Ask Leyla: Could my recent move be causing my hair loss and chest congestion?

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| By Leyla Muedin MS, RD, CDN

Q: I recently moved to California from New Jersey about 2 months ago. Since this move I’ve been experiencing hair loss, dry skin and chest congestion. The chest congestion is persistent. I saw a doctor who told me that I don’t have asthma and prescribed a homeopathic expectorant. Otherwise, I don’t feel ill. I’m female, 44 years old, and exercise regularly, but I have been under a great deal of stress with this move and new job.

Ask Leyla: Could my recent move be causing my hair loss and chest congestion?A: It is not uncommon for symptoms and conditions to show up with big life changes such as moving to a new area or starting a new job. These antecedent events, stressful as they are, can be a catalyst for the development of metabolic abnormalities or even full blown medical conditions.

Nutrient deficiencies may be the culprit of your symptoms. Deficiencies in essential fatty acids can cause very dry skin, and anemia or low ferritin levels can cause hair loss. Stress in itself is known to cause hair loss.

Dry skin and shedding hair are classic symptoms of hypothyroidism. Be sure to have your doctor check your thyroid. Ideally, thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) should be between 1.0 – 2.0. But a full thyroid panel will reveal if thyroid hormones are low or if conversion of T4 to T3 is sluggish.

Additionally, checking for anti-thyroid antibodies will rule out Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (autoimmune). This condition can ultimately be managed with medical nutrition therapy but may require thyroid replacement for a period of time.

If you have any food allergies, it is best to eliminate those foods because they can aggravate symptoms. Eat a clean diet consisting of high biological value (HBV) protein such as grass-fed meats, poultry, fish, and eggs, plenty of fresh organic vegetables, low-glycemic fruits, and nuts and seeds.

I would encourage you to seek out a qualified nutritionist or a nutritionally oriented physician for a full workup to uncover the cause(s) of your complaints. Indeed, this is a tenet of Intelligent Medicine.

A part of your treatment plan will likely include some adjunctive supplements. A good multi-vitamin and mineral supplement along with some targeted nutrients for hair and skin such as biotin, biosil, borage oil, fish oil, zinc, vitamin C and saw palmetto, would be appropriate.

For chest congestion and allergies, I would recommend N-acetyl-cysteine and D-Hist.

To your health!
As you may know, I’ve been doing a weekly “Q&A with Leyla” podcast feature with Dr. Hoffman. Now you can get my perspective and expertise every Friday on my own episode of the Intelligent Medicine Podcast. If you missed last week’s, you can listen here. To be sure you don’t miss out on any of my important insights and information, subscribe today!

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