Vitamin D and Hair Loss/Soy Foods and Cancer/Aluminium and Autism

Vitamin D and Hair Loss

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Aside from its role in regulating calcium levels, vitamin D is also known to modulate the immune system, and is involved in skin homeostasis. These effects are a result of actions on the vitamin D receptor (VDR), which is also crucial for hair follicle integrity, and is required for normal hair follicle cycling. If this receptor is deficient it can disturb the normal postnatal hair follicle cycle. This was demonstrated in a study that showed patients with vitamin D-dependent rickets develop alopecia (hair loss) between 1–3 months of age.

Medically speaking, there are two types of hair loss: scarring alopecia and non-scarring alopecia. Scarring alopecia is usually caused by inflammation that results in destruction of the hair follicle, leading to irreversible hair loss.  Causes include fungal infection, chemicals such as hair relaxers, mechanical traction, and inflammatory disorders.

Non-scarring alopecia is more common than scarring alopecias, and includes male and female hormonal-related hair loss (also known as androgenetic alopecia), alopecia areata (autoimmune-induced total body hair loss), telogen effluvium (stress-induced hair loss), as well as other less common conditions. Sometimes thyroid disease and lupus can lead to non-scarring hair loss, and it can also occur with natural aging (senescent alopecia).

Since any disturbances in the hair follicle cycle may lead to hair loss, and given the importance of vitamin D to the immune system and the follicle cycle, it is not surprising that the role of vitamin D in alopecia has been investigated in many studies. The one referred to below took an overview of these many studies.

“This paper presents a review of current literature considering the role of vitamin D in alopecia areata, telogen effluvium, and female pattern hair loss. The majority of studies revealed decreased serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in patients with different types of non-scarring alopecia, which could suggest its potential role in the pathogenesis of hair loss. According to the authors, vitamin D supplementation could be a therapeutic option for patients with alopecia areata, female pattern hair loss, or telogen effluvium.”   (Study)

This overview did not examine vitamin D deficiency and male pattern baldness, though it did confirm the link to men with alopecia areata, and telogen effluvium.

For women experiencing post-menopausal (or hormone-related) hair loss, I have found that there are two supplements that can be of benefit: a prostate formula containing plant sterols and saw palmetto (such as Natural Factors Ultimate Prostate formula), and high levels of biotin (5,000 mcg). I like to point out that any of the substances in such a prostate formula can also be found in formulas suitable for women to take (such as plant sterols in cholesterol-lowering formulas, and saw palmetto in menopause formulas). And biotin also supports skin and nails (and may possibly help regulate blood sugar levels). This approach is also helpful for men experiencing male pattern baldness (which is hormone related).

Finally, I will usually also suggest that anyone experiencing hair loss take a silica supplement (such as NutriStart’s Bamboo Silica) as, even though it will not prevent hair loss, it will make the hair that remains thicker and stronger.

SOY FOODS AND CANCER

For years I have been one of the few voices in the Natural Healing field arguing in favor of soy foods being part of a healthy diet (for those not allergic to them), given that they are made from organic soybeans. Below are a few examples of scientific support for this idea.

Most of the benefits of soy are derived from the presence of antioxidant plant compounds known as isoflavones.  Many isoflavones act as phytoestrogens (plant components that have estrogenic effects), and many studies have shown phytoestrogens to have cancer fighting qualities. Isoflavones are found almost exclusively in the bean (Fabaceae/Leguminosae) family, and are the highest in soy beans.

Lung Cancer Survival in Women                                                                                                                These researchers already had “recently reported an inverse association between soy food intake and lung cancer risk among nonsmoking women.”  They then hypothesized that soy consumption may favorably affect the overall survival of patients with lung cancer.  So, they did a study on 444 women with lung cancer, derived from the Shanghai Women’s Health Study. “Prediagnosis soy food intake was assessed at enrollment and reassessed 2 years later…This study suggests that, among women with lung cancer, prediagnosis intake of soy food is associated with better overall survival.”  (Study)

In another study, researchers examined 611 healthy females, and 683 diagnosed with breast cancer. They gathered information on their eating habits via a food frequency questionnaire, which measured isoflavones dietary (but not supplemental) intake. They discovered that the women who consumed the most isoflavones (mostly derived from soy foods) were about 30% less likely to develop an invasive breast tumor than those with very low consumption. The highest isoflavone consumers showed a 70% lower risk of developing a tumor bigger than 2cm, and a 60% lower risk of developing Stage 2 breast cancer. “The lower risks listed above were only observed among the premenopausal women; not the postmenopausal ones.”   (Study)

Prostate Cancer and Isoflavones                                                                                                                  One thing that has become apparent over time is that most things that contribute to breast cancer also contribute to prostate cancer. Conversely, most things that help prevent breast cancer also help prevent prostate cancer. I found a systemic overview of studies that sought to find out if isoflavones were protective against the development of prostate cancer (PCa). Data were obtained primarily from PubMed and Embase, cover the period from 1975 to 2015, and in the majority of the subjects their isoflavone intake was derived from soy foods.

The review concluded that, “prostate tissue may concentrate isoflavones to potentially anti-carcinogenic levels. In addition, it is noteworthy that isoflavones may act as an agonist in PCa… Isoflavones play a protective role against the development of PCa.”    (Study)

Even though I’m sure the subjects in these studies did not ensure that the soy foods they consumed were organic, you should. Non-organic soybeans are commonly genetically engineered, being designed to take large amounts of the herbicide Round Up (glycophosphate), and even non-GMO soybeans will still contain glycophosphate residues. This is a highly dangerous compound that is wreaking havoc on human bodies, and the ecosystem.

ALUMINUM AND AUTISM

Aluminum’s toxicity to the brain and nervous system has been well documented, and its link to Alzheimer’s disease, while publicly disputed by pseudo-scientists, has also been well-established.   (Study)

Aluminum, when absorbed into the body, damages the blood brain barrier, activates brain inflammation, and suppresses mitochondria function (which generates energy for cells, and regulates cellular metabolism). Human exposure to aluminum has also been linked (if tentatively) to autism spectrum disorder. In this study, researchers used a novel approach “to measure, for the first time, the aluminum content of brain tissue from donors with a diagnosis of autism.”

The aluminum content of brain tissue in autism was consistently high, in fact they commented that: “These are some of the highest values for aluminium in human brain tissue yet recorded and one has to question why, for example, the aluminium content of the occipital lobe of a 15 year old boy would be so high.”   (Source)

In a previous newsletter I discussed a study that showed drinking mineral water high in a form of silica known as silicic acid could actually pull aluminum out of the brain and body. Here is another clinical study that confirms that thesis.

“We have shown that drinking up to 1 L of a silicon-rich mineral water each day for 12 weeks facilitated the removal of aluminum via the urine in both patient and control groups without any concomitant affect upon the urinary excretion of the essential metals, iron and copper. We have provided preliminary evidence that over 12 weeks of silicon-rich mineral water therapy the body burden of aluminum fell in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and, concomitantly, cognitive performance showed clinically relevant improvements in at least 3 out of 15 individuals.”  (Study)

There are 3 mineral waters recommended by alternative health practitioners that are high in silicic acid: Spritzer, Volvic, and Fiji. One can also purchase “Silicea Colloidal Gel” which is a liquid supplement that contains silica in the form of silicic acid. This can be added to your drinking water (ideally purified or spring water) to make your own high silica water.

One other protocol for removing aluminum (varying from the 1 liter per day for 12 weeks used in the study above) is to consume 1.5 liters of such waters daily for 5 days, ideally drinking the entire amount within one hour. For severe aluminum toxicity one would take more water and for a longer duration. For more information on this protocol follow this link.

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