Long Hair Don’t Care: Eat For Hair Growth
Hair is made up of protein. The building blocks of protein are amino acids, essential amino acids come from the food we eat. Essential amino acids are different from amino acids as they are the actual builders of our bodies material i.e. cardio and muscular fiber, cell walls, organs, hair, nails. Our body does not make essential amino acids naturally, we must ingest them through the food we eat. Although most hair growth is genetic, taking a close look at our food and drink intake day after day can tell you a lot about whether your hair and nails will be healthy and growing, or starved and prone to breakage. At the end of the day, our hair and nails are a luxury. So much so, the term Telogen Effluvium is used to explain the massive hair loss a person experiences when they suffer from Anorexia Nervosa. The body is so starved of food energy/calories, the body will begin to atrophy/degrade any material not pivotal our survival i.e. hair, nails, teeth, muscles, skin, bones. Hair is not going to keep you going day to day if you are starved for calories, the luxury material is shed in order to save food energy/calories to put towards out vital organs.
This should tell you not only how important it is to eat good foods and a sustainable amount of calories day by day, but also eating the right types of food calories. Day to day, I believe it is important to make sure you are maintaining your baseline caloric intake, which means you are eating the baseline amount of calories it takes to keep your vitals pumping in a happy and stable environment. This is the biggest reason i see why people cannot lose weight, day to day, they are completely unorganized with their food intake and are unaware of how many calories they should be eating. Eating way too low, or way too high, and everywhere in between. Let’s use this as an example: If your body needs 1300 calories per day, but you are only hitting 800-900 consistently, even if majority of these calories were protein, your body will not USE the amino acids to build new metabolically active structure. The 800-900 calories, no matter the form they come in whether thats red meat or quinoa, it will be used towards your baseline caloric intake and will not be used to build anything. It is not excess, there is not investment to work with, the 800-900 is only going towards base metabolism needs. Is it very unlikely, especially if you are already low(ish) body fat percentage and are decently active, those 800-900 will not be used to build anything…not muscle, not hair, and no nails. Caloric restriction is not a healthy, comfortable, or stable environment to thrive in, our body through evolution needs to be in a comfortable state in order to grow it, we do not adapt well to extremes. Nothing can grow from being in a constant deficit, It’s like paying off only interest on your credit card thinking that’s how you will pay it off in full.
If you do hit baseline consistently, I would try to look at how much of your total calories is protein. You may be hitting 1400, but how much of that is protein/carb/fat? I often see in women we eat too many simple carbs from fruits and yogurts, cereals, and not enough protein. How is your PROTEIN distributed throughout your day? I have 20-25g spread out 5-6x throughout my day, so my body has a constant supply of amino acids. This reduces the risk of catabolism, but may also provide the extra amino acids my body can possibly designate towards building hair.
Beauty vitamins and supplements that encourage hair growth can be tried, but should not be relied on if you don’t have your diet in check. Beauty vitamins are a supplement…as in supplementing an already solid foundation. Supplements are an extra boost, they will get lost in translation if base metabolic needs are not met or maintained. Eating poorly and sporadically but taking a beauty vitamin isn’t going to help you much. On top of this, if you like to party a lot with drugs and alcohol, this going to wreck your gut health/membranes/digestion, and cause a lot of havoc on your stress systems. Again, the body is going to have a hard time growing something luxurious like hair and nails with a system that has a hard time digesting and absorbing food nutrients, and is inflamed. Remember, you are what you eat!