Trichotillomania is a type of compulsive behaviour that is characterised by the overwhelming urge for someone to pull out their own hair, particularly from the scalp, eyelashes and eyebrows. There is still much to be discovered about his condition, however the latest research shows that there is a link between food allergies/intolerances and hair pulling.
Most people would never suspect that food could not only affect, but may even be the cause of why some people suffer from trichotillomania. While relatively new research, there is good evidence suggesting that what we eat can dramatically alter our neurotransmitter balance, in particular, our levels of serotonin. Serotonin is a vital neurotransmitter that has the ability to affect sleep, mood, cravings, as well as an array of other functions – including the hair pulling urge associated with trichotillomania.
‘Looking at someone’s diet can provide major insights into eliminating the urge to pull.’
It is estimated that around 95% of the serotonin in our body is stored in the gastrointestinal tract; which means gastrointestinal function is essential for maintaining an appropriate neurotransmitter balance. In fact, many studies support the idea that intestinal permeability and enzyme deficiencies are found in people who have been diagnosed with depression – a mental illness that is caused by an imbalance of serotonin and dopamine. Further supporting this is reports that depression is a very common symptom associated with celiac disease – the severe intolerance of gluten.
Gluten Intolerance may be the cause of Trichotillomania
The following is an excerpt taken from the article Gluten Free Choice Consulting by Wendy L Cohan, RN, November, 2010:
“Gluten sensitivity can lead to neurological and mental health effects in various ways, including: Triggering inflammatory autoimmune responses throughout the nervous system; Producing narcotizing effects on the brain; Inducing changes in brain perfusion, or blood flow; And, through celiac disease, causing the malabsorption of key nutrients necessary for optimum neurological and mental health. We know that certain foods, including gluten, can trigger neurological and behavioural symptoms. People can change their diets and overcome previous behavioural patterns to live healthy, productive lives.”
If you a suffering from trichotillomania then it may be worthwhile contacting your GP for a food sensitivity test to determine whether or not a food allergy is the culprit behind your hair pulling urges.
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