surin-Lord says.
If the AIP diet is too strict for you, at least aim for an eating plan that closely follows the tenets of anti-inflammatory eating. Consider the Mediterranean diet, which is high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish and healthy oils.
Take the right supplements. According to a 2018 study published in Dermatology and Therapy, you need key nutrients in your diet to prevent hair loss.
“Turmeric with black pepper for absorption is helpful in reducing inflammation, and antioxidants, iron, Vitamin D and biotin can also promote hair health,” Eric Rudnick, MD, a dermatologist and dermatopathologist in Boca Raton, Florida, tells WebMD Connect to Care.
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