For over 36 years, I've been told there is no cure for alopecia areata, an autoimmune condition that causes a person to lose their hair. Like anyone with a chronic condition, I’ve always found that frustrating to hear.
I’ve had alopecia areata since I was 8 years old, so I know the many challenges one faces with a chronic condition, especially living in a world that judges us by our appearance.
Symptoms of alopecia areata can range from small patches on the scalp to complete hair loss all over the body. I’ve known the pain and heartache of having a needle injected into my scalp and to have the non-treated area grow back first. I’ve endured the many years of being told by doctors, "we’re getting closer to an answer and a cure."
I’ve experienced the fear and the fragile hope of not wanting to lose all of my hair. Despite living most of my life in various stages of hair loss (and for the last 11 years, no hair at all), I’ve always believed that somehow I’d figure out what my own body needed to re-grow my hair and more importantly to heal my body.
Several years ago I took my passion for food and health to a new level and became a certified holistic health coach. I was taught by some of the best functional medicine doctors in the world. I began to see the powerful connection between the direct, and sometimes immediate, impact of food and the incredible ability of our bodies to heal themselves.
This newfound knowledge also began to shed some light on the impact my own diet and lifestyle has had on my health, including having alopecia areata, a digestive disorder (leaky gut syndrome) and hypothyroid.
It is very possible to heal, even life long conditions. I now know that to be true. For the last several years I’ve made many changes in my diet. I am beyond thrilled that after making those numerous changes – my hair is coming back (and I’ve healed my digestion and my thyroid is almost back to normal).
After 11 years of absolutely no hair growth, the hair on my head, my legs, my armpits and even my eyebrows are growing!
Having any autoimmune disease is a sign that our immune system is damaged and is in need of healing. While losing hair, thankfully, isn’t fatal, it is a sign of a much deeper issue going on inside our body.
This is true for not only alopecia areata but all other autoimmune diseases as well (MS, Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, celiac disease, and many others). The common trait found in all autoimmune diseases is internal inflammation, and food has the ability to support the body’s natural healing system.
We can reduce the inflammation and support our body functioning at its optimum level of health, simply by changing our diet. There are certain foods that are naturally anti-inflammatory and other foods that exacerbate the inflammation. Our body can use its natural healing abilities to begin repairing the damage when we remove the triggers and fill up with nutrient dense, whole natural foods.
In addition to nutrition and a nurturing lifestyle being vitally important in healing any autoimmune disease, our attitude and outlook on life is also a critical piece to healing our body. Minimizing negative self-talk, believing that healing is possible and filling ones life with positive thoughts and actions can provide a path of vitality, longevity and great health.
Ready to learn how to fight inflammation and address autoimmune disease through the power of food? Join our 5-Day Inflammation Video Summit with mindbodygreen’s top doctors.