Alexandra Martell, a journalist for Cosmopolitan magazine, has written about her year-long experiment with a gluten-free diet, claiming it failed to cure or improve her Alopecia.
“I have Alopecia, which is hair loss caused by inflammation. Gluten sensitivity can manifest itself in inflammation in parts of the body that aren’t just the stomach. There’s no solid evidence that going gluten-free can help alopecia. It’s mostly anecdotal stories shared in forums, and that anecdotal evidence pointed to it being a crapshoot; from what I read (and I trolled the Internet hard), people had about a 50-50 success rate — which is also the rate at which Alopecia will spontaneously go away.” Martell outlined her reasons for embarking on the diet:
“No more hair loss is better than pizza”
Nevertheless, Martell decided to give the gluten-free diet a try because “no more hair loss is better than pizza”. Her friend – an holistic doctor – recommended she follow the diet for at least a year for best results.
It wasn’t all bad: Martell has no regrets about following the diet, and says she eats better now that she’s spent such a long time avoiding processed foods.375 days later, Martell concluded that she “just didn’t feel better … Not only did my hair not grow back, but I didn’t experience any of the other purported benefits of going gluten-free. I did not have more energy, I did not have clearer skin, I did not have fewer stomach aches, I did not have less anxiety. I felt exactly the same, but sad.”
However, as a cure for Alopecia, a gluten-free diet has been soundly rejected by Martell.
Alopecia is a condition that is still not fully understood, but is classed as an auto-immune disorder. It’s thought that a trigger – which could be anything from a stressful event to an allergy or an infection – causes lots of the hair follicles to prematurely and rapidly enter the telogen (resting) phase. This results in sudden patchy hair loss.
The type of Alopecia which responds best to treatment is Alopecia Areata, where only some of the hair on the head is affected. The condition has two more severe forms: 1) Alopecia Totalis, where all the hair across the scalp is lost, including the eyebrows, and 2) Alopecia Universalis, where all bodily hair is lost. These forms of the condition are more difficult to treat, so it is important to seek the advice of a hair loss expert as soon as possible for the best chance of treatment.
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