Diet & Nutrition

Stress and Alopecia Areata – What’s the connection?

One of the most common questions that comes up in our online alopecia support group is “does stress cause alopecia?”  I always cringe when I see the word ’cause’ because quite honestly, if researchers knew the exact ’cause’ then they would be able to find a ‘cure.’ I would much rather see the use of the word ‘trigger’ instead of ’cause.’  Learning to look at the four pillars of all autoimmune disorders and how they work may help to unravel the correlation between stress and alopecia areata.  After having alopecia areata for over 40 years, stepping back and looking at these four pillars helped me learn not to look for one specific trigger but start focusing on the whole picture… Read more…

Vitamin D Receptor May Play a Role With Alopecia Areata

Alopecia areata (AA) is a medical condition in which the immune system attacks the hair follicles, resulting in hair loss. Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with both AA and androgenetic alopecia (AGA) in past studies. It is hypothesized that vitamin D’s anti-inflammatory properties, and its role in epidermal cell proliferation may be responsible for its role in inflammatory and skin conditions such as AA and AGA. Additionally, AA has been linked to a mutation to the VDR gene. However, no studies to date have evaluated whether VDR levels are linked with alopecia; therefore, researchers recently sought to find out if the VDRs in the skin and blood could serve as a potential pathogenic marker for these conditions. Read more…

To Boost or Not To Boost – The Immune System Explained

Oftentimes when people are first diagnosed, it’s because they find a bald spot which may lead them to believe that alopecia areata is specifically about their hair and the loss of it. However, alopecia areata is more about the immune system than it is about the hair follicle itself.

Certain portions of the human body have ‘immune privilege,’ meaning they are able to tolerate the introduction of foreign substances without eliciting an inflammatory immune response. Our hair follicles (primarily the epithelium surrounding the hair follicles) are part of the skin immune system. Our skin immune system is constantly signaling and talking to keep our lymphocytes at bay — letting them know that they are, indeed, supposed to be there. Read more…

Association Between Vitamin D Levels & Alopecia Areata

AE 14A recent study out of Turkey found that in those with alopecia areata, low vitamin D levels are common and may relate to a more severe disease state.

Vitamin D has a well-established effect on the immune system and is linked to a variety of autoimmune diseases. Researchers have found that vitamin D may be able to help in some aspects of autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, and type 1 diabetes. That being said, there hasn’t been any research looking at the relationship between vitamin D and AA.

Recently, researchers at the Şişli Etfal Eğitim ve Araştırma Hastanesi (Training and Research Hospital) in Turkey conducted a study to determine if vitamin D levels relate to AA and how vitamin D may affect disease severity. Read more…

Hair Loss: My Battle With Alopecia

For over 36 years, I’ve been told there is no cure for alopecia areata, an autoimmune condition that causes a person to lose their hair. Like anyone with a chronic condition, I’ve always found that frustrating to hear.

I’ve had alopecia areata since I was 8 years old, so I know the many challenges one faces with a chronic condition, especially living in a world that judges us by our appearance. Read more…