I’m really interested in the link between gut health and autoimmunity. And I’m curious to know if the autoimmune diet I tried back in 2018 could’ve actually made a real difference to my alopecia – if only I’d stuck to it!
So I went to see a Functional Medicine (FM doctor) when I was home in Ireland last summer (2019) to explore this link further.
The doctor ran some tests on my microbiome and diagnosed me with gut dysbiosis. She told me that this can lead to autoimmune conditions, plus mental illnesses such as brain fog, anxiety and depression – due to its effect on our neurotransmitters. I can relate to that.
After a false start (see comments below), I started this diet in April, 2020. And I’m posting weekly progress reports about it on my Facebook page.
So make sure to join me there, and see how I get on!
Note: I will be writing up a full case study of the diet, plus doing a proper video on my YouTube channel (as soon as I set it up properly!) over the coming weeks. Watch this space… 😉
Interested in more natural solutions for hair loss? Then check out these posts!
1. Aloe Vera for Alopecia – Yep, it’s a thing!
2. Nutrition – Some handy dietary tips, whether you’ve got hair or not!
3. The Deal with Neem – Check out this wonder oil
4. Meditation Tips for Stress – Which in turn, can help with hair loss.
About 4 months ago, my daughter found a bald spot, about 1 inch diameter, on the top/back of my head. It grew to 3 inches dia in just a months time. It is now 5 inches. I also found spots on each side of my head that are 2 inches dia.
My new hats, which I found on Amazon, are my best friend, as they hide the spots and keep them out of the sun but also help my anxiety over losing my hair.
I found your site and you have been such an encouragement.
I started cutting out sugar, dairy, cutting back on coffee, gluten, and processed foods.
No hair growth but I feel so much better and I think I can handle the loss of hair much better.
My problem is, I am not sure where and what to go to to help with the hair loss.
There is so much out there. The dermatoligist prescribed shampoo and a liquid to put on each spot twice a day. But, something in my does not want to use meds. I am a huge fan of going without meds if at all possible.
One lady told me to use her stuff that she sells but it would cost me over $400.00.
This farm girl cannot afford that.
You encourage me so much and reading others post help too.
I wil keep searching and reading.
Thank you for helping a fellow alopecia get through life, as different as it is now.
Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, and I’m very sorry to hear about your daughter’s alopecia (and yours, too). May I ask how old she is? It’s never an easy thing to go through but especially when you’re young, it can be a very scary thing. I’m so glad she has you to support her through this…even if it does mean that you’re also experiencing it, at least you can share and process the condition as it unfolds.
I’m very glad to hear your alopecia hats are providing you with some comfort, too – if you are ever interested in light and hypoallergenic bamboo headscarves, I sell a collection of those (plus cotton ones) on my site also.
Thank you for your kind feedback – I really appreciate it! And it’s great that you’re feeling better since making those dietary changes. It will take a while to see results as if there’s internal inflammation/gut issues going on that needs to balance out first. Plus, it depends where you might be on the hair-growth cycle. But stick with it if you can and I sincerely hope you see a big difference!!
I totally understand what you mean about not knowing where to turn. Personally, I didn’t have great experiences with tricologists/dermatologists as they just prescribed steroid creams or injections (with harmful side effects) without taking into account what was actually the root cause. So I think it’s good to go with your instincts and hold off on medication (if you can!) in favour of a more natural, holistic approach. Have a look at some oils you can use or natural shampoos to support growth (some of my favourites in this post). There are even some homemade treatments you can try. Of course, nothing is guaranteed but the things I mention above can reduce hair loss and promote growth in a far more natural way. And they’re a lot cheaper than what that lady quoted you before!!
I would check out the above posts and if you still feel like you’d like to speak with a professional, perhaps look for a nutritionist, naturopath or functional medicine doctor instead. They will support full body health to get to the root cause rather than just addressing the symptom of hair loss. Often it’s a hormonal imbalance so it could be worthwhile getting those checked too (but a good FM doctor will advise you on what tests to get).
I really hope this helps you and your daughter! Take care and wishing you both all the very best.
Emma / Lady Alopecia 🙂
Thank you for sharing the info. My son who is 13 year old is suffering from AA from April 2020. He has lost 50% of his hair. We have cut down on processed foods and sugars. It is difficult to follow strict diet with his age. We are trying our best with this regard. Can you please let us know whether we can have oats, rice or finger millet instead of wheat?
Also, he is having fermented milk known as Kefir.
We have been advised to use Dithranol cream. Also, planning to take help of Shmuel Gonen’s (Hair Up) treatment. Any advice on the diet and the treatment please.
Hi Shash, thanks for writing in and I’m very sorry to hear about your son. I know what it’s like to get it at such a pivotal age (I was 11) and it’s a very scary thing, particularly as a teenager. You’re doing the right thing by cutting down on processed foods and sugar – and I know it can’t be easy at his age but avoiding these things (and gluten/dairy) even for a short period like a month or two, can make all the difference. I talk more about that in this post on nutrition.
As we all have different things going on with our gut though, I’d recommend taking him to a nutritionist to assess what’s going on in his case. I had gut dysbiosis so I had to cut out certain things and take specific supplements; he might need a different plan though. Still, in general, I’m hearing great things from other alopecians who are trying an AIP diet! When I first did a very strict version of the diet (in 2018, based on the advice in this great book) I couldn’t have any kinds of pulses, grains or beans (so, no oats or rice)…now I’m doing a more relaxed version that seems to work for me! In the one I’m on, I can have oats, rice and millet, yes. But in smaller amounts – really, fats and proteins are the essentials!
I don’t eat any dairy, gluten, soy products, peanuts, corn, or sugar…processed foods and eggs are kept to a minimum. I eat lots of avocado, cashew butter and sweet potato/pumpkin, which bulks things up. I’m not sure why you were advised to use Dithranol cream – isn’t that for psoarisis? However, I haven’t used it personally so I can’t say for certain.
Regarding the Hair Up treatment – I’d exercise caution as I can’t find a list of ingredients for this product…it just says 100% natural but doesn’t disclose what these are! I’ve had success with Nioxin (read my full review here) or for another natural option, try Shapiro MD, which is made by dermatologists. But of course, it’s your call! If you’ve heard good things about the Hair Up treatment, by all means give it a try. I just would be a little wary of how little it actually discloses. Right now, I use Revita shampoo and it’s working quite well for me – getting soft white fuzz back but I know the diet helps a lot, too!
I hope that information helps! Please feel free to join my newsletter also, to keep up with the latest developments! Take care, and wishing you and your son all the very best,
I was diagnosed with Alopecia Areta 16 years ago, and a year ago my doctor recommended taking Allegra. He said there were a few studies that showed it improved some peoples condition. I started taking it, and it’s been working. It’s not a 100% cure, if i don’t take it regularly i start losing hair the next day. But when i start taking it again it takes a few days or even a few weeks to start working. Thought i’d pass along the information 🙂
Hi Laura – thanks so much for your comment! You’re the second person I’ve heard to mention Allegra, actually…one lady contacted me through my FB page and asked if I’d heard of it for alopecia. It was the first I’d heard of it so I couldn’t offer much advise (other than the fact I’ve read research into antihistamines for hair loss and they can be effective). Since you can vouch for it also, I’m curious to try! Did you notice any bad side effects though? Personally, I’m wary of taking anything that I’d have to continue using every day as I’m not sure about long-term effects of using antihistamines – but it’s wonderful that you’ve found something that works for you! It could be a nice idea for anyone whose hair loss is triggered by allergies. 🙂
Thank you for the kind words 🙂 Of course, please go ahead and share, thanks for asking! Yes I have joined your newsletter, and looking forward to your yoga classes as well.
You are such an inspiration, keep doing what you are doing! Take care xx
Thank you, Shino – and great, I’ll share your site…always nice to expand the community as much as we can!! Take care and keep in touch xxx
Thanks for the advise – I will try that in the meantime and when I am ready, will give it a second go at AIP! Here is my link 😉 https://shino-arts.jimdosite.com/alopecia/
From your fan 🙂
Hi again! Thank you for sharing that, what a lovely site – and I look forward to listening to your music! I’m so sorry to hear about the suddenness and severity of your AU though, you’ve obviously had an incredibly intense few months. Well done you for recording your experience, I’m sure it’ll prove invaluable for others going through a similar thing. Do you mind if I share your website on my Facebook page, actually? Also, feel free to join my newsletter if you like. I’m in the middle of developing a special “yoga for alopecia” course (starting in November and hosted online, obviously! 😉 ) if that would be something you might be interested in. Take care in the meantime and I hope the immunotherapy helps – also that you get headache relief, I’ve had them chronically for over 2 years now so can appreciate how horrible it is!!
Lots of love to you xxx
Thanks for sharing Lady Alopecia! Googling “AIP Diet and Alopecia” got me here finally – and been reading through your articles for hours now – really great stuff in here, I wish I’d come across earlier! I tried AIP for a few weeks – and gave up last week. Felt hungry all the time, and so difficult to find the alternative food i.e. squash plantain cassava where I live, and if you are vegan protein intake is a bit of an issue. At the same time I feel like I might want to try it again when the time is right, and I am 80% determined on calling it quit on all medical treatments (starting topical immunotherapy next week) so your experiences will definitely be of much help for me. Looking forward to your articles/YouTube updates!
Sharing is caring – please see below for my alopecia experience if you like 😉
Hi Shino, Thanks so much for your lovely comment! I’m really glad you’re finding value in my site. I hear you on the AIP thing, it was tough at first but I’m doing a more relaxed version now that lets me have beans, pulses, nuts and seeds. I still find that I need to soak everything for a long time though and to never buy the canned stuff – my gut is much happier that way! I do eat meat also, so I had more choices. I guess what you could do in the meantime is to really avoid processed foods, sugar, alcohol and ESPECIALLY gluten/wheat (so, so inflammatory!)…plus soy products (if you can). I’m sure that doing that in itself will make a big difference, and I give some supplement tips in this post if you’re interested. 🙂
I tried checking out your link but it didn’t work? Sorry about that, I’d love to read about your experience if you wanna try again… Best of luck with the topical immunotherapy, wishing you all the best!
Lady Alopecia x
I recently found two patches. I’m so grateful for your blog.
I have read the medical medium thyroid book and a few articles on AIP diets. Curious how it’s been going I didn’t see anything on YouTube! How similar is the diet in 2018 to this one???
Thanks so much for your comment – I’m really sorry to hear about your patches, too. And I hope you can find some info here that helps! I must apologise, I still haven’t gotten around to posting videos yet, as I actually got married in February so temporarily suspended the diet as I knew it would go out the window! 😉 I had been seeing a lot of success with it though in terms of digestion, mood etc and a little regrowth. The diet I tried in 2018 was quite similar but with more supplements – it was from Amy Myers’ book, The Autoimmune Solution, which I uncovered after reading a brilliant article on the link between gut health and hair loss. More on that here. But basically, they say similar things – that if you have any kind of autoimmune disorder like alopecia, you’re more susceptible to other autoimmune stuff (maybe thyroid issues too) and that reducing inflammatory foods (gluten, dairy, eggs, tofu and sugar) is a good idea. I promise I will get around to doing the videos soon though once I can get my supply of supplements sent again! 🙂