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5 Effective Treatments for Alopecia

5 Effective Treatments for Alopecia

We may call hair loss alopecia when we want to be formal and scientific, but let us be straight. Losing your hair sucks. As someone who has had hair loss starting in his early 20s and has a family history of early hair loss, it is tough to see how your friends and family react sometimes. And while hair treatments can help your fight against alopecia, your hair is fighting a battle against Father Time. He always wins.

That sense of desperation creates a rich feeding ground for charlatans and crooks, and so some people do waste their money on unreliable treatments. But some remedies, both natural and chemical, can help the fight against hair loss. Here are a few tips which can make you look your best.

  1. Think about nutrition

If you have ever lost a lot of weight at a time, you may have noticed significant hair loss. The Lindora Clinic notes that hair loss is a common side effect to periods of massive weight loss. This is because your body redirects nutrients away from nonessential functions like your hair and towards essential functions like your organs. A lack of protein, in particular, will create hair loss, as that is essentially what your hairs are made of.

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Consequently, the first step towards treating hair loss is to eat right. A protein and iron-rich diet will provide the nutrients you need to stimulate your hair, so load up on fish, leafy greens, and chicken. These foods offer other health benefits and can help you slim down without starving yourself and cutting off the nutrients from your hair.

  1. Minoxidil

You probably know this as Rogaine, but this drug does work and is one of only two drugs actually approved by the FDA to fight hair loss (the other drug, finasteride is alright). As WebMD notes, “Minoxidil belongs to a class of drugs known as vasodilators. Minoxidil solution and foam are used to help hair growth in the treatment of male pattern baldness. It is not used for baldness at the front of the scalp or receding hairline in men. The foam and 2 percent minoxidil solution is also used to help hair growth in women with thinning hair.”

But minoxidil will only keep your hair growth up for as long as it is administered. When you stop using it, all the hair which you will grow up to that point will fall off and possibly more.

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If you want to use minoxidil, use the 5 percent treatment two times per day once in the morning and evening. Take care to really massage it in your head when it is dry and let it sit for a bit.

  1. Oil massages

If you are interested in something more natural, then various oils such as coconut or castor oil massaged into your scalp can help your hair growth. These massages help for two reasons. First is that these oils can improve the blood circulation to the affected areas. More blood in your scalp means more nutrients to your hair that will help keep them healthy. Many of these oils also contain minerals and nutrients of their own which can improve your hair health when massaged in.

The second is the massage itself. Stress is one of the key factors behind hair loss and a good massage can relieve any tension you have. Other methods of relieving stress such as deep breathing or meditation are also excellent options.

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  1. Hair Transplants

Hair transplants are the most drastic but generally the most effective means of battling hair loss. While hair transplants have been around since the 1950s, advances in medicine have made the procedure less intrusive and do a better job at hiding the transplant.

In a hair transplant, a surgeon moves hair follicles from one part of your hair to the other and transplant them into the bald area. The transplanted hair will fall out quickly, but stimulates natural hair growth.

If you are interested in a hair transplant, you have to understand what it entails. First, a hair transplant will cost thousands of dollars and most insurers will not cover that expense. There are also additional medical risks such as an itchy scalp or swelling, as well as the fact that the transplant will fail a small percentage of the time.

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Take care to discuss this surgery with a professional certified by the International Society for Hair Restoration Surgery before going under the knife.

  1. Visit your doctor

Most of the time, hair loss is embarrassing but harmless. But sometimes, it can be an indication that something is wrong with you. Some examples of diseases which can be associated with hair loss include lupus, thyroid disease, and even HIV. For younger people, hair loss can also be associated with anorexia given the aforementioned link between hair and weight loss.

If absolutely nothing is working to fix your hair and you have other symptoms, you might want to visit your physician. He can confirm that nothing is wrong with you and can recommend other treatments which can help grow your hair back.

Featured photo credit: Caroline Speranza via flic.kr

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12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and black tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here:

11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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