Getting to the root cause of a young patient’s hair loss, headaches and fatigue helped get her health back on track, says Dr Jenny Goodman.
Lola, age 14, came to see me distressed about her hair loss. She had lost some 40 percent of her hair over the preceding year. She was also suffering from severe, debilitating headaches and had been seen in the pediatric migraine clinic at her local hospital. Even the strongest migraine-specific painkillers didn’t help much, and Lola had taken a great deal of time off school, needing to lie down in a darkened room for days on end.
For the hair loss, Lola had been referred to the pediatric dermatology clinic, where the doctors—correctly—suspected autoimmunity. They referred her to the Pediatric Rheumatology department, where the doctors initially said she had the autoimmune disease SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus, also known as lupus), but after repeating their blood tests, they decided that she didn’t.
Lola was then referred to the Pediatric Endocrinology department to have her thyroid checked, as she was also suffering from extreme fatigue, and her periods had become irregular.
The endocrinologist diagnosed Hashimoto’s disease, which is an underactive thyroid due to autoimmunity. In other words, Lola’s immune system was producing antibodies that were attacking her own thyroid gland. The resultant lack of thyroid hormone was making her exhausted and contributing to the hair loss.
The endocrinologist prescribed levothyroxine, a synthetic form of the main hormone that the thyroid gland should produce, and told Lola she would need to take it indefinitely. When Lola’s mom asked what had caused Lola’s body to produce antibodies against its own thyroid gland, the consultant said it was his job to treat, not to inquire why.
When I first saw Lola, she was already taking 50 micrograms of levothyroxine daily, but her hair had not grown back and her headaches had not abated. For the first few months on levothyroxine, the fatigue had not improved either. However, Lola’s mother had switched her to a gluten-free diet. Although this didn’t help with the headaches or the hair loss, it made a big difference in the fatigue; Lola said she was far less exhausted than she had been a few months previously.
Removing gluten from the diet does seem to help improve many autoimmune conditions, even if excess gluten is not the root cause. Many people produce antibodies against gluten, and there is far more gluten in modern, hybrid wheat than there was in the bread our great-grandparents ate. That’s probably why wheat sensitivity and gluten allergy are far more common than they were just two generations ago.
Lola had been totally well before having the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine at age 13. Her only preexisting medical condition was Ehlers-Danlos syndrome type III, another name for hypermobility syndrome.
Ehlers-Danlos had been diagnosed because she kept rolling her ankles and spraining the ligaments. But she had been fit and healthy, and the hypermobility had not interfered with her life after she had been granted permission to wear sturdy athletic footwear to school instead of flimsy shoes.
As Lola and her mother told me Lola’s story, its relationship to the HPV vaccination became apparent. Lola had felt ill and strange after the injection, but not ill enough to be sent home from school. That evening, however, she had developed a high fever, and the following morning she had a nasty cough.
She was in bed with the cough and fever for a few days and appeared to recover partially but kept going hot and cold. In particular, her face grew hot and red, but her hands were cold and clammy. This was still going on when I saw her a year later.
It was over the ensuing weeks that Lola had developed migraines and fatigue and had noticed her hair falling out in handfuls. She also found it increasingly difficult to stand up for any length of time; she would feel faint and have to sit down urgently. When she lay down at night, her heart would start racing.
Eventually, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) was added to Lola’s growing list of diagnoses. This is a malfunction of the autonomic nervous system, which controls functions like blood pressure, heart rate and sweating. Lola’s hot face and cold hands were part of this autonomic dysfunction.
POTS is more common in people with hypermobility syndrome, but Lola had not had it before the HPV jab. In all the young women I have seen with a POTS diagnosis, it has developed after one or more vaccinations, almost always the HPV shot.
My action plan for Lola was to supplement the nutrients she was lacking and detoxify her body from the vaccine.
Lola’s blood tests showed slightly low levels of many nutrients needed for strong hair growth: zinc, iron, biotin, iodine and vitamin B12. Supplementing with these nutrients slowed and eventually stopped the galloping hair loss, but sadly the hair that was already lost did not grow back.
Still, as Lola’s iodine levels normalized, two things happened. First, her periods, which had been very erratic, regularized. Second, her endocrinologist was able to reduce her levothyroxine dose from 50 to 25 micrograms daily. Eventually she was able to come off the synthetic thyroid hormone altogether, as her thyroid gland slowly, over some years, recovered.
Lola’s blood tests also showed very high levels of aluminum, a toxic metal found in the vaccine. Getting this out of her body was a slow process; it took over a year to get the level down to a quarter of its initial level through a combination of simple detox measures such as organic vegetable juicing and saunas.
Initially these had to be far infrared saunas, but as Lola became stronger, she became able to tolerate ordinary saunas for about five minutes at a time. It took somewhat longer to get her aluminum levels down to zero, but as we did so, the fatigue gradually went away.
In addition to these detox modalities, the supplement that has been most important for detoxing aluminum has been silica. Silica, or silicon dioxide, in its soluble form silicic acid, helps remove aluminum from the body.
Besides silica itself, I gave Lola some horsetail, an herb that naturally absorbs lots of siIica from the soil (assuming the soil has not been too depleted by intensive farming). Interestingly, horsetail is in lots of preparations for assisting hair regrowth. Lastly, some brands of spring water are naturally high in silica, and these helped Lola too. To learn more, check out the pioneering work of Professor Chris Exley.
I alerted Lola and her mom to other possible sources of aluminum in her environment so Lola could avoid them. Apart from vaccines, the main sources of this hazardous, neurotoxic substance are aluminum pots and pans (if you cook acidic foods in them, the food absorbs some of the aluminum), aluminum foil, drink cans, takeaway containers, some cosmetics, and underarm deodorants and antiperspirants.
Lola is now back at school. She is not totally healthy—not quite as well as she was before the jab. But she is so much better than she was when I first saw her.
And she definitely will not be having the second dose of the HPV jab, her mother told me.
Dr Jenny Goodman has specialized in Nutritional and Environmental Medicine for the last 20 years. An experienced speaker and author of Staying Alive in Toxic Times: A Seasonal Guide to Lifelong Health (Yellow Kite, 2020), she has a particular interest in pre-conception care and work with children