Bare with me and by the end I will explain to you why GUT HEALTH IS FOLLICLE HEALTH and that HAIR HEALTH is all connected.
Two and a half years ago, I was working on a beautiful client in my new glorified garage, pandemic style, my safe one person salon. I remember she sat in my chair and said to me " I just saw this incredible doctor right here in your area. I said "in my area? up here in the middle of suburbia?"
'YES!" she said with incredible excitement and she went on to tell me about her hair loss and her stress and auto-immune issues and that she has been searching for answers and even though he was incredibly expensive and insurance covered well nothing (of course) she was in search of answers and had gotten them. Ill never forget it because it stuck in my mind for the next 2 and a half years. I consider her one of my guiding lights and even though I distinctly remember thinking this young woman was and is vibrant and full of youth how could she be experiencing any sort of hair loss, I knew it was no mistake that she mentioned this journey to me because two and half years later here I am looking for answers at her integrative doctors door, right here in suburbia. BUT my WORD!!!! Literally, everything out of network is so expensive and that makes me sad- actually mad because really who can afford this awesome knowledge. I literally pray my credit card will go thru everytime I check out however, I am determined to find answers for us!
GUT HEALTH and HAIR & SCALP HEALTH IS ALL RELATED. Nothing exists seperately. I've grown up in a beauty industry that does not do a good job of addressing the WHOLE HEALTH of the person. you have dry hair Oh here's a deep conditioner, Oh all of sudden you have dry itchy scalp here is a medicated shampoo.
NO.THESE ARE NOT THE ONLY ANSWERS.
So ive been on a mission to find my answers and try anything I hear about (yes, even like urine) and go wherever the next sign leads me. Believe you me, I am the most critical and judgmental non believer out there but for some reason I have always been open or at least remained open to my intuition, to the need to know WHY and HOW, needless to say its has left me in debt and overdrawn but darn the answers are worth it!
I believe the combination of Eastern and Western medicine is a beautiful union.
I believe you must be your own advocate
I believe in second opinions
I believe in trying anything and everything
I believe its better to do something then to do nothing
I believe I am a messenger of this expensive insight and that there is so much information out there so don't stop looking for answers
I believe in science
I believe its best to always run it all by the professionals. The doctors, your doctors, and the specialists, the intellects and the researchers, the doctors of both schools of thought
I believe I am always learning a forever student
I believe you will find your answers. My answers may not be yours.
I believe I need to keep asking WHY? and HOW?
I'm just here to shed light on ALOT of options (on my credit card for sure with a tanking credit score. YOLO! )
So here is what I learned this weekend (3/9/2022) and ill keep it to the point so its easier to digest.
I went in to the Integrative Medicine doctor at 9am and that is where I met with the nutritionist to go over my first round of bloodwork for food sensitivities.
I was really excited about this as I had previously done a colonoscopy and FODMAP diet to address why I looked distended and 6 months pregnant by just inhaling air first thing in the morning.
She began the session by confirming to me that my question was right on, follicles and gut are totally connected.
GUT HEALTH and HAIR & SCALP HEALTH IS ALL RELATED. Nothing exists seperately.
STEP 1: Gut lining corresponds to the follicle health. If your gut is inflamed so are you follicles. Inflammation affects the hormones.
Here is a quote and medical explanation:
"A healthy, diverse microbiome helps regulate peripheral immune responses in the gut, preventing system-wide spread of inflammation. However, overgrowth or imbalance of commensal and pathogenic bacteria perturbs the balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. The shift in mucosal pro-inflammatory mediators leads to disrupted epithelial integrity, disrupted neuroendocrine signaling, and over- or under-neurotransmission of the vagus nerve, a component responsible for stress responsiveness.6 High mucosal levels of IFN-gamma, TNF-α, IL-6, IL-22, and IL-17 are commonly reported in people with intestinal dysbiosis and various bowel diseases. TNF-α, specifically potentiates an inflammatory state in the gut, delaying gastric emptying and disrupting colonic transit time, leading to a variety of clinical GI symptoms.11 Simultaneously, when there is a breakdown in epithelial permeability, these pro-inflammatory mediators contribute to the cascade of inflammation elsewhere in the body—including the hair follicle. Research suggests an interconnectedness of inflammation and the destruction of hair follicle immune privilege, premature catagen induction, regression, and hair growth arrest. This supports the proposition that controlling the source of inflammation emanating from the gut can reduce the expression of inflammation in the hair follicle itself."
She then asked me HOW I eat and I was stalled. how I eat? I eat like someone whose been a server, waiter, bartender, hairdresser, mom all their life! I get a minute in between clients or tables and I stand up in the corner any corner and I shovel food so fast in my mouth.
And even when I wasn't working as a waitress or a bartender or a hair colorist I was a mom who has 3 minutes to eat before my kids needed me too wipe their poop and break up the screaming match.
STEP 2: WHAT IS MY STATE while eating (sympathetic or parasympathetic)
She said one thing I won't forget. EATING ON THE GO IS SYMPATHETIC EATING
"The sympathetic nervous system activates the fight or flight response during a threat or perceived danger, and the parasympathetic nervous system restores the body to a state of calm."
That means all my life I've only always eaten in a state of flight our fight. I paused hard at this. ALL MY LIFE. I eat like someone is chasing me. I eat in heightened adrenaline. oooof
So she said to start with changing gears: even if brief. Just try.
STEP 3: What causes inflammation for YOU?
I can't say what YOUR triggers are but I will share with you mine and I knew they were for me because I had previously done a colonoscopy and the FODMAP with a nutritionist with by the way I only lasted the minimal amount of time on that it was so hard!
anywho my sensitivities: bananas, pineapple, collard greens, chick pea (and I'm Lebanese! I are grew up on hummus!), lemon, sesame, and broccoli.
and these all checked out for me. I mean lemon!!! I put that in EVERYTHING!!
And.......SUGAR SUGAR SWEETS AND MORE SUGAR! I crave it all day everyday. Twix was a few snacks throughout the day for me. I was shook (at 40 years old!) to learn sugar is addicting! Pardon? and it causes inflammation!!!! Again this made me sad and mad. Like why do they sell all this when they know its addicting (as I check my instagram and refresh my Twitter)
Lastly, I realize too from both doctors Eastern and Western, give the gut time and it can heal, it just needs a break.
We go hard.
For me, we mapped out a very do-able plan. let me preface: growing up I lived off air and potato chips, no sleep and gatorade, and in my 30s, post kids, in our new age of stress and sickness life came at me fast and unforgiving.
I baulked at the gluten sensitive, the dairy avoiders, the fermented food believers and here I am in pure humility and tail in between my legs finally realizing I am exactly this.
My gut inflames at gluten, distends at too much dairy, hair falls out thereafter in three month cycles and wouldn't you know it my gut welcomes all kimchi and not artificial probiotics.
oh I certainly have cheat days. But at least I know why and what is the consequence.
So ill share MY plan that this very expensive place has me trying and this may not be yours but hopefully it may help you look for answers of your own.
1. Start with light stretching in the morning (no promises)
2. I love my cup of coffee. have it without sugar or add monk fruit (always try to buy organic coffee as it is a big source of pesticides when not)
3.bone broth bone broth bone broth (and on an empty stomach is THE BEST. she said: its like serum for your lining. I get that)
4. try intermittent fasting =and maybe just start at 1-3 days a week go slow too much too fast is incredibly shocking for the system. key word TRY. see how I feel
5. eat savory full meals (ween off breads and artificial sugars)
6. I need meat ( I tend to get anemic) so if I crave meat eat half the palm of my hand for size.
7. when buying food, and if you can, source out the freshest kind. famers markets, meat straight from butchers and farms. this is hard. I know and expensive.
8. I need to ween down on sugar ands carbs and by carbs I mean bread for me and what I loved about this place and this Dr. was she said at least just start at 40% decrease nothing too shocking for the system. I also knew I could actually accomplish this. it was do-able.
9. fill meals with savory options and vegetables that work for MY gut (like I always ate broccoli and hummus and kale thinking but its healthy so its good for me and the whole time I'm creating inflammation in my gut!)
10. lastly, the gut can heal.
Oooooh did I just speak ALOT?? I'm sorry to ramble but I sure hope this helps
I guess may biggest lesson is that I want the Najeau Community, my Najeau Promise, is to see that it's a WHOLE-istic approach. its not one thing or one magic pill its a combination of things and ultimately what YOUR own body needs to be whole (and we are what we eat that may or may not work for our own bodies) I mean I was easting broccoli and hummus all day long and those are healthy but for ME those are inflammatory!
FOR ME (emphasis on ME) THOSE ARE INFLAMMATORY. Wwowowowoowo
My friends. its taken me a while to get here, I'm not even half way thru, but I hope that I help sooooooo ill spend the money to get us some damn good answers !