Trichotillomania is a type of compulsive behaviour that is characterised by the overwhelming urge to pull out one’s own hair, particularly from the scalp, eyelashes and eyebrows. There is still much to be discovered about this condition, however the latest research shows that there is a link between food allergies/intolerances and hair pulling.
Most people would never suspect food to affect compulsive hair pulling, let alone cause it. But a number of scientific studies have shown that it may very well be a cause or at the very least, a contributing factor. 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 are 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 are suffering from trichotillomania then it may be worthwhile to contact your GP for a food sensitivity test to determine whether or not a food allergy is the culprit behind your hair pulling urges.
For information on hair loss solutions for trichotillomania, get in touch with Transitions Hair today. We have a wide range of hair loss solutions to suit every need. Call us today on 1300 427 778 to arrange your free, confidential consultation (valued at $250.00) with one of our hair loss specialists.