Thin, dull, brittle and opaque hair… falling out more than usual are signals that the body sends to point out that both hormonal and nutritional balance is missing. However, a lot can be done to alleviate this unexpected and unpleasant symptom, thanks to an approach providing for several aspects, all of which equally important and to be followed simultaneously, so as to ensure synergic action of all constituents:
- rebalancing hormonal rhythms, by modulating the irregular trends generally occurring during menopause;
- compensating for a widespread nutritional shortage in the Western world (namely, the lack of magnesium) and effectively contrasting oxidative stress, responsible for aggravating menopausal disorders;
- counter the metabolic processes hindering the piliferous bulb’s vitality, providing specific nutrients to promote hair growth.
This approach, combined with a healthy lifestyle (in terms of diet, but not only), includes the use of natural remedies that are well known in folk tradition and the efficacy of which in providing a definitive solution has been confirmed by recent studies.
- To rebalance hormonal rhythms, modulating the irregular trends generally occurring during menopause…
Nature can help you with…
Soy isoflavones: these substances, belonging to the category of phytoestrogens are capable of binding with receptors for estrogens( even though less similar), exerting a mild hormone-like action (in fact, they are less powerful, exactly 1000 to 10.000 weaker compared to estradiol). Scientists became interested in studying soy isoflavones after noticing that typical menopausal symptoms were absent in Asian woman, whose diet instead is rich in soy. Epidemiological studies have moreover pointed out that the incidence of degenerative pathologies, of arteriosclerosis and osteoporosis, as well as of certain tumours – affecting breast and uterus, is definitely lower in Eastern countries compared to the West.
The extraordinary nature of phytoestrogens, and isoflavones in particular, lies in their capacity to modulate the action carried out by physiological estrogens, rebalancing their effects. Recent studies have shown that isoflavones exert both an antagonist and agonist action on estrogen receptors. This implies that, with excess endogenous estrogens (a typical situation in the transitional phase in which estrogens dominate over progesterone), isoflavones carry out an anti-estrogenic activity, i.e. they bind receptors, exerting a weaker hormone-like action compared to endogenous estrogens, therefore lowering the general effect. Instead, in the presence of lower hormonal levels (a typical postmenopausal condition), isoflavones exert a weak pro-estrogenic activity, since they occupy receptor sites that would otherwise remain inactivated. This action not only influences the reproductive organ but all organs and tissues (bones, nervous system, skin, mucosae, cardiovascular system, etc.): in fact, isoflavones positively influence all menopausal symptoms.
Vitex agnus-castus (also called chaste tree): its berries have a rebalancing effect on the progestogen hormonal component. Their use for menopausal symptoms is explained by their action at the level of the hypophysis where, acting on gondadotropins (FSH and LH), they promote the production of progesterone and contribute to alleviating typical transitional phase symptoms. Moreover, it has recently been discovered that intake of chaste tree stimulates the production of melatonin by the brain, improving depressive symptoms as well as the quality and quantity of nightly rest.
Dioscorea villosa: of Mexican origin, it has been used since Aztec times to treate many female disturbances, from premenstrual syndrome to menopausal symptoms. Among its active ingredients there is diosgenin, a substance with a structure similar to that of progesterone. Evidence of the drug’s use (dry root extract) shows hormone-like effects towards the progestogen component. Its mechanism of action is not yet known: it can act as a phyto-progestin, interacting with progesterone receptors; it can rebalance the hypophysial secretion of FSH and LH or stimulate the hormonal production of the adrenal gland.
The most convenient form of intake of these ingredients comes in swallowable tablets.
- To compensate for a widespread nutritional shortage in the Western world (namely, the lack of magnesium), and effectively contrast oxidative stress, responsible for aggravating menopausal disorders
Nature can help you with…
Magnesium: the widespread deficiency of this mineral, mainly due to soil depletion and refined foods, bears implications for many health-related aspects, ranging from the psychic and neuro-muscular spheres, to the cardiovascular, osteoarticular and gynaecological domains. Due to hormonal trends which are typical of fertile life (menstrual cycle, pregnancies, breast-feeding, menopause), women are affected by a lack of magnesium with a frequency that is four times higher compared to men.
In the general, current worsening of menopausal symptoms related to the neurovegetative sphere and mood levels, magnesium plays a vital role, such as in the rise of degenerative, chronic pathologies such as osteoporosis, insulin resistance, hypertension and vascular damage. Whenever there is a lack of magnesium, the action of calcium at the level of muscles and nerve endings tends to prevail. Anxiety, irritability, stress, insomnia, headache, muscle tensione and cramps are a direct consequence. Effects at cardiovascular level are even more dramatic (arrhythmias, fibrillation, heart attack, hypertension).
Another consequence ensuing from the lack of magnesium regards bone structure: magnesium is vital to “keep us on our feet an entire lifetime”, in other words, it “saves our bones”. To contrast vasomotor and neurovegetative symptoms, to safeguard the cardiovascular apparatus and protect the bone structure, an intake of at least 400 – 500 mg of magnesium a day is recommended during menopause, to be taken as salts with high bioavailability, of which magnesium citrate represents the best.
Alpha lipoic acid: this is naturally produced at hepatic level (synthesis, however, decreases with age) and it carries out a fundamental role in cellular metabolism of energy; it also protects from the attack of free radicals and reactive oxygen species that damage and wear out organs and tissues. Solubile in both aqueous and lipid cellular fractions, it is active in every body district.
Its extraordinary nature lies in the fact that, while fulfilling its antioxidant function, it passes from a reduced to an oxidized form. Meanwhile, the alpha lipoic acid regenerates C and E vitamins, according to an “antioxidant recycling” process. It is capable of chelating dangerous metals, helping the organism eliminate them. For these reasons it is considered “king of antioxidants” and is particularly useful for the general protection of the female organism, especially during menopause.
Intake via practical sachets to be dissolved in water is recommended.
- To counter the metabolic processes hindering the piliferous bulb’s vitality, providing specific nutrients to promote hair growth…
Nature can help you with…
Lignans from linseed: linseed is an extremely rich source of important substances for human health, in particular omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids of a specific class of phytoestrogens called lignans. Among the several types of lignans contained in linseed, the principal one is SDG (Secoisolariciresinol diglucoside).
An extract of linseed, titrated in lignans at 20%, has been used, showing encouraging results in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia. Besides its already well-known hormone modulation activity, the effect has been connected to the inhibition of the 5-alfa-reductase enzyme and the consequente lowering of dihydrotestosterone levels (DHT).
Maca: its roots are extremently rich in nutrients, among which essential aminoacids, fatty acids, minerals and vitamins (C, E and group B). Among its biologically active constituents are also phytosterols – beta-sitosterol in particular. It is known for its adaptogenic properties, because it increase the organism’s resistance against phyco-physical stress and it optimizes cellular metabolism.
In this sense, its functionality is mainly exerted through regulation of endocrine activity, in particular of the hypothalamus – hypophysis – gonads axis. This is the main reason why maca root is the ideal adaptogen to counter hair loss during menopause, associated not only to the general strain on the organism but also to hormonal unbalance. Added to this there is the recognized property of beasitosterol di inhibit the 5-alpha-recuctase enzyme, thereby hindering the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone. Maca leads to a reduction of hair loss and promotes regrowth, thanks to its high mineral salts and aminoacids content.
Bamboo: extremely rich in silicon (up to 70%), it is necessary for connective tissues and for the formation of hair keratin, conferring resistance and flexibility. Deficient conditions have been found in cases of poor skin elasticity and weakening of skin annexes (nails and hair). Levels of silicon in the organism decline with age. Though largely present in Nature, it tends to lack in modern diets because of refined foodstuffs.
Cystine: a sulphur-containing amino acid (sulphur represents 27% of its structure), essential for keratin formation processes and for hair pigmentation. Its properties are due to the presence of the disulfide S-S-bridge. A direct relationship between the quantity of cystine contained in the diet and hair growth has been observed. Studies conducted on animals have shown that cystine favours anabolic processes in hair (anagen phase). It is rapidy absorbed at intestine level with a mechanism of active transport to be found in the blood soon after oral administration.
Methyl Sulfonyl Methane (MSM): a form of organic sulphur available to be used by the body for the synthesis of biomolecules (enzymes, hormones, sulphur-containing aminoacids, antioxidants). It has been highlighted that sulphur from MSM is easily absorbed by the organism and is capable of accelerating physiological hair growth. Moreover, thanks to its chemical structure, it manages to chelate dangerous metals and toxic substances, promoting their elimination and therefore acting as an effective detoxifier.
The best form of intake of these ingredients comes in swallowable tablets.
Given the variability of symptoms (both in terms of timing and intensity) signalling the presence of menopause, the above-described ingredients need to be taken according to personal, specific requirements, in any case starting 3 – 6 months at least.