One might think that hair growth ideally starts from the scalp but what you don’t know is that it actually begins from your gut. The gut contains useful bacteria that boost the production of certain nutrients such as biotin which is essential for hair growth. Gut flora is also said to regulate certain hormones that are involved in the hair growth cycle.
A balanced gut flora will extract the essential nutrients from the food you eat while those with a poor gut flora will fail to effectively absorb all the required nutrients for healthy hair growth. Here we focus on fixing the root causes behind hair loss by working on important internal issues like poor gut health to see improvements in overall hair health.
How is gut health linked to hair health?
The body gets all the desired nutrients for vital functioning by digesting the food we eat. This digestion is possible because of the beneficial bacteria in the gut a.k.a the ‘good bacteria’ which metabolize the essential vitamins like biotin that is required for optimal hair growth. Gut microbiota help to break down food and produce micro-nutrients that can be further used by the body.
By doing this, the gut increases the production of biotin, folic acid, and vitamins which are required for regular hair cycle and hair growth. This gut flora also regulates the body’s hormonal balance that controls the different phases of the hair growth cycle.
Digestive issues that affect hair growth
- Leaky gut syndrome: A condition where toxins, bacteria, undigested food, and undesirable gut elements are leaked into your bloodstream. This exposes hair follicles to immune damage.
- Gut inflammation: The irritation in the inner lining of the stomach is referred to as inflammation of the gut. The inflammatory molecules reach the hair follicles and impact hair growth.
- Malabsorption: This is caused by low levels of absorption of vitamins, minerals, and impacts the quality of hair.
How does the gut get affected?
Any kind of imbalance in the gut microflora disrupts the synthesis of essential vitamins like biotin required for keratin production and in turn, hampers hair growth. Here are a few factors that can affect a healthy gut.
- Overdose of antibiotics: A large number of antibiotic medications are taken to get rid of the bad gut microbe but in the bargain, they also impact the good bacteria in the gut.
- Intake of artificial sweeteners: Consuming any kind of artificial sweeteners like aspartame, saccharin, etc. disrupts the overall diversity of the gut micro-flora.
- Poor nutrition: A diet that is deficient in fiber affects the gut as there is insufficient breakdown into micronutrients to provide the body with essential nutrients.
How can one maintain a healthy gut for good hair growth?
An easy way to improve gut health is by consuming fermented foods rich in probiotics and prebiotics (live bacteria that can help restore the gut microflora). These foods include yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and many more. Alternatively, you can also follow a diet that contains high fiber or foods that are unprocessed like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and seeds. Including foods like bananas, onions and garlic increase the good bacteria in the gut which in turn improves gut and hair health.
Hair growth can be affected by a number of factors but poor gut health directly impacts the quality of hair. Rather than using a shampoo or serum to treat this poor quality of hair growth, fix your internal gut health with the right foods and supplements. Hair health depends on internal issues and therefore we need a holistic solution for maintaining optimal hair health.
About the author: Saloni Anand, Co-founder, Traya