Does Alcohol Cause Hair Loss?
A lot of everyday events can trigger hair loss. Stress and anxiety can be contributing factors, as well as substance abuse. Does alcohol cause hair loss? A casual drinker probably doesn’t have to worry.
There is no direct link between alcoholism and hair loss. However, excessive drinking can lead to early hair loss. Using alcohol in combination with other drugs can also be a big risk factor.
Although hair loss is not as common for drinkers, there are a number of ways that alcohol and hair loss are linked. Drinking excessively can lead to deficiencies and malabsorption of important nutrients that keep our hair healthy. The lifestyle associated with heavy alcohol abuse does not bode well for your appearance.
Alcoholics typically do not eat healthy, and some barely eat at all. Many alcoholics are also smokers. Smoking and drinking together can contribute to premature hair loss.
In many cases, alcohol intake can affect the way our body breaks down food during digestion. There are a number of lost nutrients associated with drinking. Alcohol abuse can damage the lining of the stomach and intestines, which can prevent key nutrients from being absorbed.
Even when these nutrients are properly ingested, alcohol can prevent them from operating normally. Drinking alcohol is also known to disrupt protein absorption. Protein deficiency can result in a number of skin and hair conditions.
These are just some of the lost nutrients associated with drinking.
Excessive drinking leads to the absorption of what are known as empty calories. These calories have no nutritional benefit. Certain forms of alcohol, predominantly beer, can give you the feeling of being full.
If you fill up on beer, you are less likely to consume food. Hair loss from a bad diet can quickly lead to malnutrition. Alcohol abuse can also lead to lower potassium and magnesium levels, which can alter our bodies normal functions, particularly hair growth.
Thyroid Problems Associated With Drinking
Alcoholics typically have multiple thyroid issues at some point in their addiction. The thyroid gland produces hormones that help keep our organs operating at normal function.
Alcohol is known to destroy thyroid cells, interrupting these functions. These hormones regulate how we burn calories and are responsible for how we gain or lose weight, and also how fast or slow our heart rate is.
Heavy alcohol abuse can result in what is known as hypothyroidism. This is a condition where the thyroid cannot produce enough hormones to regulate normal bodily functions.
Other than thinning hair, the common symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, weight gain, mood swing, joint and muscle stiffness, impaired memory, and slowed heart rate.
Beyond the thyroid, alcohol does a number on the immune system as well. This can result in chronic inflammation and liver damage. Liver damage is one of the many symptoms of chronic alcoholism and is one of the main causes for the high mortality rate in chronic alcoholics.
Everything we put in our bodies is filtered through the liver. If your liver stops working, your body shuts down. We’ve all seen the pictures of what cigarettes do to your lungs. Your lungs turn black and lifeless. This is what excessive alcohol abuse does to your liver.
Alcohol is also known to disrupt how the body processes estrogen. When you can’t correctly process estrogen, it builds up in the tissue and results in estrogen dominance.
This can lead directly to hypothyroidism and increased stress levels. Alcohol abuse can also be responsible for causing leaky gut syndrome. This is when bacteria literally leak out of the intestinal walls, allowing toxins to enter the bloodstream.
Is Alcohol-related Hair Loss Reversible?
So how do you avoid hair loss from alcohol? The simple answer is to drink in moderation. We all know that this is not possible for people with alcoholism.
The only way to reverse the process is to quit drinking altogether. It’s easier said than done but regaining your physical and mental health can be a huge confidence booster and inspire you to continue on a sober path.
Nutritional supplements can also help your body recover from the damage done by excessive drinking. Your body is not going to heal itself overnight, however these supplements can help speed up the process of getting your body back to regular function.
Once you improve your overall health, you’d be amazed at how quickly your body can bounce back.
Naturally, there are a lot of issues going on that need to be addressed beyond your physical appearance. There are a number of reasons people become addicted to alcohol.
Family history of alcoholism, past trauma, stress and anxiety are just a few of the reasons that lead people to drink. Treatment for alcoholism should focus on addressing the root cause of your drinking.
There is a lot of work to be done in order to achieve sobriety. The benefits can be very rewarding, but whatever led you to drink is something that you are still going to have to work on every day.
It sounds cliche, but it really is a one day at a time process. If you do a little bit of work on yourself each day, and don’t focus too much on the weeks and months ahead, you are setting yourself up for success.