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In this presentation:

  • What Matt thinks is the real cause of PCOS (And why the “cure” might not be what you think)
  • What Matt believes is the most important substance for raising metabolic rate (as well as its “close second”) and how you can use it to help heal your hair loss
  • One simple way to beat insulin resistance to balance out your hormones (this might be the opposite of what you expect – and it’s also easier)
  • Why your metabolic rate has a direct effect over age-related decline in your health and appearance.
{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Brittany 10 March, 2015, 2:37 pm

    Question for Matt or others…

    About Me: I have been experiencing hair loss for the past 4+ years. It all started shortly after taking an SSRI (Paxil) prescribed by my doctor at the time (long story – but it was an unnecessary prescription, to say the least); I do believe this was the trigger for my sudden and drastic shedding to begin, as SSRIs are a known cause of hair loss. However, even after quickly going off the drug once the loss began, shedding continued to worsen.

    Various doctors told me it was simply genetic and there was nothing I could really do (I should also mention here, I was on birth control pills as well for many years). As Matt mentioned in this discussion, I quickly became one of those obsessive researcher types determined to figure out my hair loss on my own – I thought there had to be another cause, or a cure out there! Unfortunately, the first thing I obsessed about was Mark Sisson’s “Primal” diet – ’cause grains are obviously the devil and cause every health problem imaginable (FML!).

    Being incredibly naive, I began restricting all forms of carbs in an attempt to become the ultimate-fat-burner-holier-than-thou primal beast and reclaim my health (I aimed for under 50 grams a day). Well, obviously that didn’t help. My hair loss didn’t really get better or worse, but I did lose weight – in a rather unattractive, sagging kind of way… my breasts got smaller and I felt my face looked hollow and aging (at 24 years old!!!!) Other negative effects were feeling cold all the time, peeing constantly, worsening depression and anxiety, self-loathing and basically on the verge of an eating disorder. I had low body temps in the 96’s.

    I knew this wasn’t right, so I kept digging. Eventually I found sites like Matt’s “180 Degree Health,” Amber Rodger’s “Go Kaleo,” and Danny Roddy’s “Hair Like a Fox” – all of which struck a chord with me. I’ll spare you the gritty details, but after hitting what I considered rock bottom in terms of inhabiting my body, I decided to re-feed a-la ETF (Eat The Food!) That was about two years ago; though I went slow, unsure of myself and the process.

    I think I went full re-feed about a year and a half ago (not counting calories, basically gorging on whatever). Finally, today I am eating everything and anything I want, but I have very little cravings, or food obsessions, etc. I gained back my weight and then some, but most of my clothes still fit and I feel most weight has gone back to my boobs and butt (yay!). My face is filling back out, my skin is quite clear, my energy is MUCH better, and though I also had help from a therapist, my stress and anxiety is so, so much better. The only thing that still gets me down these days is my hair.

    It’s never really recovered. The shedding has subsided quite a bit, but it’s still a presence in my life and a source of stress. There is some growth, but it is quite thin/wispy and I notice some of the short growth falls out prematurely. I realize I did a lot of damage; SSRIs, extreme psychological stress, carb restriction, birth control pills – pretty much everything mentioned on this site as potential causes of hair loss.

    I might also mention, I’ve had a lot of lab work done over the years: My thyroid is good (about 1.5), I’m negative for PCOS, ferritin, vitamin D, sex hormones all checked out normal. The only standout I can think of was lowish cortisol (saliva test, and it was a while ago so I take that with a grain of salt). I take my temperature daily; in the follicular phase I’m consistently between 97.5-98 and luteal 98.6+. My cycle is a VERY consistent 28 days on the dot (I’ve been charting it for over a year). I generally sleep pretty well these days, but I could probably get more. I get daily sunshine, I workout lightly (yoga, 1-2x’s a week light weight lifting).

    I’m currently 150 lbs and about 34% bodyfat. I’m maintaining weight at about 2000 calories a day with plenty of carbs and protein (the only thing I restrict is PUFA!). I take a few vitamins: D/K2, Zinc, A, Mg, Ca, I eat gelatin, salt, sugar, etc. I’m totally into the suggestions here and that Matt has proposed elsewhere; but mostly I’m doing what feels good for me. I know it might sound like I’m still obsessing, but I think my reality is that I’ve simply incorporated these things into my “effortless” knowledge base – written out, it looks like a lot.

    I know it can take a long time, but I still feel it should be better by now, years down the line. I guess through this very long-winded story of mine, I’m looking for some reassurance… one thing we hair loss sufferers don’t hear or read much about is actual recovery; how long it can take or what it looks like; ex. does the hair ever go back to what it once was? Is it normal for hair to grow in thinner before it gets thicker? Is there an approximate timeline one can expect? Obviously, everyone is different. There’s a lot of theories out there, but I feel we’re very short on real successes.

    Wow, that was long. Sorry!

    • Olivia Carina 10 March, 2015, 6:29 pm

      Hi Brittany,

      Thanks for sharing your story – all those details are important and I thank you for sharing them! It sounds like you are doing really good diet-wise. Compliance to a healthy diet that gives you what you need and restricts causes of inflammation will be difficult for many to do, so good on you girl!

      Now, about your continued hair loss. I think you are already setting yourself up for success to help with this. One thing you mentioned was low cortisol on your saliva test. Even though that’s a while back, that may be a key piece for you. Dr. James L Wilson, whose talk will be live on March 12 at 11 AM Pacific, told me that if you have low thyroid, you should also suspect an adrenal problem. I think that even if you don’t have a thyroid problem, too low cortisol will cause issues (as will too high cortisol) with your hair.

      And cortisol is actually really important for your cells to be able to use thyroid hormone correctly. Dr. Wilson shares a lot of great information on why adrenal health is SO important to the health of your whole system, and how to help heal your adrenals and body from the effects of chronic stress.

      I’m learning more and more that we often can underestimate stress’ ability to hang around – in our minds and in our cells. Chances are, if you rarely feel carefree, light, energetic, and joyful for seemingly no reason – with plenty of get-up-and-go, then your stress is probably still hanging on. Counseling can be great for helping recover from some stress. And so can getting plenty of calories, nutrients, and rest on deck like Matt and Danny recommend.

      I’m also realizing the true importance of play, and fun in healing from stress, like Kate Callaghan recommends. The feel good hormone dopamine is shown to balance out the hormone prolactin, which is linked to chronic stress and hair shedding. So ask yourself how often it is that you feel really good, or like all is right in your world? If you answer “constantly!” to that question, that is awesome. But if not, then you’re probably still being bogged down by stress in some form or another.

      From your story above, you seem like you are doing a lot of things right and perhaps just have only a few more issues to address such as adrenal health (after getting checked again), and maybe see if there is anything in your environment and diet that could be causing inflammation or endocrine disruption. Tom Malterre, Dr. Izabella Wentz, and Josh and Jeanne Rubin all cover these things in depth so be sure to catch their upcoming talks. Something great I learned from speaking with all of these guys is that with a problem like hair loss, you can’t view treatment myopically, you have to take everything into account, and see how each aspect of your health, including stress of all kinds, can affect all of the others.

      One more thing – I remember Dr. Ray Peat told me that once you really get all of your health issues addressed and get balanced, the changes in your hair and the way you feel will happen very quickly.

      • Brittany 11 March, 2015, 12:10 pm

        Hi Olivia,
        Thank you for your reply and suggestions. It’s true that there are some lingering stressors in my life; I’ve come a long way but perhaps there is still some letting go that I need to do. My hair issues used to send me into almost daily tears… these days it’s just more of a *sigh*. Self-love is tough and something I always struggled with even before the hair issues. I’ve often wondered if this was my body’s way of telling me to get over myself already.

        It’s interesting you mention play and fun, because only recently have I finally started feeling the need for these things again. Perhaps it’s just the natural progression of getting better.

        Patience, patience…

        • Olivia Carina 13 March, 2015, 9:35 pm

          Yes, patience (and steadfastness in good habits) do seem to be key in helping the hair loss.

          I think you are doing good – keep at it, never give up, but work to love yourself as you are, because this has a huge impact on both stress and healing.

          Practice it daily like exercise. There is a wonderful, inexpensive little book that might help, maybe even change your life, it’s called Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It, by Kamal Ravikant.

    • Carmel 20 March, 2015, 11:13 pm

      I have read that castor oil is helpful for hair regrowth.

  • Matt Stone 10 March, 2015, 10:10 pm

    Hey Brittany,

    Well there’s not a whole lot to be said. It sounds like everything is in good working order, and it sounds like you’re in a pretty good place health-wise and also not having to struggle to function well either (a nice bonus).

    As far as when and how thick and how fast and what is and isn’t normal and what you can try next, this really isn’t an exact science.

    Take 100 women and jack their health up with pharmaceuticals and extreme diets, and probably only 10 of them will actually lose a substantial amount of hair. Then get those 10 women functioning properly again, and they will probably all grow back a different amount of hair at a different pace.

    It’s not that anyone is doing something better than another, it probably boils down to individuality more than anything. So answers from here aren’t clear.

    I think addressing micronutrition in a calculated and precise way with Dr. Garrett Smith might be a reasonable next step with some potential to help, and very limited ability to do harm (good reward to risk ratio that is, which should be weighed carefully when pursuing any type of therapy).

    Other than that, keep paying attention to your body’s natural signals and cues, continue to master the basics of self-care, and keep your fingers crossed! Thanks for listening, and thanks Olivia for putting this together!

    • Brittany 11 March, 2015, 12:15 pm

      Hi Matt,

      Thank you for replying! And thank you for your sound health advice over the years… Your site has helped me a great deal and I’ve come a long way because of it and the further recommended reading.

      I knew what I was asking didn’t really have an answer, but figured I’d throw it out there anyway!

  • Barbara R. 10 March, 2015, 10:14 pm

    Sounds wonderful. Thank you for this presentation.
    1 to 3 years to lose the gained weight! I was a little disappointed to hear that. 2 years ago I have gained 25 lbs over 2 to 3 months. Basically 2 lbs a month. After that I have stopped gaining weight but I have not lost the extra 25 lbs either. I have never had weight problems in my whole life. I would love to try Matt’s diet but I do not know if I can afford another 25 lbs for the next couple years. What should I do?
    Another question for Matt: What do you think of intermittent fasting? If you like it then which type of intermittent fasting is best?
    Thank you.

    • Olivia Carina 10 March, 2015, 10:34 pm

      Hi Barbara,

      When it comes to giving your hair some excess energy necessary to grow, I think it’s important to at least try increasing your nutrient amounts – more food and more rest as Matt recommends are two ways to do this. I thought you might like to check out this link where he talks about intermittent fasting on his 180Radio podcast and that will help answer your question: http://180radio.com/glycogen-and-intermittent-fasting/

      Thank you for listening to the presentations!

  • Matt Stone 11 March, 2015, 8:10 am

    What’s dubbed “intermittent fasting” is usually more of tweak in meal frequency than it is anything else–eating a couple of large meals in an 8-hour window as opposed to eating 3 meals plus snacks in a typical 12-hour window as is customary.

    You’re welcome to experiment with it, but ultimately I think you’ll find the benefits to your body composition short-lived, and you’ll probably also notice that any results you get come at a cost.

    Watch out for that “really energized” state IF advocates talk about. This is NOT a desirable state when induced by fasting. It’s basically a surge of stress hormones, and you’ll likely pay penalties for putting your body under such stress months down the line.

  • Bea 11 March, 2015, 2:16 pm

    Matt,
    This was such an eye-opening presentation. I have hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which has basiclly turned into a non-functioning thyroid. Which means a very slow metabolism. Over the past few months, I have been working on clearing inflammation caused by candida. In the last two weeks, I have lost a significant amount of hair all over my head, so it is very thin with some areas bald and shiny.

    When it started to happen, my body temperature was up to about 97., up from my normal 96.5. Then it would crash and I couldn’t get warm. My doctor says that as my liver was healing at that time and the energy was being redirected to the liver and the hair was being neglected. It sounds reasonable, just a little off the wall.

    My problem is with getting in enough to eat. I have recently tried to increase my intake to 1250 calories, which is still low, but up from the 800-900 I had been eating. I had not been restricting calories due to a diet, I just don’t get hungry. I am 61 years old, 5′ 1″ and stay steady at 142-144. I feel my best at 130, just cannot seem to get there.

    What can I do to help increase my appetite? Your calculation of closer to 2000 calories is daunting. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    • Olivia Carina 13 March, 2015, 9:51 pm

      Hi Bea,

      It sounds like you’ve been through a lot and it’s good that you are trying to recuperate your body. Matt mentioned in the talk that your appetite will likely increase as you bring your calorie intake up to a more functional level. If you find that you don’t get hungry or can’t handle large meals, you might try eating smaller meals, more spread out throughout the day, and that have denser calories in those small meals.

      So if you are simply trying to increase your calories, I suggest healthy calorie-dense foods – maybe cheese, whole milk, natural sugars, coconut oil, meat, liver, eggs. Eat foods that aren’t disruptive to your gut. Approximate the food you need to eat each day to hit your caloric goal (you can titrate that up slowly if you want to). And then divide that food into small meal sizes that you can tolerate throughout the day.

      Hope that helps, Bea. And thank you for listening.

  • Donna 13 March, 2015, 5:29 am

    Matt…the more I read and listen to your wise words…the more I wish I could literally replace…or at least infuse into…my ED recovery team…the emotional, mental and physical components of what “repair” implies (from anorexia nervosa, anorexia athletica, and severe orthorexia (two or three macro nutrient groups..banished).

    I actually find your stats about the long, hard haul…what to expect quite comforting, rather then alarming or paralyzing…because I always wondered if my metabolism had become permanently broken after eleven long years of amenorrhea…whilst “comparing” my return to normal to other ED patients who were in their late teens or early twenties…My onset was at 43 years of age and, well, eleven years of damage are not to be expected to be rectified in six months…At 54….just knowing that this will be a long, yep…somewhat arduous process…to the tune of two to three years helps me “deal” with the difficult parts…Ironically, I had my first mense action in November…then nothing, despite “eating the food”…until ovulation action over the past two days…In between…major hot flashes…So I “get” the thrill of experiencing recovery (with the additional weight to be expected for repair) along with the additional thrill of menopause!! LOL!!…

    As for the hair element…there was a time, in hospital, when I literally had the round bald spot that one spots on men…and somehow men can “rock” this! Rather than admitting to myself that my obstruction of justice…or allowing myself important macro-nutrients…I entrenched myself in firm denial by rejecting the obvious and sporting a ladies toupee…cool…not. Stupid…oh yes….

    I have this incredible NEED to thank you for this presentation…all of your work at 180 Degree Health….for it is you and your brilliant blog* that have brought me out of a self-induced coma. I love you..Really.

    * Reading and allowing myself to ingest and digest your wit and wisdom help me “push through” the new, somewhat still destabilizing “new butt/new boob” discoveries…and morphings every single day.

    • Olivia Carina 13 March, 2015, 9:09 pm

      Hi Donna,

      Thank you for being so open about your history with ED – I commend you for your bravery and strength in working to overcome this problem, and I understand too well the difficulty of doing so.

      The fact that you’re now reconnecting to a healthier self, even after such a long time period of imbalance is very encouraging. There’s a lesson here:

      Even though you thought you might have damaged your body irreparably, you discovered your ability to tune it back into health, as discussed in this talk. It’s an important lesson to learn for any woman with hair loss – even the so-called “irreversible” or “genetic” kind. It’s important for any woman with amenorrhea who has ever been diagnosed (falsely) with something like premature ovarian failure, only to get her cycle and fertility back when she takes a rest and feeds herself better. I’m so glad you shared your comment.

      P.S. Aren’t we SO glad that Matt chose to share his wit and wisdom to help us out with hair and health? I sure am! Hope you continue with your great mindset, Donna. Keep calm and morph on to better health and beautiful hair, sister 🙂

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