Recognizing when you aren’t feeling well or noticing that something feels a bit off is an essential skill to responding to dysfunction and maintaining wellness. Unfortunately, many overlook symptoms of various conditions determining that they are unimportant or attributing them to simply growing older.
Hair loss may seem like a vain concern but in actuality hair loss, particularly thinning of the outer edges of the eyebrow, is a near certain indicator of thyroid dysfunction. Even though hair loss may not be the most severe or life-changing symptom associated with thyroid dysfunction, it is certainly worth investigating – find a complete list of thyroid symptoms here.
Resolving eyebrow loss requires that you understand the contributing thyroidal factors and employ appropriate methods of treatment.
The Influence of the Thyroid on Hair
Of the many symptoms of thyroid dysfunction, hair loss and thinning of the eyebrows is one of the least likely to be misappropriated. While fatigue, weight fluctuations, difficulty thinking clearly, and trouble regulating body temperature are symptoms shared among multiple conditions, thinning eyebrows is distinctly indicative of hypothyroidism.
The condition is typified by a slowing of thyroid function resulting in poor thyroid hormone prevalence and subsequently widespread bodily sluggishness.
A 2008 article published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism showed that thyroid hormones have notable control over hair follicles. In addition to influencing nearly every aspect of the body, the primary thyroid hormones, T4 and T3, regulate various aspects of hair biology including coloration and growth.
Those with thyroid issues suffer reduced metabolic function at the follicular level resulting in premature release of the root and subsequent loss of hair. Hypothyroid patients occasionally experience brittleness or breakages in their hair, which can also contribute to hair loss and eyebrow thinning.
Tips to Resolve Thyroid-Related Eyebrow Thinning and Hair Loss
Because the thyroid is so highly integrated in the body, there are many factors that directly influence its function.
The following areas may appear to be dissociated with one another, but all play a role in the thyroid’s ability to regulate healthy hair growth. Investigating and optimizing the following thyroid and hair-influencing factors can help restore hair health.
Protein is an important substance needed for proper nail and hair growth. Low levels of stomach acid can inhibit your ability to digest protein resulting in poor absorption and utilization. This occurrence can contribute to eyebrow thinning and hair loss.
There are multiple methods of improving stomach acid levels to ensure that protein and other nutrients are correctly digested. Dana Trentini of HypothyroidMom recommends drinking a glass of warm water with lemon juice in the morning and drinking one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in water prior to large meals.
Others suggest taking a high-quality digestive enzyme prior to large meals. Additionally, digestive enzymes can be taken in conjunction with apple cider vinegar to further empower digestion.
Those with a diagnosed thyroid condition are frequently treated with hormone replacement medications. Unfortunately, some thyroid medications can further contribute to hair loss instead of reducing it.
For those who are not currently on thyroid medications, there is still a risk of drug induced hair loss. Many common drugs associated with conditions relating to hypothyroidism can contribute to eyebrow thinning and hair loss.
The following medications may promote hair loss:
- Acne medications containing vitamin A
- Anti-clotting drugs
- Birth control pills
- Breast cancer treatments
- Epilepsy drugs (anticonvulsants)
- High blood pressure medications including beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, and diuretics
- High cholesterol medications
- Immune suppressing medications
- Mood stabilizers
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Parkinson’s disease drugs
- Weight loss supplements
Speaking with your doctor about medication alternatives or getting off certain medications can assist in restoring hair growth.
Omega-3 fatty acids are well recognized for their positive impact on brain health. Less known is their effect on hair growth. Increasing your intake of Omega-3’s by eating more foods such as wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, herring, and many varieties of nuts can improve hair health.
Evening Primrose Oil can inhibit conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) at the follicular level, which may help resolve male pattern baldness. This is particularly true in women but most individuals facing hair loss can benefit from supplementing with evening primrose oil.
Iron supplementation can help resolve ferritin deficiencies and restore hair growth. Ferritin is the stored form of iron and is an essential part of the growth phase of hair. Low ferritin levels are commonly seen among those with hypothyroidism and is frequently the source of female hair loss. If the body is not getting enough iron from its diet, it pulls ferritin from non-essential tissues such as hair bulbs. The resulting ferritin deficiency in these areas causes loss of hair.
Always be careful when supplementing with iron as too much can be dangerous. Iron can also inhibit thyroid medication absorption so it’s best to take them at least three hours apart from one another.
The Importance of Optimized Thyroid Treatment
In addition to alleviating hair loss, proper thyroid treatment can improve overall bodily function and wellness. The medical standard is Levothyroxine, a synthetic form of T4. The hope is that the body will convert the inactive form of thyroid hormone (T4) into the active form (T3). T3 is required for cell function throughout the body. Unfortunately, many people with hypothyroidism have difficulty converting T4 to T3, which means that supplementing with T4 medications does little to resolve the issue – learn more about why Levothyroxine may not be working for you.
Some patients benefit greatly from other treatment methods including natural desiccated thyroid hormone, a compounded time-release T3 formulation, or a combination T4 and T3 medication. Discovering your unique thyroid needs is essential to acquiring proper thyroid treatment.
Healing Hypothyroidism for Hair Health
Hair is not the most vital element of health, but it can be an important indicator of dysfunction. Recognizing the presence of a thyroid condition and taking the appropriate steps to resolve it can lead to a restoration of health and hair growth.
In all cases, patients suffering from thyroid-related hair loss require individualized treatment to optimize their thyroid function.
Furthermore, even if thyroid treatment is optimized it, can be beneficial for hair growth to incorporate other supporting practices such as supplementation, balancing stomach acid levels, and removing or altering medications.
Supporting overall wellness by healing the thyroid is an effective method for keeping hair and eyebrows full and healthy.