Gail, whose Alopecia Areata progressed to Alopecia Totalis which causes hair loss from the scalp and face, says she is seeing her hair return as a result of a strict diet. This eating plan apparently involves limiting herself to just 400 calories per day - well below the average 2,000 calories a day the NHS recommends for women.
Now sporting what she describes as a 'fuzz' of hair on her scalp, Porter enthuses, "It’s a very exciting time I could have a full head of hair in a few months... I’ve got eyebrows and lashes too." Adding “I now always carry three different mascara in my purse, just because I’m so excited about wearing it."
It was reported that Gail has been doing regular, week-long raw food detoxes at an East Sussex health spa where she also follows an intense exercise routine. Her diet mostly features apples, cabbage and other raw vegetables, which Porter credits with prompting her first significant regrowth in the 10 years since she was diagnosed.
“My hair is growing back - it’s not been this thick for years. It’s because I’ve been detoxing for a few weeks now. I’m putting everything into getting healthy, and it’s really working", she says. "Raw food seems to be helping my hair. When I come to the spa I get a big spurt of hair growth. I’m over the moon.”
People with Alopecia, whether it is Alopecia Areata, Totalis or Alopecia Universalis, could actually experience hair regrowth at any time, it is just impossible to predict if and when this will happen.
Alopecia causes the hair follicles to prematurely shut down normal hair production resulting in patchy hair loss. During this time the follicles lie dormant, awaiting a green light from the body to restart regular hair growth. As yet, it is unknown what triggers this signal.
There are a number of treatments for Alopecia Areata designed to spur the follicles back into action, with topical applications of high strength minoxidil being seen to produce significant regrowth in some sufferers. Treatment for Alopecia Totalis and Universalis is less successful, but research is currently underway into new cures after a number of recent studies produced encouraging results using potential treatments such as Xeljanz and Propolis.
There are a number of suggestions that diet may help to 'cure' Alopecia Areata but none of these have been scientifically proven. Extreme diets may also provide false hope for sufferers as, if their bodies are not suitably nourished, any hair that does grow back may be brittle and break off. Belgravia Centre trichologist, Leonora Doclis explains, "It is a fact that the body will look after the vital organs and leave the appendages, like the hair and nails, if there is a shortage of nutrient supply."
Dietary intervention advice appears to be based on the notion that Alopecia is classed as an autoimmune disorder which produces an inflammatory response. This prompts the suggestion that the hair loss condition may be treated through upping your intake of anti-inflammatory foods and avoiding foods that are known to be inflammatory.
'Good' Alopecia foods with anti-inflammatory properties include those with high levels of antioxidants (leafy dark green vegetables, red berries and tomatoes), omega 3 oils (found in fish, nuts and seeds), and biotin (present in carrots, nuts and green vegetables like chard).
'Bad' Alopecia foods which are thought to cause inflammation include dairy products, red meat, margarine, and anything containing trans-fats.
Although there is anecdotal evidence from some Alopecia sufferers who say that cutting gluten from their diets has helped them regrow their hair, others have found this makes no difference.
What do you think of Gail's dietary approach to her alopecia? Let us know in the comments section below.
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