Why Nutrition Matters in Alopecia Areata
By Jodi Briden, CHHC, AADP
We’ve all been told there is no cure for Alopecia Areata (AA). Like many of you, I’ve always found that frustrating to hear. I’ve had AA for over 35 years so I know the many challenges we face, living in a world that judges us by our appearance. I’ve known the heartache of having a needle injected into my scalp and to have the non-treated area grow back first. I’ve endured the many years of being told by family doctors and dermatologists ‘we’re getting closer to an answer and a cure’. I’ve experienced the fear and the fragile hope of not wanting to lose all of my hair. Despite living most of my life in various stages of hair loss and for the last 10 years, no hair at all, I’ve always believed that somehow I’d figure out what my own body needed to grow my hair, and to heal my body.
Several years ago I took my passion for food and health to a new level and became certified as a holistic health coach. I was taught by some of the best functional medicine doctors in the world. I began to see the connection of the powerful impact of food, the incredible ability of our bodies to heal themselves and the impact that my diet has had on my health, including having alopecia areata.
For the last several years I’ve made many changes in my diet. I will admit, I began noticing the ‘hopeful’ thoughts I had given up on years ago, were beginning to creep back into my thinking. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I looked in the mirror hoping to see some hair growth but now I was.
Even after everything I’d learned about nutrition and the body, I still had some doubt, but I became more optimistic after I came across a study that inspired me to make significant dietary changes, starting with removing gluten. This study, done in an Italian hospital in 1995, found a connection between the allergy to wheat and alopecia areata. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7557104) .
I am beyond thrilled to share, that after making numerous changes in my diet, feeding myself with positive thoughts and actions – my hair is coming back! After 10 years of absolutely no hair growth, the hair on my head, my legs, my armpits and even my eyebrows are growing!
It is very possible to heal. I now know that to be true.
Having any autoimmune disease is a sign that our immune system is damaged and is in need of healing. While losing our hair, thankfully, isn’t fatal, it is a sign of much deeper issues going on inside our body. The common trait found in all autoimmune diseases, including alopecia, is internal inflammation. We have the ability to reduce that inflammation and support our body functioning at it’s optimum level of health, simply by changing our diet. There are certain foods that are naturally anti-inflammatory and other foods that exacerbate the inflammation. Our body can use it’s natural healing abilities to begin repairing the damage by removing the triggers and filling up with the good stuff!
While nutrition has been a vital part of the process of healing my body, there have been other aspects of healing that have been just as important. Minimizing negative self talk, believing that healing is possible and filling our life with thoughts and actions that lead to sustainable good health are just as important as the food we feed ourselves.
While the nutrition and nurturing lifestyle may not be answering the question of why alopecia areata occurs (and hopefully the research of GAM will find that answer), I do know it plays a vitally important part, in not only healing AA but for long term good health. I am very committed to not only providing support to our community but I strongly believe that including more nutritional studies in the GAM research will lead to more questions and even greater knowledge for how to cure alopecia areata.
I encourage you to stay positive, to seek out the answers that you need to heal your body and know that you are not alone. I look forward to the opportunity to support you on this journey back to great health!
Jodi Briden, owner/founder of Your Wellness Partner, llc provides customized holistic wellness programs for individuals and groups; coaching, supporting, and guiding clients to regain their health, alleviate symptoms and heal chronic conditions, including alopecia & other autoimmune diseases, and live a life of wellness, all naturally. www.yourwellnesspartner.org 267-975-6367