Updated: Apr 13, 2022
There are many essential nutrients that directly impact hair structure, texture, and viability. Nutrients including iron; zinc; selenium; niacin; vitamins A, D, E; folic acid; amino acids; protein; and fatty acids can affect hair growth and colour. Therefore, inadequacies or deficits in these nutrients can spell hair troubles.
For instance, we know that oxidative stress has been linked to hair loss, and antioxidants are compounds that are able to neutralise reactive oxygen species (ROS), thereby helping us regain antioxidant vs. oxidant balance. Zinc, selenium, and vitamins A, C, E, and polyphenols are dietary antioxidants that play a key role in reinforcing our endogenous antioxidant system.
Stress can contribute to hair thinning or falling out. With approximately 100,000 hair follicles on the adult scalp, each follicle is constantly cycling between anagen (growth), catagen (rest), and telogen (shedding) phases. While the majority of hair follicles are in the growth phase (anagen) at any given time, there are circumstances that can create an accelerated shift to the shedding phase, like stress.
What's important to know is that the physical evidence of the shift isn't immediate. Someone may not see loss of hair until three to six months after a stressful event. For those individuals dealing with prolonged stress, however, this hair loss conundrum may last longer. The good news is that this thinning of hair is temporary if the underlying source of stress is addressed. A second manifestation of the impact of stress on hair is the impact that elevated stress hormones have on the production of other hormones required for healthy hair growth.
Some hair changes are expected post-partum. Oestrogen plays a significant role in hair growth. As noted above, your hair grows in three phases, with anagen being the growth phase. Oestrogen levels are elevated during pregnancy, which is why many women notice their locks are more luscious during this time. Following delivery of your baby, your oestrogen levels naturally plummet and your hair cycles shift as a result.
While loss of 100 hairs is typical for most individuals, due to the robust oestrogen levels and more hair follicles in anagen (the growth phase) during pregnancy, it is totally normal that with the sudden shift in oestrogen levels, that hair follicles shift from anagen (growth) to telogen (resting/falling out) phase.