Although it’s not a life threatening condition, Alopecia Areata (patchy baldness) can cause sufferers much anguish and distress. I first noticed a golf ball size bald patch on the back of my otherwise thick hair when I was about 17. The doctor said it was stress related and gave me some cortisone shots in the area. A couple months later, the hair grew back in quickly.
I wish that was the end of the story. In retrospect, I was lucky. Many people with alopecia areata lose all their hair all over their body. I just had one bald spot and it grew back. A year or two later, I got another spot and then a couple other smaller ones. Back to the dermatologist for shots. However, this time the hair started to take some time to grow back. In my twenties, I got new bald spots in different areas just about every year. I had odd thin patches that came and went as well. Sometimes the spots would not fill back in after the cortisone shots. My last dermatologist wanted to take a biopsy but I refused. I had every blood test imaginable taken.
Everytime I went to a new barber, he/she would remark that the last barber butchered my hair. “No, ” I would sigh, “that’s how it grows.” I started to go to one barber who specialized in cutting the thicker areas shorter than the others.
I also suffered from canker sores pretty regularly. I was heavily involved in martial arts and whenever I recieved a cut inside my mouth, I’d get a painful canker for about 10 days.
When I had my last bout about 4 years ago, I broke down and bought a product to hide the spots. It was a black powder that worked pretty well except it would rub off on anything I happen to brush my head against, like a head rest or pillow. However, this product, Dermatch from Dermatch Inc. was a life saver.
Believe me when I tried almost everything — i tried chili peppers, topical steroid gels–I can’t even remember everything, but if it’s out there, I’m sure I tried it.
But something did work — for me. I completely cut gluten out of my diet. Yes..no bread, no pasta, no Pizza! It’s one of the hardest things I had to do, but it seems to be working. 4 years and not one bald spot. All the thin spots filled in (which never happened for over 20 years). My better half says my hair is like a ‘carpet’.
And guess what? I never get canker sores either.
There is one more thing I added, which I feel is related. I started taking a Fish Oil supplement morning and evening religiously exactly when I stopped the gluten.
This is the one I take:
I know this is not scientific, since I did both things at the same time. But I’m not willing to test stopping the fish oil to know for sure. In my mind, if you suffer from this problem, try the gluten-free diet and the fish oil together. An added benefit is that the fish oil helped improve my lipid profile immensely. I’ll go over that detail in a future post.
Let me know what you think.