In this Module you'll learn why gut health is so important for hair health, and how you can repair and optimize it as quickly and easily as possible so you can go back to living your life and not worrying about your hair.
The microbiome is the name given to the collection of bacteria found inside the human body, specifically the gut. Latest estimates show that there are at least as many bacterial cells as human cells that 'make up the human body', if not more.
We're only just learning how important the microbiome is for overall health. However it's obvious that if so much of what we call 'us' is made from bacteria that this is something that could be very important to our health.
For example, having a healthy gut flora will help to synthesise the correct vitamins that we need to function at 100%, whilst also breaking down our food to make it more bioavailable for us.
Studies have shown that certain probiotics can even improve thyroid function, increase serum vitamin D levels and decrease oxidative stress, all of which could affect the health of your hair.
Since we know that all of these factors are incredibly important for maintaining good health, and therefore a thick head of hair, the necessity of cultivating the right sort of microbiome cannot be overstated.
However, problems arise because so much of modern life can harm the bacteria in our body. Take antibiotics for example. Most of us have taken antibiotics at least once in our life, and much of the meat we eat comes from animals that have been given antibiotics whilst they were reared.
Yet antibiotics are designed to kill bacteria and usually end up harming the 'good' bacteria we have inside us too. Furthermore, food preservatives are included in foods and drinks to increase shelf life by killing bacteria. Yet when we eat these foods and drinks we also eat the preservative, which then goes into our body and starts to kill our own bacteria.
The good bacteria in the body of someone from the developed world, is constantly under attack. For example from overly hygienic living, antibiotics, preservatives, fluorides and processed foods devoid of enzymes and natural bacteria.
As you'll see later, raw fruits and vegetables picked straight from the plant and eaten right away is one of the best sources of good bacteria for your body - yet when was the last time you ate an apple right from the tree without it being washed or sprayed?
When this happens, our bodies struggle to function properly, and will often become overwhelmed with the process of dealing with food (since an unhealthy microbiome will be unable to digest the food properly), as well as the toxic by-products created by the bad bacteria. When this happens, hormonal imbalance can occur, resulting in oxidative stress to the entire body and, as we now know, eventual hair loss.
Our goal, therefore, is to revert our microbiome back to the state that it should be in: a plethora of diverse commensal bacteria strains, that work in a symbiotic relationship with us. So, how can you heal your microbiome, rectify hormonal imbalance and stop the inflammatory cascade from eventually killing your own hair follicles?
We have developed a simple, three step process to do this:
1. Remove damaging and inflammatory triggers
2. Repair your gut lining
3. Replace missing digestive enzymes and missing bacteria
1: Removing damaging and inflammatory triggers
First, let's look at what you should try to avoid. In some cases it's not always possible to avoid all of these, but try your best.
Antibiotics can cause real damage to your microbiome, so only take them if you really need to.Often doctors are too quick to prescribe them for even a common cold when they may not be absolutely necessary.
Please note, the advice given here does not constitute medical advice.Please consult your doctor if you have questions.
Try to avoid too much use of hygiene products like sprays and wipes. It's best to try to avoid using body washes or anything with chemicals in them.
Use natural ingredients wherever possible since they are gentler on your bacteria.
Processed foods and preservatives
As well as typically containing high amounts of PUFAs and scoring high on the Glycaemic Index, processed foods and anything with chemical preservatives or artificial flavors can damage your gut by irritating the lining and harming your good bacteria.
For these reasons, we would highly recommend you try to avoid them.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and other drugs
Medications such as ibuprofen, Tylenol (acetaminophen), Aleve, Motrin, and many others used for headaches, migraines, and chronic pain can lead to gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding after five days of continuous use.
Many chronic users develop chronic inflammation of the GI tract-a major cause of leaky gut and, potentially, autoimmune disease.
2: Repair your gut lining
Now that we've removed inflammatory triggers, we can start the process of repairing your gut so that it is in an optimal state to harbour healthy bacteria and assimilate the greatest amount of nutrients.
We've looked at this in other modules, but it's definitely worth repeating. The best way to quickly repair and heal your gut is a detox.
The harmful bacteria which we do not want inhabiting our gut thrive on sugars and unsaturated fats. They therefore find the vegetable juice inhospitable, causing them to be die and be eliminated.
This is why your stomach will often start grumbling and complaining, perhaps leaving you running for the toilet when you begin the detox. This is a sign you may have bacteria that aren't used to the highly beneficial vegetable juices.
Bones broths are also a great way to heal the gut, providing nutrients and minerals that feed the good bacteria. That's why it's a good idea to have at least one cup each day.
We will have a new section coming soon about how and why to do a detox which resets your gut and alkalises your body at the same time.
3: Replace missing digestive enzymes and healthy bacteria
After 'wiping the slate clean', your gut is now in a perfect condition to be re-colonised by bacteria.
Our sole aim here is to make sure these bacteria are the good ones, benefiting us by helping to digest our foods, synthesise essential vitamins, and ward off infections. The best way to do this is a three-fold approach:
1. Eat organic fruits and vegetables right off the plant.
Bacteria buried deep in the fruit or veg can make it past the stomach and into your gut. This is the ideal form of bacteria and incredibly healthy and healing.
Second best to 'right off the plant' is from the farmers market where the produce hasn't travelled as far, so more healthy bacteria has survived, and hasn't been sprayed, washed or irradiated like a lot of the produce has in supermarkets.
(They do that to kill the bacteria to extend the shelf life.)
2. Eat fermented foods and drinks, like sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha and kefir.
It's a good idea to add traditional fermented foods as a mainstay in your diet. These include sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha and kefir. These are delicious and contain lots of friendly bacteria.
You can also try drinking 15ml of apple cider vinegar mixed with 150ml of warm water and honey before bed.
3: Take a high quality probiotic
See next section.
Next: A complete probiotic with 6 hand-picked hair-enhancing probiotic strains
It can be difficult to get enough of the right bacteria from fruit, veg and fermented foods alone. Therefore a convenient way to get around this is to take a probiotic supplement every day.
Studies have shown again and again that doing so can have an enormous effect on our health, from treating IBS to reducing the severity of allergies.
In fact, there are even anecdotes of probiotic supplementation helping with mental health issues.
Hairguard has developed the most advanced complete probiotic for hair growth specifically for people who are taking a non-chemical approach to reversing hair loss.