It is a fact that there’s a distinct link between hair loss and poor digestion. That’s why betaine, a chemical that the body produces naturally and helps to support levels of stomach acidity, has been shown to help with hair loss.
Written by Alice Carlill
What Are The Causes Of Hair Loss?
There are many reasons why people experience hair loss. It can be down to your hormones and genetics, or a number of medical conditions which can also cause issues with hair thinning and growth.
It is important to know what the potential causes of hair loss might be, in order to have a comprehensive overview of how betaine and hair loss are linked.
There are many reasons why female bodies can experience hormonal changes.
Women who go through pregnancy and childbirth will have significant hormonal fluxes. Hormone levels also change in women who experience menopause or use birth control pills.
Hormone changes can cause unpleasant symptoms such as night sweats, mood swings, greasy hair and yes, hair loss.
This is due to the fact that estrogen actually helps hair to grow. When hormone levels drop, hair then begins to grow more slowly.
Try these shampoos and conditioners which are great for menopausal hair.
You may have heard of the condition alopecia areata. This is an autoimmune disease that attacks the hair follicle, resulting in significant hair loss and disruption to hair growth.
Or you might be familiar with thyroid disease, another medical condition that negatively affects hair.
These are just two of the most common medical conditions that can result in hair loss, but there are many more.
If you’re undergoing treatment for cancer, it’s well known that you may experience hair loss as a significant side effect.
But if you’re taking medication for a number of other conditions, disruption to normal hair growth can also occur. These include depression, arthritis, and medication for high blood pressure.
There are many studies that prove a significant link between iron deficiency and hair loss.
In fact, this study found in the Journal of Korean Medical Science found that iron deficiency directly contributes to both male- and female- pattern baldness.
If you have less iron in your body than is ideal, your body’s reserve of protein, known as ferritin, will use the iron you have for key bodily functions, such as managing your thyroid.
This can then result in hair thinning or loss, as the iron that you do have is directed away from maintaining and managing normal hair growth.
This is where betaine comes in to help minimize hair loss. Ensuring that you have enough betaine means that your stomach acidity will be maintained.
Your stomach naturally produces this acid in order to help break down protein, absorb minerals, digest your food and fight off any bacteria or viruses that you may inadvertently consume.
Having a normal level of stomach acid is therefore vital in helping with iron absorption. In turn, having the right amount of iron in your body helps with hair loss.
It will also have the added benefit of helping with other digestive issues or discomfort, such as bloating or excess wind.
Products and Chemicals
Some people may also experience hair loss due to use of hair products that contain harmful ingredients. It’s always best to check the ingredients list, particularly if you have allergies.
Studies have also been done on the link between caffeine and hair loss, as well as using adhesive on the scalp for wigs and hairpieces. Even dreadlocks have been known to cause hair loss, due to the excessive weight on the scalp.
In short, many outside factors can cause hair loss, but see a physician if you’re worried about your health.
What Is Betaine And Why Is It Good For Hair?
Betaine is a naturally occurring chemical in the body. It’s used by medical professionals to treat people with certain disorders, notably osteoporosis and heart disease. It is also critical to liver function and cellular reproduction.
Betaine is particularly great at metabolizing a chemical called homocysteine. This is important to the normal bodily functions of the blood, bones, eyes, heart, muscles, nerves, and brain.
When people have excess levels of homocysteine, it can cause problems with their metabolism, as well as heart disease and stroke.
It’s safe to say that betaine is therefore fairly fundamental to the body’s day-to-day processing.
The good news is that you can help supplement the betaine in your body by consuming particular food.
It’s therefore easy enough to ensure that you’re taking enough betaine to help manage any hair loss or thinning.
There are supplements that you can consume, as well as a variety of different food items that all have betaine within them.
Betaine is found in foods including beets, broccoli, grains and cereals, shellfish and spinach.
Supplements will usually come in either powder, tablet, or capsules. These are entirely natural – in fact, betaine supplements are manufactured as a byproduct of sugar beet processing.
These Nova Nutritions capsules contain 648 mg of betaine to help promote healthy digestive function.
What’s more, if you really want to help target any hair loss, betaine is a fatty acid that occurs in and derives from coconuts.
Using hair care products and treatments with coconut in them can therefore significantly help manage any symptoms of hair loss that you may be experiencing.
However, it’s not recommended that children take any extra betaine. It is also worth noting that taking betaine might increase cholesterol levels. Always consult with your doctor before consuming.
4 Ways That Betaine Can Help With Hair Loss
In short, betaine helps to maintain normal levels of stomach acidity.
This in turn assists iron absorption, which then minimizes hair loss. It will also have the added benefit of helping with digestion.
You may not think that a happy, healthy stomach necessarily has that much effect on your hair, but in reality, it very much does!
Taking supplementary betaine may therefore help you manage both your digestion and your hair loss.
Here’s exactly how betaine helps prevent hair loss:
1. Betaine Moisturizes Hair
Now it’s a known fact that water is incredibly important to maintain healthy hair, but not everyone drinks as much as they should.
Betaine is very moisturizing, creating a barrier between the hair follicle and any bacteria or pathogens that attempt to attack it.
It does this by attracting water to the hair follicles. This ensures that they’re lubricated and less vulnerable to dryness.
Betaine also has properties that are anti-inflammatory. Betaine can therefore help reduce the risk of scalp infection, which can cause hair loss.
2. It Cleanses Your Hair
As discussed above, betaine works to minimize the number of contaminants with which the hair follicle comes into contact.
Pollution, free radicals, germs – all of these contaminants can build up and lead to infection and inflammation in the hair and scalp.
By keeping the hair follicles free of these impurities, betaine helps the scalp and hair stay cleaner, thereby avoiding unnecessary hair loss.
3. Betaine Protects Hair’s Protein
By protecting the hair protein structure – specifically its keratin – betaine works to reduce hair thinning and loss. Betaine attracts water to each hair shaft.
The water works to protect and reinforce the vulnerable cuticle. This allows the hair strand to grow longer with greater volume and texture.
4. Betaine Improves Hair Elasticity Thus Reducing Hair Loss
When the keratin in hair retains more water, it’s more flexible. This then increases the elasticity and durability of the hair – it’s less likely to easily bend or break.
By ensuring that hair follicles are kept moist, betaine works to improve hair’s structure, flexibility, and elasticity.
Dry hair results in fragile strands and an increased risk of hair loss. Betaine actively works to keep hair moisturized and luscious.
What Are Other Benefits Of Betaine?
There are multiple benefits to taking betaine – from helping with hair loss through to managing the health of your heart.
These are just a few of the best non-hair related benefits (we’ll get to how betaine helps with hair loss next):
Can Reduce Liver Disease
Studies in rats have suggested that betaine might help to reduce deposits of harmful fat in the liver. There’s more research needed on the effects of betaine in people, but preliminary trials have shown similarly positive outcomes.
If you’re keen to get skin glowing – and who isn’t – betaine can help.
Betaine is a humectant, which means that it’s a common moisturizing agent. Betaine therefore works to gently hydrate the skin, helping your cells to maintain moisture and stay plump and youthful.
As a result of this, betaine also has an anti-ageing effect, and can reduce wrinkles and minimizing fine lines.
Plus, it’s anti-irritant, so should work on even the most sensitive skin or scalp.
May Help With Heart Disease
If you take betaine alongside other supplements – most importantly vitamins B6 and B12 and folic acid – studies suggest that it will reduce levels of homocysteine in the body.
This is because betaine helps to metabolize the homocysteine, reducing its risk of causing conditions such as atherosclerosis.
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