Viviscal: The Answer to Your “Hair”-lift

If you’re still worried about thinning hair, listen up- today we’re talking about Viviscal. This is an all-natural supplement to renew and restore thinning or processed hair. Depending on what your concerns are, you will select from two different options, the Viviscal “Hair Repair” system, or the Viviscal “Extra-Strength” system. Both of these options contain ingredients like biotin (a B vitamin known to help hair and nail growth), Selenium, and Folic Acid. Viviscal also contains a specific complex called “AminoMar C” that was formulated as a protein that helps provide strength to the base of the hair and reduce shedding.  Once you have identified the system that’s right for you, you can begin taking the supplement. For the Hair Repair System you take one tablet daily with food.  The Extra Strength system is two tablets daily (morning and night), also with food. Initially, the hardest thing is remembering to take the pill, especially if you do not take medications on a regular basis.

We had two groups try the system (mostly women), and here is the breakdown:

Hair Repair System: This group felt that their hair needed revitalization after significant heat styling, color processing, highlighting, etc. Within two weeks many of these women felt they had less breakage and by one month most reported some sensation of increased volume and thickness of their hair.

Extra Strength System: This group felt that they had generally thinning hair, or were concerned about hair loss in specific areas of their scalp. Each person that tried this system felt that they had visibly thicker hair by the end of the month.  A few also noticed their hair grew faster than normal. They also noted stronger and quicker nail growth. More people in this group, however, did mention that they felt their hair was slightly oilier than it had been before, but they did not feel this would keep them from using the supplement again. This group also mentioned that taking the pill twice a day was sometimes difficult to remember. Overall, both groups were pleased with the results.

Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a relatively easy, painless way to restore the health of your hair, Viviscal is a great option. It has been proven to show a positive difference in a few studies (you can check out their website for more detail on the methods of the studies- but these were done by the company, so keep that in mind) where it was tested. Many of the ingredients in Viviscal are natural vitamins and minerals that many of us lack, so you don’t need to worry about taking something with a large amount of chemicals and preservatives. For a one month supply the cost is about $100 for the Extra Strength, and $30 for the Hair Repair System. If you are considering trying Viviscal, bring the supplement to your personal physician before you start so he/she can make sure none of the ingredients interact with your current medications.  If your hair is thinning, fragile, or extremely processed, Viviscal is an all natural option you may want to consider.

Hair Loss: Need a Hairy Godmother?

Although our good friend Charlie Sheen wants us all to be “Winning!?” you may not be the only one looking in the mirror thinking “Thinning?” instead.  Hair loss is a common and often very embarrassing problem among women of all ages. There are several reasons you could be losing your hair, some normal and some that may need medical attention.

Most men and women can shed up to 100 hairs per day. The life cycle of hair consists of three different phases: Anagen: This is the growth phase of the hair cycle, and hair spends the largest amount of time in this portion of the cycle. This phase may last anywhere from one month to several years. Catagen: This phase lasts approximately two weeks. During this time, the hair shaft prepares for the final stages of the cycle, or the period where the hair will enter resting phase. Telogen: This is the final stage of the hair cycle. Typically, about 10-15% of your hair will be in telogen at any given time and this usually lasts for about six weeks, but can last for up to four months.  At the end of telogen new hair will push out older hair and force it to shed if it has not done so already. These three phases repeat continuously throughout each new cycle. Sections of hair are at different stages of the hair cycle; this keeps you from shedding all your hair at once (although Natalie Portman looked lovely in V for Vendetta, many of us would be feeling more B for Bald if this happened!)

These are some common causes of hair loss:

Androgen Related Hair Loss: This type of hair loss is common in men and women. While men typically see hair loss in the front and temporal parts of the scalp, women often complain of generalized thinning, especially on top of the head and near the crown. This can occur because of imbalances in various hormones in the body, such as estrogen and testosterone. In some cases, this type of hair loss can be corrected by shifting your hormones to help get your body back into balance. Treatments like Minoxidil/Rogaine are available over the counter, but make sure to speak with a physician before starting this. Often times an underlying cause can be treated and eliminate the need to use medication.

Stress Related Hair Loss: This one is common, and applies to many of you. During stressful periods in life (grief, pregnancy….taxes- Wesley Snipes must be bald!) a larger than normal amount of hairs enter the telogen or resting phase. The hair may be in this phase for a prolonged period of time and generally three or four months after the stressful event the hair sheds. Since more follicles were in the telogen phase, a larger amount of hairs will shed before the cycle starts over and begins at the anagen, or growth phase. This is generally referred to as telogen effluvium.

Hair loss after pregnancy follows a similar principle. Women typically see the largest amount of loss around three months postpartum. During pregnancy, a rise in hormones prevents hair from shedding as quickly, and causes a larger amount of your hair to accelerate to telogen phase. After delivery, the body may take up to three or four months before recuperating from this “stress” and at this point hairs that were resting are shed to make way for new hair to grow and begin the cycle again. This is why you may feel like you’ve had a significant amount of hair loss after pregnancy, but in reality it’s more likely to be a shift in the cycle time. Within four months most women notice hair growth returns to normal.

Other causes of this can include infection, surgery, and thyroid dysfunction. It’s important to speak with your doctor because you may require further evaluation and blood testing to help your hair loss.

Alopecia Areata: This describes hair loss that usually occurs when a small area of hair on the scalp has complete hair loss. Generally this is localized to one or two patches, however it may affect the entire scalp or body. This is believed to occur because of an immune response that causes destruction of the hair shaft and alters the integrity of the hair, leading to loss of hair in an entire area of the scalp. Often times, hair will grow back within six months. In many cases, however, an injection of steroids into the area will help treat the lesion and accelerate hair growth.

Other Causes of Hair loss: If you are noticing that your hair is breaking towards the scalp or after you wear it in a pony-tail, you hair loss may be the result of excessive styling, color treatment, or pressure on the hair. Chemical dyes, highlights, and bleaching often contribute to increased breakage and women may feel they are losing their hair. Speak to your doctor or hair stylist if you color or process your hair often. Although it’s tempting to always toss our hair up into a ponytail, constant traction on the hair may contribute to breakage and weakness. You can avoid this by letting your hair dry naturally and leaving it down a few times per week.

Healthy hair usually signifies a healthy lifestyle. If you’re suffering from thinning, breakage, or bald patches you should speak to your doctor. Hair loss could be the first sign that something more serious or an underlying disease process is going untreated in your body. A health professional can provide you with a thorough evaluation of your health through a history, blood work, and analysis of your diet and lifestyle. Don’t wait!

Check out tomorrow’s review for a great supplement to help with hair growth!

The Mediterranean Diet: Go Greek or Go Home?

If you’re like most people, you’ve vowed to make changes to your diet every New Year, and every birthday- but usually forget about it quicker than you can fast forward the commercials on the latest Modern Family episode (we just can’t get enough of Manny!)

The Mediterranean Diet has been praised for years by the medical community, but what is it really all about? We’ll break it down for you.  The first thing to understand is that this isn’t a fad diet. You won’t need to put a feeding tube down your nose or throat for this (I hope you pretend you never heard of that ridiculous diet scheme with the tube!).

The principles behind the Mediterranean Diet aim to help you alter your lifestyle and consume protein, lean fats, fresh fruits and vegetables, and foods rich in antioxidants.  Just like any change in lifestyle, it’s important to ease into it. If you are eating a ton of processed foods, you may want to make these changes over a few days to weeks. Remember that everyone’s body is different.

Researchers first shed light on the Mediterranean lifestyle after noticing that people from Greece, Spain, Italy and surrounding regions had reduced incidences of cardiac related deaths when adhering to this diet.  After numerous studies linked this lifestyle to a reduction in cardiac mortality, these principles became popularly known as “The Mediterranean Diet”.

There are a few basic concepts the diet suggests. Consider adapting as many as possible into your new lifestyle.

  • Fresh vegetables and fruits should be dominating most of your meals. If your idea of salad is the lettuce on your burger, you’re in for a big surprise! Fruits and vegetables not only contain fiber and vital nutrients, they will help you feel full during your meals and help you consume fewer preservatives and chemicals.
  • Olive oil can be used as a healthy fat in your diet. The idea is to consume more “good fats” and eliminate trans fats and saturated fats (these are typically to blame when it comes to heart disease and obesity).  Whether you are eating at Mario Batali’s newest restaurant or Sbarro at the airport, olive oil is everywhere. Rather than using butter or corn oil consider making olive oil your primary source of fat because it contains unsaturated fats that protect the body.
  • Choose fish and lean meats rather than red meat.  Whenever possible, first consider plant based foods rather than animal products. When choosing meat and protein, aim to eat fish and poultry rather than red meat.  Limit your intake of red meat to twice a month, and aim to eat fish or poultry at least twice per week. Fish is a great source of omega-3-fatty acid’s, which are essential for brain development and heart health (especially in women!).
  • Minimize salt. This seems like an obvious one, but it’s not just the salt you put on your food. Several packaged meals may claim to be healthy or low in calories but are actually very high in sodium. Eliminating salt and replacing it with spices and the natural flavors found in fresh ingredients can help you decrease your blood pressure and eliminate bloating.
  • Limit your dairy intake. This is important because dairy can be linked to inflammation and significant gastrointestinal problems. Consider eating small amounts of yogurt and low fat cheese (particularly feta or goat rather than cheese from cow’s milk as this can be very harsh on the digestive system). If you love to drink milk, choose a skim or low-fat option.
  • Consider a glass of red wine daily. Wine contains antioxidants that have numerous health benefits. Several studies have shown the cardio-protective effects of red wine and some even suggest that drinking a small glass of wine with meals may help avoid overeating.

The Bottom Line: Consuming foods based on the Mediterranean Diet can be difficult for many, but well worth the benefits. For those who tried this change, the biggest initial challenge was changing habits rather than finding foods to fit this diet. In reality, these types of foods are all around us, but it’s a matter of picking them over a more convenient but also more processed option.  For those with cardiac risk factors or elevated cholesterol, you’re likely to see a decrease in your cholesterol after a few months if you can stick with it. Additionally, many people noticed a brighter complexion, and increased energy even by changing their diet to incorporate only one or two of these dietary concepts.  There are several recipes that incorporate this diet and lifestyle. Consider getting a book of them or checking out recipes online when you are first starting out. You may spend a bit more buying fresh ingredients, but you’re making a big investment in your health, and that’s something you will be thankful for later.

More ways to Kick Stress and Kick Butt!

 

Stress keeps us moving, but it also runs us down. If you are feeling more stressed than normal (you just did your taxes, we get it!), or if you want to feel better about yourself and your body, check out these tips from Women’s Health Magazine! They are easy to follow and will make you feel revitalized! Enjoy! ow.ly/akWwu

Headaches: More than Just a Head Case

Headaches can be a real mystery- whether you’ve been stressed at the office or you’ve been busy “Whipping your hair back and forth” like Willow Smith, we all get them. Headaches can mean different things for different people, but they are usually defined as any type of pain in the head or neck region, and can last for a variable amount of time depending on what is causing them.  When you think of your own headaches, it’s important to consider a few things: how long do they last, how long have they been going on, what triggers them, are they related to other things in your life (stress, sleep, diet, etc.), and what does it take to make them go away.

Migraine Headaches: These are headaches that can be pounding, severe, and even debilitating. They may last for a few hours but some persist for up to 3 or 4 days. Typically they are throbbing or pounding and can affect your vision, make you nauseated, or feel sensitive to light or sound. These can sometimes be hereditary, and children can also get them.  Migraines usually respond well to modifications in triggers (if you know what they are), or medication that is taken immediately after the onset of your headache. If you wait until the headache is pounding and you’ve barfed up your lunch, it might be too late to see the effects.

Tension or Stress Headaches: These are common amongst both men and women. These headaches are often described as a band of pressure around the head, often accompanied by an aching feeling in the neck and back muscles. As the name implies, they can be brought on by stress at work or home, depression, hunger, or even abnormal posture (if you’re stooped over your desk all day, your $1,000 ergonomic chair can only help you so much).  For many of you, your days usually end after 12 hours in high heels and a business suit, or after chauffeuring your children to soccer and ballet. You don’t have to wait until you realize you forgot to pay your water bill to know that you are stressed. Make an attempt to reduce your stress by prioritizing your “to-do’s” and don’t kill yourself if you don’t finish everything in one day.

Lifestyle:  Always eating on the go, getting very little sleep, or drinking significant amounts of caffeine (or trying to cut back) could all be a cause of your headache. You may think Spicy Cheetos are saving you at 3pm when you crash, but in reality packaged foods usually contain significant amounts of sodium and preservatives, which are both linked to increased blood pressure and headaches. Lack of restorative sleep can also lead to headaches throughout the day. Additionally, make sure you are well hydrated. If water never hits your lips, until you’re sweating at spin class, you are depriving your body of essential hydration that can keep you energized and potentially headache free. Dehydration alone can be a common culprit of recurring headaches.

Medications: All pills aren’t created equal. Even vitamins or natural supplements can contribute to headaches. Medications such as birth control pills, blood pressure medications, antibiotics, and even prenatal vitamins can all cause headaches. If this is the only addition to your routine since your headaches started, speak to your personal physician about adjusting your medications.

Hopefully you don’t have a headache now after reading all that info! But this is the most important part! There are a few symptoms that should not be taken lightly. If you are experiencing any of these, speak to your personal doctor immediately:

  • The headaches wake you up from sleep at night
  • You have a fever along with your headache
  • You are experiencing the most severe headache you have ever had in your life
  • You are requiring more than the recommended dosage of over-the-counter pain meds and your headache still has not improved at all