Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Spenser helps out

I'm reminded of a subject that's dear to the hearts of many of us, with the help of my favorite four-legged family member....

This is the best photo i have of my boy, and you can see why i have to do what i call "fur patrol" with the dustbuster every couple of days.  Consider also that the carpet in our bedroom is a period-appropriate figured dark blue; the subject of hair loss comes to mind from time to time.

I noticed even back in the days when i was taking Armour thyroid that Spense and i would tend to shed at the same time, rather like nuns menstruating.  ;-)  My hairbrush would need cleaning out more often at about the same times that i'd have to step up vacuuming and fur patrol.  I deduced that the same conditions were causing it in both of us, but never looked into the matter.

Well, i finally decided to, and sure enough, people of European ancestry (at least) are inclined to shed more hair in the fall, and to a lesser extent, in the spring.  This seasonal telogen effluvium is absolutely positively NORMAL.  A lot of telogen effluvium is normal, but the medical and hair-restoration industries would love us to think that there's something wrong with us, and we desperately need their services.

There are lots of things, less benign, which cause us to lose more hair than is "normal," with hypothyroidism being one of the best-known conditions.  Everyone also knows about chemotherapy-related hair loss, and many also know that iron deficiency can be a cause.  But is the low-fat world world aware that they're missing out on some of the best skin-hair "tonics" they could get?  Search stubbornly enough and you'll find some good dietary advice on the net to benefit your mane ... and if you have a dog that can help, too.

WebMD is willing to tell you that stress and diet are the main causes of telogen effluvium -- that two-dollar phrase which makes googling "hair loss" more productive.  Of course, they can't tell you how to amend your diet for the better, because that would be contrary to the CW they MUST cling to.  So you start your search into particulars with your four-legged family member in mind; after all, excessive (and diet-associated) shedding is influenced similarly in dogs and humans.

First and foremost is enough of the right amino acids and fats -- notably omegas 3 and 6 -- and you thought that latter stuff was nasty!  ;-)  Of course it is ... in EXCESS.  "Hair that doesn’t receive a balanced supply of nutrients becomes dull, loosens, and falls out. For example, pets on starvation diets have thin, dull coats*."  Will i get jumped-on if i leap to a conclusion?  People go on a low-calorie diet, get nutrient-deficiency-related hair loss, and become convinced that their problem all along has been hypothyroidism?  Remember what Donaldson said about thyroid supplementation for weight loss....

Then there's blood flow, organ function, lots of different hormones, allergy, medications, and nervous habits (overgrooming in animals can translate to excessive hair-brushing -- one doesn't HAVE to lick...).  ...In fact, i'm sure that advertising and "cultural norms" have got to be contributing to some people's shedding because all the things we do to our hair and the chemicals we put on it are just WEIRD, if you look at the subject in an objective manner.

So before you think you're hypothyroid or have a dire disease because you see more hair on your shower floor these coming months, take a look at your diet (and your liver, and your blood-pressure, and so on) -- or it may just be shortening of daylight hours.  Or lengthening, if you're in the southern hemisphere.  If your dog is shedding more, too, it's probably natural.
*  http://www.petassure.com/newsletters/030110newsletter/03012010Article3.html


    He looks like a fancy tiny wolf.

    True there are lots of reasons for hair loss, hypothyroidism is probably one of the least common reasons. Dieting and stress (temporary thyroid changes) are not hypothyroidism.

  2. Spenser thanks you! :-)

    the more i study the situation, the more i'm convinced that what passes for hypothyroidism these days is actually malnutrition ... and misunderstanding! there really DOES seem to be a wide range of truly normal readings.


    Hair loss is a touchy subject for me.

  4. ...and it's complicated, too. could be so many things!

    thank you, from Spenser. :-) if only he didn't have "a sharp end."

  5. Thanks for your comments on our blog. I think in some ways we are kindred spirits.

    Good health to you and yours.


  6. thank you too, Eddie -- i enjoy your irreverence!