So interestingly, after my last blog post – Does low carb dieting making your hair fall out? – all over the news in the same week, there was this confession from workout queen Kayla Itsines:-
“My natural hair is actually super short. I have genetically really thin hair,” she wrote, adding that her grandmother and her mom have thin hair as well, and that there is a family history of female pattern baldness. “I can see my hair getting thinner and thinner the older I get.” See articles below.
And in most of these similar stories, the reason given for it is Female Pattern Baldness that runs in her family. The message of being happy and proud no matter what your issue is commendable. (I learned long ago that worrying what other people think is a waste of a happy life.)
So far so good.
However then in another two articles, there is a mention of hypothyroidism….
‘A couple of years ago I started losing a lot of hair to the point my hair was noticeably thinning and my pony tail was half as thick as my pinky finger. I found out it was related to hypothyroidism and iron deficiency anaemia. I worked on getting those under control while also using Rogaine for women and taking hair, skin and nails vitamins (rich in Biotin, vitamin E, etc).
‘Thankfully, for me this all helped my hair get thicker again (although it’s always been thin, at least now my ponytail is about the thickness of my thumb!). Ladies, please talk to your doctors if you feel your hair loss is significant because it could be an indication of a multitude of life threatening health issues!…”
So the fact that she managed to get her hair to regrow again, may indicate that it wasn’t all about the heredity issue, it may have been something in her lifestyle.
As I am learning more about hypothyroidism because I have it, some of the most common causes of it are:
- – high level stress
- – over exercising
- – not enough calories in the diet
- – lack of adequate sugars in the diet
- – lack of adequate carbs in the diet
- – too many polyunsaturated fats in the diet
And given the popularity of vegetable oils, fish oils, low carb, low/no sugar diets, our frantic lifestyles and extreme fitness over the past 5 years or so, the USA are currently in the midst of a hypothyroid epidemic, mainly affecting women, which is also now filtering through to Australia.
Your body doesn’t lie; symptoms like this are just signs of potentially worse effects happening inside your body like low immunity and other hormones going haywire and for some, it can mean permanent damage. Also just because someone may look good and appear fit, doesn’t actually mean they are healthy at all.
Kayla also had previously shown and explained to her army that she had stretch marks. The main message was that she was not ashamed of them as most of us have them.
True and true however on her blog under ‘what causes stretchmarks?’, she goes on to say something about rapid weight gain. Has she had any rapid weight gain in her life? Unfortunately she may be missing the key point here:
“Stretch marks are a symptom of zinc deficiency.”
“Good nutrition keeps skin elastic and firm. While poor nutrition leads to the premature breakdown of skin and loss of elasticity. It turns out that if nutritional deficiencies are severe enough, both stretch marks and cellulite can occur at any age.”
So from all of the above, can we say the heavy load of exercise and the diet in the BBG programs, are causing her severe stress and nutritional deficiencies to cause hypothyroidism, anaemia, loss of hair and skin issues?
Well I don’t know for sure in her case (it certainly did for me – with my own low carb diet) but I shudder to think what will happen over the next few years to the millions of young girls she is influencing.
In both her posts about her hair and stretch marks there were hundreds of others saying they are experiencing the same thing – all while following her program presumably?
Trying to attain the ‘perfect body’ or an extreme level of fitness should never come at the expense of your health. The crazy part is that I think she genuinely believes her programs are health promoting, unfortunately her own body is telling the real story.
I mentioned to a fellow Ray Peat follower on Instagram recently that many of us who follow Ray are diet and exercise survivors. Those who for years have tried the low carb/keto, paleo, low calorie, lots of exercise route, only to see a short term initial improvement and long term decline in health and weight piling back on.
My message is this – listen to your body and watch out for symptoms of hypothyroidism like low body temperature, low heart rate, feeling cold all the time, fatigue, hair loss etc, don’t just power through your workouts because you think you should. Extreme fitness and health are not necessarily the same thing, and when your body is falling apart, that’s certainly not healthy.