Q & A Library
My 12-year-old son has alopecia with about 75 percent hair loss on his scalp along with half of his eyebrows and some body hair. What can we do nutritionally to help with this condition?
Answer (Published 1/16/2007)
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks hair follicles causing hair on the head to fall out, usually in small patches about the size of a quarter. Most people don't lose all their hair, but some lose a lot. In a more severe form of the disease, people lose all the hair on their heads and everywhere else on their bodies (alopecia universalis).
Unfortunately, autoimmune alopecia is unpredictable. Your son's hair might come back, but if it does, it could fall out again. Some people continue to lose and regrow hair for many years. However, even among those who lose all their hair, there's always a possibility that it will all come back.
Because autoimmune diseases tend to flare up in response to emotional ups and downs, I recommend some form of mind/body treatment - hypnosis may be especially helpful (children are more easily hypnotized than adults). You also might consider consulting a practitioner of homeopathy or Chinese medicine to get at the underlying problem. In addition, I recommend the following dietary changes for all types of autoimmune diseases:
Andrew Weil, M.D.
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