If you’ve ever experienced hair loss, you know firsthand how stressful it can be. Maybe you’ve noticed a receding hairline or excessive shedding in your hair brush or the shower - either way, it’s always alarming and a chance to listen to the signals your body is trying to convey.
By the age of 35, 40% of men start experiencing visible hair loss, with more than half of women experiencing hair loss by age 70. 
This leaves many of us scrambling for solutions, from medicated shampoos, to hair implants and many other expensive hair care products or medications - all of which can be very pricy and miss the mark when it comes to the root causes of hair loss.
What are some of the causes of hair loss in men and women?
While some hair loss and is normal with aging, other imbalances can cause excessive shedding and thinning hair, including stress, thyroid health, and nutrient deficiencies.
Chronic stress is pretty much a worldwide pandemic at this point, so it’s no wonder so many of us are losing our luscious locks, and of course, it doesn’t help that stressing about hair loss can make it worse! But what about thyroid health?
It’s estimated that around 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease, with a whopping 60% unaware of their condition. 
Let’s take a closer look at the role stress and thyroid function play in hair health and how Ashwagandha can help, shall we?
Stress & hair health
Isn’t it ironic that stressing about hair loss can make it worse? Or how about stressing about stressing about hair loss? Yikes!
There are two main types of hair loss associated with stress:
- Telogen effluvium
When under severe stress, the body pushes large numbers of hair follicles that were in their growing phase, known as anagen, to suddenly enter into a resting phase, i.e., telogen.
Over the next few weeks or months, these hairs in the affected follicles fall out, usually in your brush or the shower. 
- Alopecia areata
While a variety of factors may cause alopecia areata, one of these is stress. Unlike telogen effluvium, alopecia is autoimmune in nature. This means that the body’s own immune system attacks the hair follicles, causing hair to fall out, often in patches. 
Meet Ashwagandha… The ultimate de-stressor!
Ashwagandha (Also known as Indian Ginseng or Withania somnifera) is one of the most commonly used herbs in Ayurvedic medicine, famously known for its adaptogenic properties, meaning it helps the body cope better with stress while promoting calm and relaxation. It’s thought to do this by regulating the hypothalimic-pituitry-adrenal axis, which involves a series of chemical messages that occur when you’re under stress or sense a threat, one of which involves the release of the stress hormone known as cortisol.
Ashwagandha has been utilized for this benefit for thousands of years, but we now have actual scientific research showing its beneficial effects on cortisol, symptoms of anxiety, stress levels, and even sleep - check it out.
For example, one randomized controlled trial found that eight weeks of Ashwagandha root extract supplementation significantly reduced cortisol levels and all other stress level assessment scales - not to mention higher quality sleep! 
Another randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial found that taking just 240 mg of Ashwagandha extract daily for 60 days significantly decreased anxiety symptoms and lowered stress hormone levels including morning cortisol and DHEA. 
A meta-analysis of multiple randomized controlled trials concluded the same results - Ashwagandha root supplement consistently reduces stress and anxiety significantly compared to the placebo, making it the perfect supplement for stress induced hair loss! 
Thyroid function & hair health
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that is an essential part of the endocrine system. It produces hormones that regulate many critical processes and functions, including:
Metabolism, heart rate, digestion, energy levels, tolerance to cold, skin & healthy hair growth, mental functioning, mood, and weight.
Thyroid issues come in all shapes and sizes, but the one usually linked to hair loss/thinning is known as hypothyroidism, i.e., low thyroid function.
Hypothyroidism is the most common type of thyroid condition, and it means your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones.
The main symptoms usually include fatigue, constipation, dry skin, weight gain… And you guessed it, hair loss/shedding and hair thinning!
Here’s where Ashwagandha comes in.
Ashwagandha may be an ancient remedy in Ayurvedic medicine but modern-day science is backing up its benefits with amazing new research. One of these researched benefits is its ability to support low thyroid function.
Interestingly, it’s thought that poor thyroid function is linked to chronic stress, demonstrating how everything is in intricately connected within the endocrine system.
High cortisol can reduce the conversion of T4 into the active form of thyroid hormone known as T3, elevating reverse T3, which is inactive, contributing to suboptimal thyroid function.
Stress has even been suggested as one of the environmental factors contributing to thyroid autoimmunity. 
It’s thought that ashwagandha’s stress-lowering effects may also be responsible for its thyroid health benefits, take a look:
An 8-week study on participants with hypothyroidism found that taking 600 mg of ashwagandha root extract daily led to significant improvements in thyroid levels compared to taking a placebo.
Those in the treatment group showed significant increases in T3 and T4 levels, with TSH levels decreasing by 17.5%. 
Some other tips for supporting thyroid function include:
- Ensure your Selenium intake is adequate (2 brazil nuts a day is all it takes!)
- Get enough Zinc, Iodine, Iron and Vitamin D3 on a daily basis
- Take care of your gut health with prebiotic fiber and probiotics
- Prioritize your sleep
N.B: Just a quick reminder that you should always work alongside your primary healthcare provider if you struggle with a thyroid condition!
What does the research say about ashwagandha for hair growth?
While studies are limited that directly examine Ashwagandha for hair growth and hair strength, a prospective, single-blind study that took place over the course of 6 months found that men and women who took a supplement containing an Ashwagandha extract to prevent hair loss saw significant improvements in:
- Hair volume & fullness
- Scalp hair coverage
- Hair appearance & quality
- Reduced hair shedding/hair thinning
What is the best way to take Ashwagandha for hair growth?
The best way to take Ashwagandha is by consuming an extract derived from the plant's root, not the leaf. Ashwagandha root contains the special bioactive constituents of Ashwagandha known as withanolides in the right quantities for optimal results.
To ensure safety and quality, it’s always best to get a dietary supplement that is produced in the USA and is third-party tested.
Our Ashwagandha Root: 1300mg and Ashwagandha Root: 1950mg capsules provide an optimal dose of 100% organic Ashwagandha, which has been standardized to ensure it contains the perfect, safe amount of bioactive withanolides.
At NutriRise, we’ve also taken it a step further by formulating our premium Ashwagandha capsules with 15mg of black pepper extract per serving - a well-researched bioenhancer shown to support absorption and bioavailability so that you get the most out of this incredible ancient herb!
Looking for a delicious alternative? We’ve got you covered with the yummiest Ashwagandha + gummies. Not only do they provide ashwagandha benefits for hair but they also provide a healthy dose of Zinc and Vitamin D, both of which have also been shown to support hair health!
Here are a few extra healthy hair care tips before you go!
Maintaining healthy hair usually involves two main steps, stimulating growth and supporting the health of your current hair.
Here are some additional tips to give your locks some love:
- Avoid using heat on your whenever possible
- Massage your scalp to promote blood flow
- Increase your protein/amino acid intake
- Try a collagen supplement
- Eat a nutrient-dense diet rich in healthy fats like omega 3
- Exercising regulary promotes scalp circulation
- Practice yogic headstands (if you can!)
- Get your hair trimmed regularly to avoid split ends and breakage
- Use natural hair care products
Note: This article is for informational purposes only and not intended for use as medical advice. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting any dietary supplement.