The Dry Skin + Brain Fog Connection and what to do!

Many women struggle with understanding the endocrine system and hormonal health.  We're overtired, in constant rush and have a revolving checklist in the back of our multi-tasking minds.  

Then layer on the weight gain (or loss) to exhaustion, brain fog, depression, anxiety, and dry skin, and.... thyroid dysfunction. 

Thyroid imbalance causes a wide range of symptoms.  Its root causes are notoriously hard to diagnose and treat, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, experts agree that it’s woefully underdiagnosed.

Conventional tests rarely identify thyroid dysfunction properly, and even when properly diagnosed, many patients haven’t found conventional pharmaceuticals to be effective at healing their thyroids or their immune systems (for most, thyroid dysfunction is associated with autoimmune disorders).

Dr. Amy Myers, a functional-medicine M.D. with a clinic based in Austin, Texas, has combined conventional and holistic practices to help thousands of women struggling with these issues.

Her latest book, The Thyroid Connection, explores the underlying causes of thyroid dysfunction, as well as a way forward, making the process of addressing thyroid issues with your doctor clearer and easier.  


Let's go deep, darling......

Q&A with Dr. Amy Myers


How common is thyroid dysfunction, and why is there a discrepancy between the number of women and men affected?


It’s very common: About 27 million Americans have thyroid dysfunction of some sort; 60 percent do not know it. Statistics show that women are five to eight times more likely than men to be affected by thyroid dysfunction.

Most thyroid dysfunction is autoimmune in nature—the vast majority is Hashimoto’s Syndrome (autoimmune hypothyroidism)—and women are eight times more likely to have an autoimmune disease than men. This discrepancy is thought to be connected to the estrogen-based fluctuations that women go through in their lives.

For women, thyroid dysfunction occurs more often during times of hormonal change: pregnancy, postpartum, perimenopause, menopause. When estrogen is high, there is effectively less free thyroid hormone circulating in the body to be used because there are more proteins available to bind to the thyroid hormone. “Free” means that a hormone is not bound to a protein and can go into our cells; when a hormone is bound to a protein it can’t be used by the body. It’s likely that high levels of estrogen are not good for the thyroid, and that the fluctuation of estrogen levels throughout a woman’s life accounts for the discrepancy between the number of women and men affected by thyroid dysfunction.


What are the symptoms of an underperforming thyroid and an overperforming thyroid?


Underperforming thyroid (hypothyroidism): The thyroid is basically our metabolism; with an underperforming thyroid, everything slows down. There are thyroid receptors on every cell in our body, so the range of symptoms can be wide and seemingly vague—every organ in the body can be affected, which is one of the reasons why it can be difficult to diagnose a thyroid issue. The symptoms of an underperforming thyroid include: brain fog, depression, slow heartbeat, dry skin, brittle hair (it can also fall out), feeling cold or low body temperature, weight gain (or difficulty losing weight), slow digestion, constipation.

Overperforming thyroid (hyperthyroidism): Hyperthyroidism is the opposite—everything speeds up. Symptoms include: anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, restlessness, racing brain, fast heart rate, weight loss, hair loss, feeling warm, diarrhea.

What’s confusing is that you can have symptoms of both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. For instance, someone with hyperthyroidism may feel depressed, as opposed to anxious. When people with crossover symptoms read the checklist of symptoms for hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, they often don’t go see a doctor, or a doctor might not think that the patient has thyroid dysfunction, because they don’t fit neatly into a symptom box.


How does the thyroid system work?


The hypothalamus (responsible for managing hunger, thirst, sleep, hormones, body temperature), monitors the level of thyroid hormones present in your bloodstream. If it finds that energy levels are low, it sends out TRH, thyroid releasing hormone, to your pituitary gland. The pituitary gland releases TSH, thyroid stimulating hormone, which signals your thyroid to produce more of a thyroid hormone known as T4.

This is the storage form of the hormone. When your body needs more power, storage T4 is converted into Free T3, the active form of the hormone. Free T3 attaches to receptors in your body’s cells and powers metabolic processes—it’s like the gas in a car. Some T4, though, is converted into Reverse T3 (RT3), which I think of as the brakes of a car. RT3 tells your body’s metabolic processes to slow down when we’re starving or stressed out, and need to preserve energy and nutrients.


Which tests are best at diagnosing thyroid dysfunction?


The standard test most doctors use to screen thyroid dysfunction measures the amount of TSH in the blood—the thyroid stimulating hormone released by the pituitary gland and sent to the thyroid. But this really only tells us what the pituitary is doing based on the hypothalamus feedback loop. It’s a measure of how the pituitary is talking to the thyroid—not a measure of the thyroid itself. For this reason, doctors should also be testing levels of other free hormones; see below for my suggestions.

It’s also important to know if your thyroid condition is autoimmune (again, most are). Hashimoto’s is the likeliest autoimmune disease, but other commonly correlated diseases include: Addison’s, Graves’, premature ovarian failure, type 1 diabetes, lupus erythematous, pernicious anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, thrombocytopenic purpura, vitiligo, and Celiac. Once you develop an autoimmune disease, you are three times more likely to develop another. But there are things you can do to prevent this, and to help you reverse an existing autoimmune condition: i.e. eating an anti-inflammatory diet free of processed foods, sugar, gluten, and dairy—and also ensuring that your leaky gut is healed and you don’t have infections like SIBO (small intestinal bacteria overgrowth) or yeast (more below).

Diagnosing and treating thyroid issues is very much a partnership between patient and doctor.   Although these tests aren’t commonly performed, none are new, and they are all available at conventional labs,


What typically causes thyroid problems?


There are identical-twin studies looking at autoimmunity in general that suggest autoimmune diseases are about 25 percent genetic and 75 percent environmental. I see five environment-related factors that often play a role in thyroid dysfunction and autoimmunity: diet, leaky gut, toxins, infections, and stress. These five factors make up a pie: All five play a role in thyroid dysfunction and autoimmunity, but for some people, certain factors have more of an effect, so those pieces of the pie are bigger. For example, gluten could be more problematic for one person, while for another, stress is the biggest issue.


Can you talk a bit about the role the gut plays?


The vast majority of thyroid hormone converts from T4 (storage form) to T3 (active form) in our gut. That conversion can be thrown off if the gut isn’t functioning properly—namely, if you have a leaky gut, which is when the junctions in the intestinal lining break apart, and particles including toxins and undigested food escape from your intestines and travel throughout your body via your bloodstream. Another consequence of a leaky gut: We aren’t digesting and absorbing nutrients properly, and we need proper nutrients (tyrosine, zinc, selenium, iodine, B vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin D) for the conversion of T4 to T3. Often, when the problem is that the body simply isn’t making the conversion from T4 to T3, it’s really due to nutrient deficiency, which can be fixed with diet and supplement changes.

The main causes of leaky gut are gluten (and other inflammatory foods, i.e. processed and sugary), infections (such as candida overgrowth and intestinal parasites), medications (acid-blocking, antibiotics, and ibuprofen) and toxins (like mercury and lead). Gluten is particularly problematic because the gluten molecules look very similar to our thyroid tissue. Through a process called molecular mimicry, when we eat gluten—particularly if we have a leaky gut—the gluten slips into our bloodstream and our immune system goes on high alert, warning that the gluten should not be there. But because gluten looks so similar to our thyroid tissue, our immune system inadvertently attacks our thyroid, trying to rid the body of gluten. This is one of the theories behind autoimmunity and thyroid dysfunction.


What kind of diet do you recommend for people with hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism?


The diet that I recommend to patients is something I call The Myers Way ®, which was born out of years of experimenting on thousands of patients and myself. Early on in my functional medicine practice, I used the standard elimination diet from the Institute for Functional Medicine, which included getting rid of toxic (alcohol, sugar, and processed) and inflammatory (gluten, dairy, eggs, and corn) foods. The diet helped many of my patients recover from conditions such as allergies, IBS, headaches, and weight gain. But as I started to see more complex patients, especially those with autoimmunity (including thyroid), chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia, I realized that there were additional dietary changes that could help reverse these chronic conditions. I experimented on myself first by removing all grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers) for a few weeks, and the results were dramatic. I started using this same protocol with all of my autoimmune patients and the results were again astounding.

I’ve found that eliminating grains and legumes, in particular, is a really good thing for most people. Grains and legumes contain certain amino acids and proteins that can be very irritating to the gut if you don’t soak and cook them properly. Also, many of my patients have small intestinal bacteria overgrowth (SIBO) or candida (yeast) overgrowths and the way to get rid of these infections is to really starve them out by getting rid of carbs, even the healthy ones.

Neither the diet or lifestyle components of my recommended treatment plan differ much for people with hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, because we aren’t trying to treat a problem of the thyroid; we are treating a problem of the immune system that happens to be affecting the thyroid. With autoimmunity, the problem is in your immune system, not a particular gland or organ (and indeed, more than one can be affected).

I also recommend the same general treatment plan for thyroid dysfunction even if you haven’t been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. You may not have hit autoimmunity yet (it’s also hard to diagnose in the first place), but your body is still vulnerable to the same things (for instance, toxins). And you’ll want to do the same general things to heal the thyroid and immune system: Repair the gut, relieve stress, and so on. Many women find that they can add back in some of the foods they eliminated after going through the program, but everyone can benefit from it.


What about supplements?


Supplements are one area of the program that differs depending on whether a patient has hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. With hypothyroidism, you need key nutrients such as selenium, zinc, and iodine to support the conversion of T4 to T3—so a high quality multivitamin is very important. There are a host of supplements that are specific to hyperthyroidism, which help replenish the nutrients that the body is burning through. Also, rather than taking harsh medication to shut down the thyroid (which is what I initially did when I was diagnosed), there are a number of calming thyroid herbs that are safer and can help to suppress an overactive thyroid, like motherwort, bugleweed, and lemon balm.


Which toxins are problematic for the thyroid?


In your cleaning and beauty products, you especially want to avoid parabens (preservatives) and phthalates (plasticizers), which are both endocrine disruptors, meaning that they affect estrogen and other hormone levels. These toxins are harmful because they look and act like estrogens in the body, and as a result more proteins are secreted, which bind to your thyroid hormones. When the thyroid hormones are bound they cannot go into the receptors in our cells where they do their job, potentially leading to hypothyroidism. So using these chemicals can have a large impact on your estrogen levels and your thyroid.


What’s your stance on iodine?


The thyroid needs iodine to produce its hormone and to function optimally. Humans used to eat a diet rich in iodine (with sea vegetables, seafood, iodized salt), but the modern diet is iodine-deficient. On top of that, environmental toxins—including bromine, chlorine, and fluoride, which are all halogens—displace iodine in our body. Bromide is in our food, clothes, mattresses, sofas, and rugs. Chlorine is in our water, and fluoride is in toothpaste, medication, and water. Conventional medicine can make iodine seem taboo to those with thyroid dysfunction, but I’ve found that supplementing the body’s iodine intake can be very helpful—along with eating a diet rich in seafood/seaweed, limiting exposure to halogens and endocrine disruptors by doing things like putting a water filters on your shower, choosing nontoxic products and mattresses, and avoiding packaged foods. You need to be cautious with iodine supplements, but I often recommend a multivitamin with micro amounts of iodine to my patients because most of us are very deficient.


What about stress?


The Myers Way Thyroid Connection Plan addresses the five factors that I’ve found to be at the root of thyroid dysfunction: Diet, leaky gut, toxins, infections, and stress.  

Stress is a bigger part of the puzzle than I initially recognized. We can’t get rid of our stress entirely, but we can learn to relieve it. Things like how you prepare for bed are important—in addition to helping your body’s natural detox abilities, a good night’s sleep decreases stress levels. The first step in the morning (after you get up and drink two cups of water with lemon juice to get rid of toxins) is doing something calm and centering for yourself—and this is also how you should end the day. My plan has stress relieving options for everyone—there are simple and free tips that only take a few minutes each day, as well as more comprehensive ones to try weekly or monthly, such as neuro-feedback, massage, acupuncture, or going to a float tank.

Dr. Amy Myers is the founder and medical director of Austin UltraHealth, a functional medicine clinic based in Austin, Texas. Dr. Myers specializes in women’s health issues, particularly thyroid dysfunction. She is also the New York Times bestselling author of The Autoimmune Solution and The Thyroid Connection.

Original Blog Share from GOOP/Amy Myers. 


Three Main Reason’s of Hair Loss -Prevention and Action


The three main reasons for hair loss in woman are: low iron, low thyroid and not enough minerals in the diet.


You can’t open a newspaper or magazine without seeing advertisements for hair loss solutions for men, but very few options are offered to women who are losing their hair. Over two-thirds of women suffer hair loss, and hair loss can be quite extreme—from thinning to bald patches. Thank- fully, few women go totally bald like men do, but there is nothing more distressing than watching your lovely locks fall out in abundance. Topical solutions for women rarely reverse hair loss. And the drugs that are available have been predominantly researched in men and do not address the underlying reasons for hair loss in women.

The three main reasons for hair loss in woman are: low iron, low thyroid and not enough minerals in the diet.

Low Iron and Hair Loss

One of the least known causes of hair loss is low iron. You do not have to be anemic to lose your hair. Your doctor may advise you that your iron levels are normal, but we know that low normal levels of iron will cause huge hair loss. Many women after childbirth and women during the perimenopausal years experience heavy periods. Simply being a woman of childbearing age automatically puts you at risk of low iron. Up to 60 percent of women have low iron and it is of ten undiagnosed. Due to higher iron requirements as a result of menstruation, women need 20 milligrams of elemental iron daily yet most of us are only getting 8 mg per day from our diet. Now that we are not eating as much red meat, even postmenopausal women and seniors are suffering from low iron.

Symptoms of iron deficiency may be any combination of the following


1. Skin: dry skin, sensitivity to cold temperature; pale complexion, thin, brittle nails, dull, lifeless hair.

2.Brain: Fatigue, light headedness, headaches, depressed or disturbed mood (anxiety), sleep disturbance.

3.Body symptoms: muscle weakness, aching joints, breathlessness or heart palpitations are, difficulty in swallowing.


Don’t Believe a Normal Iron Test

If your doctor tells you your iron is normal, ask for the test results. There are two iron blood tests: hemoglobin and ferritin. For hemoglobin, the test range suggested as normal by your doctor is 117–160 g/L for women. Yet hemoglobin below 140 g/L will cause significant hair loss. Ferritin, which is your iron storage, has a suggested test range of 15–160 ug/L; but to prevent hair loss and ensure thick hair, your reading should be above 40 ug/L.

In addition, for those who are either on thyroid medication or who have low thyroid but are not on thyroid hormone, there are key nutrients that can help support thyroid function. These include potassium iodide, tyrosine, ashwagandha, gugguls and pantothenic acid.  If you are on thyroid medication, take your medication first thing on an empty stomach and then take this supplement at breakfast. Once the underlying low thyroid is resolved and the TSH drops below 2, hair starts to grow back in six to eight weeks.

Hair follicles contain ferritin. When ferritin stores decline in the hair follicle, it affects the ability of the hair to grow causing non-pigmented
 fine hairs to develop.
  These hairs are often 
mistaken for androgenic alopecia. Low 
ferritin also causes the
 hair to change structure become dry, not hold the curl or color well and break easily. Hair loss can be gradual, a general thinning out over the years, or it can be sudden and startling.

Iron supplements represent another challenge because you will want an iron that does not constipate or cause digestive distress but is effective and fast acting.   Kassandra (Kasia Organics) recommends Premier Research Labs ErythroPro.  ErythroPro features highly bio-available iron (beet and rice bran-derive) that does not promote free radical production such as inorganic (rock) forms or iron (i.e. ferrous fumarate).  Instead, ErythroPro provides key blood factors from natural sources of folic acid, vitamin B12, copper, iodine and more.  Most women notice hair regrowth in as little as six weeks with this type of iron.

Low Thyroid Affects Up to 23 Percent of Women

Like low iron, hypothyroid or low thyroid hormone is an undiagnosed epidemic in Canada. Twenty-three percent of women are currently taking thyroid medication and up to 30 percent of women may also have subclinical or mild hypothyroidism whereby their thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is within the “normal” range of 0.5–5.5 IU/mL yet they still experience symptoms. Thinning hair, hair loss and loss of eyebrow hair are common symptoms of low thyroid. A deficiency in these hormones may also result in some of the following symptoms:

• Constipation
• Dry skin
• Weight gain or difficulty losing weight • Sensitivity to cold
• Menstrual problems/heavy periods
• Fatigue or lethargy
• Headaches

It is important that you ask your doctor what your TSH test result number is because although it may be “normal,” research has shown that if it is greater than 2.0 IU/mL, chances are it is low thyroid that is contributing to your hair loss.

Mind your Minerals

It is a rare person who eats the recommended seven to 10 half cup servings of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. Most of us eat only two to three servings a day and, on top of this, the modern lifestyle is rampant with “nutrient robbers”— e.g. stress, medications, the birth control pill, smoking, alcohol— that further deplete our nutritional stores. As a result, deficiencies in the key nutrients required for healthy hair are rampant. Zinc, silicon and selenium, for example, are critical to hair growth yet most people do not get enough.

Everybody should be on a multivitamin with minerals to prevent the nutritional deficiencies associated with not only hair loss but also chronic disease.

Start today with ErythroPro, Thyroven (a thyroid-support formula) if needed, and a great multivitamin with minerals and your hair will start to regain its youthful bounty. It is not normal to look down at the bottom of the tub and see nothing but hair swirling around the drain.

A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO HEALTH AND BEAUTY:  Kasia Organic Salon is a leading pioneer in healthy beauty to fit your lifestyle. Follow us to ammonia-free /MEA/PPD Color, organic facials, and natural and organic products that support your life. –Kassandra, Owner

Resource: Lorna Vanderhaeghe, MS, is Canada’s leading women’s health expert and has been researching nutritional medicine for over 30 years.



Hair Loss in the Pregnant and Post-Partum Woman

  This is a repost written by Tony Pearce RN.

Nothing reveals the unique beauty of a woman quite like a healthy woman displaying her pregnancy. The additional life growing inside her presents a glow that no cosmetic make-over could ever replicate.

Her hair too is usually at its most lush density and soft manageability. A pregnant woman’s scalp hair growth (anagen) cycle – usually a constant 85-90% - may increase to 95% during her 2nd + 3rd trimesters. Only during her young adolescence would a woman’s scalp hair follicles be so active in growth (Dawber+ Van Neste: 1995).

Her two dominant female sex hormones (Oestradiol + Progesterone*) increase immensely to help support the growth and development of the unborn child. These hormonal surges have a ‘flow-on’ effect to hair growth – adding to the expectant mother’s radiance.

As pregnancy progresses it’s generally accepted that higher oestrogen levels (oestradiol + estrone) are responsible for an increased and prolonged anagen phase, as well as thickened hair shaft density in trichometric studies. Pecoraro et al (1967) also suggested ‘telogen’ (shedding) phase is more rapid in a pregnant woman than the usual 2-3 months of a follicle cycle.

The rate of scalp hair growth in humans is profoundly influenced by the levels of unbound (i.e.: ‘active’) thyroid hormone (Dawber+ Van Neste: 1995). In their excellent text ‘Thyroid Power – 10 Steps to Total Health’, Shames + Shames (2002) note that women at the beginning of their pregnancy used to be given small doses of thyroid hormone to help prevent miscarriage and aid in foetal development. Even a minimal thyroid imbalance may be associated with miscarriage, premature birth, and even birth defects according to Arem (1999). He cites research that suggests 2-3% of pregnant women have an under-functioning thyroid gland. **

Excessive hair fall during pregnancy:

Essentially this should not occur, and is a contradiction of the hormonally mediated influences on hair growth during pregnancy.

When excessive scalp hair shed does occur it is likely due to:

  1. Nutritional deficiency: iron, Vitamin D, Iodine, zinc or other deficiency.
  2. Metabolic disturbance: thyroid gland dysfunction; pregnancy-related glycaemia (blood sugar + insulin) disturbance.
  3. Telogen Effluvium from recent illness.

Regrettably - nutritional deficiency in pregnant women is not uncommonly seen, and is due (in my opinion) to NON-specific baseline pathology testing (i.e.: testing ‘Haemoglobin’ instead of a full ‘Iron Studies’ panel). Vitamin D (25 [OH] D), Iodine or Red cell zinc are rarely ever tested unless specifically requested.

It is unacceptable in a 1st world health system that pregnant women should be allowed to proceed through pregnancy with severe iron, iodine, vitamin D or other nutritional deficiency. One West Australian woman who consulted me was found to have an iron storage (ferritin) of 8ug/L (range: 20-300) at six months pregnancy.

Quite recently a young woman five months pregnant and expecting her first child consulted me for continual excessive hair shedding. Her Vitamin D levels were so low they could not be measured by pathology testing. The 2007 reference range for 25(OH) D is 50-200nmol/L; ‘target’ is to be greater than 100nmol/L – this woman could only register LESS THAN 10nmol/L.

There are now many studies ( which demonstrate that an optimal Vitamin D status (i.e.: >100nmol/L) during pregnancy is essential for both maternal well-being and in-utero development of the child. There is also a growing awareness of the link between gestational Vitamin D deficiency in the pregnant mother and autism in her still-unborn child: Canadian Paediatric Society. Vitamin D supplementation: Recommendations for Canadian mothers and infants. Paediatr Child Health 2007;12(7):583-9 + Cannell JJ.  Autism and Vitamin D. Med Hypotheses 2008;70(4):750-9.

We have a known national Iodine deficiency among the general Australian population (Eastman: 2007); women are physiologically more prone to iron, iodine and 25(OH) D deficiency than males because of their ‘femaleness’. The medico-legal implications of this are self-evident.

Post-partum hair loss:

In essence, post-partum effluvium is a withdrawal of specific hormonal influences previously mentioned which hitherto have prolonged the hair follicle’s growth phase and delayed entry into catagen/telogen.

Following childbirth telogen hair count begins to rise and has been reported as high as 65% at two months (Dawber + Connor: 1971) - typically though 30-35% of scalp hair may be in telogen phase at two months postpartum.

A diffuse effluvium – disproportionate hair shed from the entire scalp - may be distressingly excessive for about three months but can continue for as long as a year. In usual circumstances the duration of shed is less than six months, and the majority of women return to normal hair density within a year.

The prolongation and exacerbation of post-partum hair loss is influenced by Prolactin secretion in breast-feeding, blood loss during childbirth, sleep deprivation, nutrition, or the many reasons for emotional stress in a new mother.

Anecdotally I have found post-partum effluvium to be more severe in those women who are continually sleep derived for extended periods of time. Simply put: if we can’t sleep our Pituitary Gland won’t produce sufficient Growth hormone (GH); we’ll be fatigued, weak, suffer mood disturbance – and our hair will fall out (Arem: 1999).


  • Post partum alopecia is considered the one true moult in humans, and new young mothers who exhibit post-partum effluvium should be reassured that (in time) a full recovery of lost hair density is the expected outcome.
  • If not previously tested, baseline blood pathology should be ordered to assess iron studies, (red cell) zinc, 25(OH) D, Iodine, B12 etc. All levels need to be in the 50-75th percentile of respective reference ranges to facilitate a more rapid ‘resetting’ of follicle anagen phasing.

Activance Rhodanide is a natural ‘leave-in’ treatment (the vitaminoid Rhodanide is the active nutrient) which I have found very effective in accelerating effluvium resolution. Unlike Minoxidil it is completely safe for lactating/breast-feeding women to use (Minoxidil is excreted in breast milk).

Photo-biotherapy such as ‘soft/cold’ low level laser light (LLLT) is in my experience most effective in effluvium-type shedding due to its anti-inflammatory and vaso-dilating (blood perfusion) properties. Six-twelve 15-20 minute treatments twice-weekly helps settle post-partum effluvium in the majority of women.

In theory – providing a post-partum woman experiencing effluvium and/or post-natal mood disturbance with a low dose natural Progesterone (P4) cream (1% or less) with a low-dose ‘Biest’ addition – should help to arrest both issues. However earlier studies by Skelton (1966) found ‘no consistent beneficial effect’.

Consult a qualified and experienced hair loss Practitioner only – such as a Trichologist or Medical Practitioner.

*The Corpus Luteum of non-pregnant females may produce 10-20mgs of Progesterone (P4) per day. A pregnant woman’s placenta produces up to 300mgs of P4 per day (Dr. John R. Lee MD; ‘What your Doctor may not tell you about Menopause’: 1996)

**Ridha Arem MD is a noted US Endocrinologist. He cites a study by Glenoer, D (1997) of American pregnant women.

About the Author: Tony Pearce RN, WTS is a Specialist Trichologist of female hair loss + scalp problems.

Hair Loss ... Not Always Genetic

Hey there Informed Beauties!  If there is one consistent and growing conundrum out there, it's the complex topic of hair loss.  I see it every day in my salon chair, so let's shed some light on this problem that truly can be overcome with dedication and  diligence! Common Hair Loss Question:

"I went to a dermatologist who told me I had female pattern baldness and that there was nothing I could do other than use Rogaine twice a day. Is this my only option?"


I have shared frustrations with many worried woman and the topic of hair loss in my salon chair.  Those of my clients that have sought a "whole--istic" approach have seen great results. We've been able to set them up with Functional Medicine testing, great hair products, and supplemental nutritional products to help from the inside- out.

I also add that there are a small percentage of clients that simply have their genetic DNA going against them.  With that said, the  majority of women presenting patterned hair thinning show (in my opinion),  an acquired pattern alopecia due to the cascading affects metabolic/hormonal disturbance within a number of body systems.

This is caused by a few things, including  low iron, low thyroid, not enough protein, stress which causes low thyroid, and autoimmune disease, and medications.

Suggested Steps to re-growth.......

  1. Knowing I need to practice what I preach.... Informed Beaute's need to truly be pro-active in de-stressing your life.  Make those around you aware of this!
  2. Eat more protein.  As women age, we loose metabolic function, hormones go on default, etc. Unless one receives complete chains of amino acids for the body to quick use and uptake......the lethargy continues stealing from areas needed to function healthy hormones, energy, memory, etc.
  3. Take a multivitamin and other supportive supplements.  To mention:  I love Premier Research Labs:  B Complex, Adaptogens, Calcium/Magnesium, Vitamin D, Minerals/Pink Salt, digestive enzymes and HCL.  I've seen this "package" make strides for clients.
  4. Get your hormones tested!  All women young and old need a baseline.
  5. Make sure your TSH is below 2.0 
  6. Make sure your ferritin is between 40 and 70.Lifestyle and Liver HealthAn ATP-deprived liver is ‘sluggish’ & readily overloaded when a woman is taking hormone therapy (contraceptive or HRT medication), consumes some daily alcohol, lack of nutrition. These combined substances occupy the total capacityof the liver’s Phase I detoxification pathway, & the liver’s ability to process other substances such as the body’s own hormone by-products or other toxins is progressively impaired – ultimately resulting hormonal disturbance & cellular toxicity.Successfully treating women for hair loss problems requires careful review of their medical, nutritional, hormonal & lifestyle history undertaken in an organized & sequential way. This provides  a clearer representation of what other areas are influencing the primary problem, & treating the causeof the condition rather than just the symptoms can then be undertaken.NOTE!  The discipline is important because it truly takes time to reverse hair loss and in most cases can take up to 6 months.   May you see the value of your Beautiful Health........and enjoy those new baby hairs on the come back!   Dont give up.

Love and Support......   Kassie

Hormonal Imbalances Related to Acne


Acne is associated with genetic factors, hormonal imbalances, a junk food diet, and emotional problems.   It is associated with excess secretion of the sebaceous glands, which secrete an oil (sebum) to prevent aging.  Testosterone, a major male hormone also present in women, stimulates secretion of this oil during puberty.   In acne prone individuals, excess sebum accumulates in skin follicles and feeds the always-present bacteria.  As the oil breaks down into fatty acids, the cells lining the follicles stick together causing clogged pores impacted with dead cells.  This leads to whiteheads, blackheads, pimples and cysts.  First, let’s summarize causes.  I will skip the genes.  Everyone has them.  If you have acne genes, then you are predisposed to acne but that doesn’t mean you have to get it.


Hormonal Imbalances Related to Acne

Low thyroid function is a primary causal factor in acne.  Why?  Because when thyroid hormone is deficient, the body cannot convert cholesterol to the anti-aging steroids, including pregnenolone, progesterone and DHEA.  Of these, progesterone is the most important hormone in the prevention and cure of acne.  It inhibits both estrogen and testosterone. Although progesterone is the major female hormone, it is also helpful for males with acne.  Dr Raymond Peat has a cream containing 3% progesterone, which is useful in this purpose.  Peat reports his studies using dissolved progesterone on both females and males.  Both experienced a regression of their acne.  Peat says that his clients consistently reported that the use of progesterone at the first sign of a pimple stopped the development and prevented the outbreak, and within a few days resulted in a relatively clear skin.  In males, this progesterone support is important because it inhibits the excessive testosterone present in male (and some female) acne sufferers.  However, I must caution males to not inhibit their testosterone to the extent that they lose their whiskers and libido!

Why is the thyroid hormone so important in acne?  Because the thyroid hormone along with adequate vitamin A works by ensuring progesterone formation, providing you have adequate LDL cholesterol.

Dietary Factors

Please read the  dietary rules list and avoid a junk food diet.  This includes all processed, refined, junk foods and non-foods such as all commercial dairy, meat, poultry and eggs.  Sometimes, just avoiding junk and processed foods is enough.  But, if you have hormonal problems, changing your diet will not be sufficient.

There are many nutrients important in preventing skin conditions.  Instead of taking megadoses of synthetic vitamins and minerals, why not eat an organic, whole foods diet?  This will supply you with adequate amounts of B-vitamins, minerals, including zinc, folic acid and the entire B complex including biotin, and the fat soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A and E, both of which are very important in skin health.

Friendly bowel bacteria are called probiotics and have many beneficial functions in the intestinal tract.  Among them are Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus bifidus, and Streptococcus faecium.  These are not enzymes but they help the body produce enzymes such as protease, lipase, and lactase, B vitamins, and natural antibiotics, which inhibit at least 27 types of pathogenic bacteria.  They thus aid healing of skin diseases including acne.

Emotional Problems

Severe emotional problems suppress the immune system, reduce thyroid function, and contribute to all problems, including acne.  I am listing these problems here so as not to negate the importance of emotional health and realizing when there are emotional problems that need to be resolved.

Below is a general program for acne sufferers.

Nutritional Program for Acne Sufferers

  • Eat a whole, organic food diet.  Avoid processed, synthetic foods.  This includes all refined sugars, grains, processed foods and junk foods.
  • Use a multiple digestive formula to facilitate digestion of your foods.  Find out what you have trouble digesting and minimize it.
  • Check your thyroid function.  If you have a sluggish thyroid gland, you are a candidate for acne (and a lot of other health problems).
  • Women should use Peat’s 10% progesterone oil.  Men should use the 3% progesterone cream.  Refer to the chapter on anti-aging steroids for more details.
  • Use topical creams.  These include:  natural progesterone in vitamin E, retinyl palmitate and creams containing salicylic acid (active ingredient in aspirin) and alpha-hydroxy acid (glycolic acid).
  • Premier Research Labs supplements are an option for malnutrition and balancing the body.


Be sure to check out Kasia's Specialty Medical Grade Facials and Peels! 



Hypothyroidism and weight gain

As a student of Functional Medicine and staying on top of recent studies, health professionals, and lifestyle awareness - Women to Women brings much clarity in print to understanding more about the health complications so many women face.

At Kasia Organic Salon, we witness first hand the symptoms many clients go through within endocrine insufficiency from hair loss and excess hair growth, which together evolves to awareness in nutrition and supplements with our selection of hormonal supportive neutraceuticals.

At Kasia we offer a wealth of knowledge and referrals from Chinese Medicine with  Liz * as well as referrals to Julie Tebben, RN and expert in Functional Medicine in the Endocrine Cascade.

Enjoy the article from Marcel!

Ever since Oprah announced that her sluggish thyroid was contributing to her weight gain, I've had many patients with weight issues ask me, “Is it my thyroid?”

The answer for many of these women is yes, but the solution isn’t quite so simple. Thyroid function is intimately connected with your metabolism — thyroid hormones basically regulate calorie consumption. But a healthy thyroid also depends on the proper functioning of other body mechanisms, including your neurotransmitters, your reproductive hormones and your adrenal glands.

The thyroid and weight gain

Because patients with an underactive thyroid tend to have a very low basal metabolic rate, one of the most noticeable symptoms of hypothyroidism is weight gain and difficulty losing extra weight. (Sometimes an overactive thyroid can mimic an underactive thyroid by causing weight gain, although this is less common.) A minority of women with hypothyroidism don’t gain weight. The difference arises from their individual biochemistry, the quality of the calories they consume, and how they use those calories.

Often the “metabolic burn” continues to fall as calories are reduced when dieting. That’s why some women with low thyroid can have weight gain even when they severely restrict calories. In order to fix your metabolism, you have to understand your entire health picture, not just your thyroid.

The thyroid in women

More women than men suffer from hypothyroidism, and many more women than men with thyroid issues have problems with weight gain. Most thyroid problems occur within the gland itself and often don’t reveal themselves until a broader pattern of hormonal imbalance develops. That’s why thyroid issues, menopause and weight gain often appear together (which is exactly what happened to Oprah).

Why do women experience low thyroid and weight gain with such frequency? The reasons are manifold, but primarily:

  • Women spend much of their lives dieting, usually in a yo-yo cycle of feasting and then fasting. This undermines your metabolism and decreases your metabolic rate, a compounding factor for the thyroid, especially during perimenopause.
  • Women tend to internalize stress, which affects their adrenal function. Overactive adrenal glands produce excess cortisol, which interferes directly with thyroid hormones. In addition, fatigue caused by adrenal dysfunction increases cravings for sweets and simple carbs to provide instant energy and feel-good hormones.
  • Women's bodies have a delicate balance of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, which can be upset when your body is under stress and not receiving enough support. This resulting hormonal imbalance acts as a trigger for thyroid problems.

What you can do about hypothyroidism and weight gain

The first thing to do if you are experiencing stubborn weight gain is to talk to your practitioner. She or he may ask for a thyroid test or measure TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone). I have found in my practice that many women who test within the “normal” range of traditional medical standards still need thyroid support. Their TSH may be only slightly elevated, but enough so that it influences their metabolism and causes weight gain.

For these women, supplemental nutrients such as selenium and iodine, combined with a meal plan that balances a proper ratio of protein to carbohydrates increases their metabolic functioning and they begin to lose weight. We also recommend a pharmaceutical-grade multivitamin/mineral to give your body ample nutritional support. In some cases, a low-dose thyroid replacement hormone is also needed.

There is a lot of controversy in the endocrinology world regarding hypothyroidism treatment. There are those that believe that patients who test within the normal range but have very low basal metabolic rates and very low basal temperatures need thyroid supplementation. There are others that argue that only patients with significant abnormalities should be supported with thyroid hormones.

Weight gain is not sufficient evidence to conclude that someone has a thyroid abnormality, but it is one part of the picture we try to bring into focus. Efforts to lose weight without addressing related thyroid issues are doomed to fail. Likewise, thyroid treatments are usually not as effective without addressing the underlying hormonal imbalance. The greatest success is found through a holistic approach that considers thyroid function as an integral part of your overall hormonal balance.


Read more here.

Female Hair Loss: Top Real Cause(s)

Kasia Organic Salon and  Female Hair Loss

Over the years with many clients, I see the numbers continuing to grow and  increase in the number of women suffering from hair loss, particularly between the ages of twenty-five to forty.

What is that the most common causes of hair loss in women are hormonally related.  We all have to address this at some point - as they occur during and following childbirth, with the use of the contraceptive pill, anemia and menopause.

Treating and diagnosing Female hair loss is not as simple and straight-forward as male pattern baldness.  The good news is that a large percent of women’s hair loss is completely reversible.

At Kasia we help you get to the "ROOT" of this in a multi-facited manner.  The key is to find out what the reason is, and to then evaluate your options in addressing  it.  First and for-most, we help evaluate your current products and routines.  We suggest a variety of at home treatments with essential oils, supplements, and non invasive.

Through getting to know you, our treatments involve a team of responsible informed natural practioners to help run hormone panels or other  series of tests to ensure we as a collective uncover and correct the problem instead of just treating the symptoms.

The Ludwig Scale - for Women's Hair Loss.

Women have a pattern of hair loss called Female Pattern Loss. This loss does not occur in the same pattern as men but appears as a diffuse thinning throughout the scalp. There is a chart designed to classify Female Pattern loss called the Ludwig Scale. There are however always exceptions and in some cases men may suffer from a diffuse type thinning and women may experience a similar hair loss pattern to men.

Usually called Female Androgenetic hair loss is caused by both parents carrying the dominant gene for hair loss and both passing it on to their daughter. If only one of your parents passes this on, hair loss is not caused as it would be in men. This is due to the higher levels of Estrogenic or female hormones in women.

Female balding occurs usually more slowly than in men, with the hair on the top and front of the scalp gradually becoming finer and weaker, the shaft diameter is reduced. In more advanced or severe cases, the crown area is also affected as is the hair growing above the ears. The levels of the male hormone testosterone are raised and this may cause various other symptoms including oily skin, acne Hirsuitism (excessive hair growth on the face and body in a masculine pattern). Menstrual disturbances and lowered fertility may also accompany this problem. Normally, due to the higher levels of female hormones Estrogens, the growth cycle of hair is slower in women than in men. This means that generally each hair grows for a longer period of time before being replaced. Women therefore are usually able to grow their hair longer than men unless the level of androgens interferes with this process. Female hormone levels are usually highest between the age of puberty and about twenty-five. After this they decrease slightly, speeding up the growth cycle giving a slightly higher percentage of resting or catagen hairs. In other words the hair never appears to grow quite so quickly as it did during the teens and early twenties. This has nothing to do with hair loss and is just a natural change in the cycle. It is known that chronic or acute stress has the effect of lowering the production of estrogens and while testosterone levels may not increase, as it is a powerful hormone it may become more active affecting genetically targeted hair follicles which would have been protected by higher estrogenic hormone levels. Various theories have been put forward as to why the incidence of hair loss should be increasing in women. The most likely reason is that as in male hair loss, stress is a major factor. We do live in an increasingly stressful world and for women in particular this has its adverse effects. The female role has changed much over the past two decades and now women have taken their rightful place in industry, commerce and the professions, bringing with it the increased levels of stress that comes with management, responsibility and the decision making processes. The incidence of heart disease, stomach ulcers, high blood pressure, etc. which used to be the prerogative of the male executive are now increasing rapidly in women, particularly those with high pressure jobs. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome The disorder sometimes referred to as Stein-Leventhal Syndrome causes the ovaries, which usually produce estrogens, to malfunction causing the metabolism of testosterone to take place. Symptoms are hair loss from the scalp and may also include stopping of periods, weight gain, infertility, oily skin, acne and hair growth on the face and body (hirsuitism). Hormone therapy and minor surgery are usually successful in solving all the problems that may occur. Adrenal Tumor A tumor of the adrenal gland which normally produces adrenaline, a stimulant hormone, as its man secretion can cause conversion of hormones produced and a disturbance in their biosynthesis or chemical production to form testosterone which will cause similar effects as for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. It must be realized then that if your hair loss problem is severe, that careful medical diagnosis is essential to find the cause or site of the excessive production of testosterone before treatment is given. Fortunately in most cases the results are very good but may take time to achieve. Hair Loss Following Pregnancy During early pregnancy estrogenic hormone levels increase. This slows down the normal cycle of hair growth, resulting in only about five per cent of the normal hair fall and replacement to occur. Hairs that would normally stop growing, continue to grow beyond their normal life cycle. This causes the hair in many cases to appear to grow thicker as more hairs are in active growth than usual. The hair on the eyebrows and eyelashes may also thicken.

Assuming the expectant mother to be healthy, this continues until the baby is born. Following the birth of the baby, hormone levels change very rapidly often causing the so-called ‘three day blues’ or depression. At this time those hairs, which were growing beyond their normal lifespan, revert to telogen hairs, which begin to fall at any time after one month, but usually when the baby is about three months old. Occasionally this may take place very rapidly so that hair may fall out by the handful and can be very distressing, particularly to a tired mother. More usually the hair falls over a period of a month or two and the hair loss gradually decreases. In some cases, particularly when breastfeeding, the milk producing hormone prolactin will delay the hair loss. The important thing to know and remember is that as fast as the old hairs are being shed, new anogen hairs are growing so that at scalp level the number of hairs rarely decreases. There will, however, be a large number of short new hairs growing and less long hair. Under normal circumstances the hair is all growing back by the time the baby is a year old. Patience and treatment is the normal answer. Only about one in a thousand women find that their hair does not grow back after childbirth and this is usually due to general health problems, stress, poor circulation or anemia (lack of iron). All problems that are usually easy to correct. Again treatment is highly successful.

Miscarriage or Abortion These may cause slight hair changes as described for childbirth and hair loss is more noticeable if they occur following the first three months of pregnancy. Immediate regular treatment will help to stop hair loss and speed complete recovery of hair growth. The Contraceptive Pill It is rare for contraceptive pills to cause any problem with hair growth, they may however give rise to an increase in oiliness in some women. Occasionally the pill prescribed may not suit the hormonal balance of some women but the symptoms are usually discomfort, water retention, headaches, etc. Not hair loss. Sometimes a different combination of hormones will be more acceptable. When commencing to take the pill, hair may fall at a slightly increased rate for the first three months or it may grow thicker depending upon the individual reaction.

Ceasing to take the pill frequently gives rise to the same reaction as that occurring after normal childbirth, although usually in a mild form. Hair shedding will increase slightly about three months after cessation as a new growth cycle of hair begins. Regular treatment will help to establish new growth cycle more rapidly. Anemia Low blood pressure, poor circulation, lack of iron and low ferritin levels to produce hemoglobin which is the oxygen carrying component of blood may often lead to diffuse thinning of hair from all parts of the scalp. The hair may become lighter and some of the hairs finer in texture. The hair often becomes more brittle and broken hairs may be seen all through the hair at different lengths. A blood test followed by iron supplements in the diet will normally solve the problem within a couple of months. If the scalp circulation is very poor or the scalp muscles too tense, regular manipulative and vibratory massage of the scalp will aid re-growth of hair. Low dosage iron supplements frequently improve density of hair growth even where iron deficiency anemia has not been diagnosed. Hair Changes at the Menopause The hair may gradually become slightly thinner and finer with advancing age. General health, fitness and diet are obviously important factors as well as maintaining a good scalp circulation. Occasionally if genetically at risk or hair has had a previous tendency to thin, the loss of hair may become visible and noticeable.

Bioidentical Hormones are  becoming more popular for a variety of reasons including prevention of Osteoporosis (brittle bones due to calcium loss), memory retention, improved skin elasticity and continued interest in sex.

Please Contact Kassie for a referral to a licensed professional for Bio-Identical Hormone Options. 612 824 7611

Hair loss can be one of the most frustrating and difficult  for men and women to deal with.

Myths abound when it comes to hair. Here are some Truths:

  1. Cutting or shaving the hair will have no effect on its rate of growth.
  2. Shampooing the hair will not affect hair loss one way or the other. The hairs that fall out during shampooing are ready to come out anyway.
  3. Daily or twice daily shampooing is quite acceptable as long as the shampoo is formulated for daily use. People with oily scalps should shampoo at least once a day.
  4. Frequency of shampooing will not effect the rate of production of sebum (oil) from the sebaceous glands.
  5. Sebum does not cause hair loss. Hair follicles do not get blocked up by oil
  6. Genetic hair loss in men is inherited from either parent.
  7. It is normal to lose 50-100 hairs from the head each day
  8. Each hair on the head grows for about 3-5 years before being shed
  9. 40 million men and 20 million women suffer from hair loss
  10. Scalp hair grows at a rate of about 1 cm (just under 1/2 an inch) a month
  11. We each have about 100,000 hairs on the scalp

Resource:  Harmonix Hair Solutions

Hair products containing toxic chemicals promote hair loss

Call Kassie today for a Free Consult on how to combat HAIR LOSS, most likely due to lifestlye, nutrition, and personal care use....

"Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is the dominant ingredient in almost all shampoos sold in traditional outlets such as supermarkets, drugstores and discount centers. In addition to having toxic effects on your immune system, SLS has been shown to corrode hair follicles and impede hair growth. It has been blamed for many cases of hair loss. The Material Safety Data Sheet provided by the U.S. government says exposure to SLS can lead to burning, coughing, wheezing, laryngitis, shortness of breath, headache, nausea and vomiting. The American College of Toxicology says SLS stays in the body for up to five days and maintains residual levels in the heart, liver, brain, and lungs.

Over-treated hair is another cause of hair loss in women. Hair dyes, permanents, and relaxers do serious damage to the hair and scalp whether they contain lye or not. They are made with toxic chemicals that must be detoxified by the liver, and are identified by the immune system as foreign invaders. Thus health of the liver and the immune system are compromised by use of these products. When the liver is busy trying to detoxify an onslaught of foreign chemicals, estrogen metabolism may not be properly completed and breast cancer may be promoted. An immune system busy fighting off an invasion of foreign chemicals may not be able to prevent infection or identify and destroy abberant cells. Damage from dyes and relaxers can only heal when those potions are no longer used on the hair."

Learn More Here!

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