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Keep your hair where it belongs with these good-for-you solutions.
It's normal to lose up to 100 hairs daily, so don't panic if you spy a few strays on your shower or bathroom floor, says Naila Malik, MD, a cosmetic and anti-aging medicine specialist in Southlake, Texas. But periods of high stress (the death of a loved one, a major breakup) or hormonal changes (you change your use of the pill or have a baby) can increase the damage. "These situations cause the adrenal glands to produce too much cortisol and androgens, causing hair to have a shorter life cycle," notes trichologist Philip Kingsley, PhD, founder of the Philip Kingsley Hair Institute in New York City. As stress or hormone levels come back into balance, hair loss will naturally subside. (See your doctor to rule out issues such as thyroid or low iron-level conditions.) For faster results, try these tricks from Kingsley:
Hit the gym regularly. Frequent workouts (anything that gets your heart pumping) reduce stress.
Eat two daily servings of protein. "It's the building block of hair," says Kingsley, who suggests lean red meats, egg whites, cottage cheese, and tofu.
Take a multivitamin. It should meet 100 percent of the daily values of the following pro-hair growth nutrients: iron, B1, B2, B6, B12, pantothenic acid, and folic acid. Your doctor may also suggest a gelatin supplement (1,300 milligrams or more), which serves as another great protein source.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, April 2009.