Alopecia Areata: Symptoms and Causes
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Alopecia Areata: Symptoms and Causes

Alopecia Areata

Alopecia Areata

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss. This condition can be extremely distressing. Like all autoimmune disorders, alopecia areata occurs when the immune system, which ordinarily fights infection, instead attacks the body's own tissues.

The disease attacks hair follicles and causes a wide range of symptoms. The loss of hair, which could be first noticed as a small bald patch on the scalp, usually grows to involve other hairy parts of the body. Hair loss could be permanent or temporary. The good news is that it can be treated in most cases, although most patients will require medication or therapy.

Doctors do not yet know what causes alopecia areata, but they believe that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may be responsible. 

Alopecia areata is more common in people with other autoimmune diseases, such as arthritis or thyroid disease. It also seems to run in families, so genetics may play a role.

Foods To Avoid in Your Diet if You Have Alopecia Areata

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that makes the body lose the ability to grow hair. The body doesn’t recognise its own hair as something to grow, and thus it begins to destroy the roots of the hair with the immune system. 

The American Hair Loss Association says the exact cause is unknown, but thyroid dysfunction, genetics, stress, infections, autoimmune disorders and side effects of medications are possible triggers.

The most frequent treatments for alopecia areata include corticosteroids, immunosuppressants and even chemotherapy - but they can have severe side effects. One of the most common treatments involves injections into the scalp which is often painful and not that effective.

A person who has alopecia areata, a type of inflammatory hair loss, should avoid eating these foods:

Grains, legumes, potatoes, pepper, dairy, eggs, alcohol, coffee, sugar, food additives and oil. These foods generally trigger an inflammatory reaction and hence you need to stop consuming these foods for a few months. You can then work with excluded foods back in one at a time to figure out which foods are triggering inflammatory reactions.

Foods to Include in Your Diet if You Have Alopecia Areata

Wondering whether alopecia areata can be reversed with diet?

Well, if you are suffering from alopecia areata, we recommend including plenty of protein and healthy fats in your diet. A hair-friendly diet must support the body’s protein requirements to trigger the growth of healthy hair. 

The paleo autoimmune diet is rich in omega oil, antioxidants and seafood rich in minerals and vitamins that are essential for treating autoimmune diseases like alopecia areata.

The Mediterranean diet is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, nuts and healthy oils.

Probiotics are also important to replace the gut’s normal bacteria and reduce inflammation. This can improve the skin’s microbiome as well as reverse hair loss or prevent it from getting worse.

Hair growth depends largely on your age, hair texture, type of hair and health conditions. Consuming or following a well-balanced diet can promote hair growth and slow down the hair shedding process.

Olive oil and avocado oil are effective in treating hair loss as they contain oleic acid which is an omega 9 fatty acid. This helps in decreasing inflammation.

Onions are a great source of antioxidants that can help in reducing cholesterol levels, inflammation and the risk of heart diseases. This will ultimately prevent alopecia.

Soybeans promote hair growth with the help of spermidine, which helps in speeding up the hair growth process.

Protein-rich diets are extremely crucial for people suffering from alopecia areata because our hair is made up of proteins and hence, to help them grow well, protein-rich items like liver, egg, beans and chicken are essential.

Fatty fishes do not contain any toxins and are rich in protein and omega 3 fatty acids. They are an effective food to include in your diet.

Remedies to Treat Alopecia Areata at Home

Alopecia areata is a type of hair loss that causes patches of hair to fall out. This type of hair loss is not related to anything that a person has done, and it’s not contagious. The loss of hair can be either small or large. Eating a healthy diet can help prevent alopecia areata.

Conventional home remedies or treatments for alopecia areata is a narrow topic and more research is needed to support that natural treatments for alopecia areata are effective enough.

You can drink aloe vera for hair growth. Aloe vera contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and C, calcium, chromium, magnesium, manganese, iron and zinc. It is rich in antioxidants and helps in the production of collagen required for hair growth.

Some people recommend rubbing onion or garlic juice, green tea ice cubes, almond oil, honey, rosemary oil or coconut milk into the scalp. These ingredients do not show any side effects and therefore, they can be worth giving a try.

Many health experts these days are also suggesting alternative treatment methods like acupuncture and aromatherapy. However, even for these methods, more research and evidence is required to support their efficacy.

Take Away

Alopecia areata, also known as spot baldness, is a condition in which hair is lost from some or all areas of the scalp. In alopecia areata, the immune system attacks the hair follicles, causing them to become smaller and eventually stop producing hair altogether.

The exact cause of alopecia areata is unknown. However, experts believe that it could be caused by an autoimmune disease, genetics or environmental factors.