From brittle hair & nails to shiny hair & healthy nails
by Sue Kira, Naturopath & Clinical Nutritionist
Client name and identifying information changed
Roger saw me because he was worried about his hair loss. Most men are concerned about male pattern baldness, but Roger’s hair was weak and falling out from all over his head, rather than thinning at the front first.
His fingernails were also slightly ridged and pitted with white dots and he suffered from a degree of fatigue. He also thought his circulation was poor because he always had cold hands and feet.
We ran some tests and his thyroid showed as slightly underactive. While not enough to warrant medications, it still affected his energy, hair and nail quality, and cold hands and feet.
His diet wasn’t the best as he was too tired to make healthy lunches before work and ate a lot of take-away foods because of his work, plus lots of pasta meals at night.
We organised a diet free of gluten and dairy as these interfere with thyroid function. I encouraged him to have eggs and veggies for breakfast or a paleo style muesli with coconut milk. I suggested he cook meat, chicken or fish for dinner (instead of pasta) and to cook extra so he could add the leftover protein to some fresh salad greens for lunch.
For snacks, we included pepitas for zinc, Brazil nuts for selenium, and other nuts and seeds to encourage plenty of protein to make keratin. We also included some low sugar fruit.
I also got him to make a batch of bone broth on the weekends which contained loads of gelatine for his collagen and was rich in silica and other minerals. He had the broth in his thermos for a drink throughout the day instead of coffee (coffee is also bad for the thyroid).
While this diet may appear to be predominately thyroid related, the foods he ate were great boosters for his hair and nails.
He was busy with work so I didn’t see him for three months and I wondered if he had been sticking to the diet. When he returned, his transformation was amazing.
His nails were much better, hair was just starting to grow back strongly (according to his hairdresser) and his energy was much higher. His hands and feet were no longer cold even though it was the middle of winter when he came back to see me.
He looked really happy and was very proud of himself for sticking to the diet. Because he felt so good, he was happy to retain most of the changes, as long as he could have the occasional ‘naughty day’ as he called it. I encouraged him to be the boss of his eating regime…not me.