Trichotillomania (trik-o-til-o-MAY-nee-uh), also called the hair-pulling disorder, is a mental disorder that involves recurrent, irresistible urges to pull out hair from your scalp and eyebrows as well as other areas of your body. This can cause sever hair loss to those with this disorder. There is a lot that still needs to be discovered about this condition, but the latest research has shown signs that there is a link between food allergies and intolerances and hair pulling.

I’m sure most people have never thought that the food could affect, or even be the cause of why some people suffer from trichotillomania. This research is still in its infancy, but there is good evidence that suggests that what we eat can dramatically alter our neurotransmitter balance. In particular, our levels of serotonin, which is a vital neurotransmitter that affects sleep, moods, cravings, as well as any array of other functions that also can include hair pulling urges like those with individuals inflected with trichotillomania, are directly affected by our food choices.

Approximately 95% of the serotonin in our body is stored in the gastrointestinal tract. What this means is that the gastrointestinal function is essential for maintaining an appropriate neurotransmitter balance. In fact, several studies support the idea that intestinal permeability and enzyme deficiencies are found in people who have been diagnosed with depression, a mental illness that is caused by the imbalance of serotonin and dopamine.

Gluten Intolerance may be the cause of Trichotillomania

The following is an excerpt from an article Gluten Free Choice Consulting by Wendy L. Cohan, RN, November, 2010: “Gluten sensitivity can lead to neurological and mental health effects in various ways, including: Triggering inflammatory autoimmune responses throughout the nervous system; Producing narcotizing effects on the brain; Inducing changes in brain perfusion, or blood flow; And, through celiac disease, causing the malabsorption of key nutrients necessary for optimum neurological and mental health. We know that certain foods, including gluten, can trigger neurological and behavioral symptoms. People can change their diets and overcome previous behavioral patterns to live healthy, productive lives.”

If you are someone that suffers from Trichotillomania, then you should see your doctor for a food sensitivity test to determine whether or not a food allergy is the reason you have urges to pull your hair.