OVERVIEW OF ADRENAL FATIGUE
Have you lost some strands of hair recently? Are you worried about anything being wrong with you? Well, considering how you feel, you may feel strongly that you are not okay. The fact is, you're not the only one in this. Many also share the same feeling. There is the possibility that you might have adrenal fatigue. This might be your first-time hearing about this strange term, but it is a health condition that has been lurking around for decades. The term has been used by many medical professionals and much researches has been done over the years, but we still don't understand it fully. So, will adrenal fatigue remain a myth in the medical field?
Adrenal fatigue is a term that describes a group of random symptoms. Alternative health practitioners use this term a lot, but then, there is no scientific proof that it exists.
The term was conceived in the late 1990s, and since then, proponents of adrenal fatigue have claimed that it exists and affects several people.
Adrenal fatigue was conceived after a chiropractor diagnosed the first case and published the details.
This article reviews adrenal fatigue and its relationship with hair loss.
What is adrenal fatigue?
The term “adrenal fatigue” was first coined by James Wilson in 1998. Wilson was a chiropractor and naturopath.
According to proponents of this condition, adrenal fatigue occurs in people who endure prolonged stress – whether emotional, physical, or mental.
The likelihood of having adrenal fatigue is common among shift workers, people who are dependent on drugs or alcohol, single parents, and people doing stressful jobs.
It is worth knowing that there is no scientific evidence backing the existence of this condition.
Proponents are optimistic that medical science will "catch up" eventually, but it been more than a decade since its inception and studies conducted have not demonstrated any evidence.
However, it is affected by some conditions.
Symptoms of the condition include:
- Craving sugar and salt
- Difficulty getting sleep and waking up
- Nonspecific digestive problems
- Reliance on caffeine and other stimulants
- Unexplained weight loss
- Loss of hair
The symptoms listed above are generic but could indicate some kind of medical disorder. Most symptoms, however, could also be caused by a hectic and busy life, poor sleep habits, bad nutrition, addiction to caffeine, or high-stress levels.
Adrenal fatigue is attributed to the "overworking" of the adrenal glands. The glands are activated during stress conditions. According to proponents of the condition, prolonged stress causes fatigue of the adrenal glands and they become unable to cope with the body's demands.
Diet for adrenal fatigue
Several sources recommend a special diet for adrenal fatigue. Protein-rich foods or protein supplements may be recommended.
Considering that there is no evidence surrounding this condition, it is not clear what role would be played by the diet, or whether it is a good idea to take in extra protein. But then, a balanced and nutritious diet will boost your immune system, sense of well-being, and general health condition.
This includes the consumption of fresh vegetables and fruits, reduced intake of sugary foods, processed foods, fats, caffeine, and alcohol. Eating a nutritious and balanced diet is key to general wellness and can prevent most of the symptoms associated with adrenal fatigue.
If you have fears about this condition, then consult your doctor. You should also seek your doctor’s advice about any health-related dietary changes.
Diagnosing adrenal fatigue
Some alternative health practitioners might test your blood sample. Others may order a salivary cortisol testing to determine whether you have adrenal fatigue or not. However, because science hasn’t proven the existence of this illness, there are no clear-cut ways to diagnose it.
Proponents of the condition think that modern techniques are not sensitive enough to detect the diminished functioning of the glands, but that the body still experiences the effects.
Let us briefly review the functions of the adrenal glands.
Functions of the adrenal glands
Everyone has two adrenal glands: each located on top of each kidney.
The external section of the gland is called the adrenal cortex. It produces aldosterone and cortisol, both androgenic hormones. The inner section of the gland is known as the adrenal medulla. It produces epinephrine (adrenaline), and norepinephrine.
These hormones perform several functions including:
Maintenance of metabolism, including blood sugar regulation and management of inflammation.
- Regulation of blood pressure
- Regulation of water and salt balance
- Maintaining pregnancy
- Controlling the “flight or fight” response
- Signaling the onset of sexual maturation and controlling
Now that you've learned about adrenal fatigue, let us briefly examine the hair growth cycle.
OVERVIEW OF HAIR GROWTH CYCLE
How fast does our hair grow?
When a person is born, he or she comes with the total number of hair follicles that they will need over their lifetime. The human body as a whole may have over 5 million follicles, but the head has about 100,000 follicles. As we get older, some of the follicles on our head stop growing hair, leading to hair thinning or baldness.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, an average of ½ inch of hair grows each month. That’s about 6 inches each year for the hair on your head.
The rate at which your hair grows depends on several factors, such as:
- Hair type
- General health
- Other underlying health conditions
A few things are known about cellular control of hair growth, but it is not enough to know how we can speed up its growth.
The stages of hair growth
Growth of the human hair occurs in three stages. Each hair strand follows its timeline. The three stages of hair growth include:
Anagen phase: It is the active phase of hair growth, and lasts between 2-8 years.
Catagen: This is the transitioning phase. Growth of hair stops at this phase. It lasts between 4-6 weeks.
Telogen phase: This is the resting phase. It is characterized by falling out of the hair. It lasts for 2-3 months.
90-95% of the hair on the scalp exists in the anagen phase. What this means is that 5-10 percent occur in the telogen phase, accounting for 100-150 hairs that fall out daily.
WHAT IS THE CONNECTION BETWEEN ADRENAL FATIGUE AND HAIR LOSS?
It is important to note that hair loss or shedding of hair is part of the hair cycle. So, it is a normal experience. However, some health conditions can interfere with hair growth. You must get to know this. Loss of hair is one of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue. Androgenetic alopecia is a common disorder of hair growth. Most hair growth disorders are linked to changes that occur in the hair growth cycle.
Adrenal fatigue can cause hair loss in both genders. This happens due to issues in the production of the hormone’s testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone.
Adrenal fatigue disrupts the production of these hormones, thus leading to hormonal imbalance. This is how a relationship is established between adrenal fatigue and hair loss.
WHAT OTHER FACTORS CAN AFFECT HAIR GROWTH?
Some factors can influence hair growth. These include:
- Lack of nutrition
- Hormonal changes
- History of hair loss in the family
- Trauma that causes damage to the hair follicles
- Diseases and poor health conditions
If you are experiencing heavy loss of hair, meet with your doctor. Sometimes, health conditions and illnesses can contribute to hair loss.
Regrowing your hair
The human hair is made up of dead skin cells and keratin. The truth is, no method will help your hair to grow overnight. However, you can take a few steps to maintain the healthiness and strength of your hair. Consult your doctor before using supplements such as keratin, biotin, and other supplements. Interaction of these supplements with other medications may cause side effects.
Increase your intake of nutrients and vitamins
Many manufacturers promote their supplements and vitamins for hair growth. The fact is, most of these supplements don’t have a direct effect on hair length. But hair growth requires a lot of energy. Missing out on nutrients and balanced meals can affect your hair growth.
You can use essential oils
You can add some drops of essential oil to your shampoo. You can also dilute it with jojoba oil. A particular study showed that pumpkin seeds caused a 40% boost in hair count in men with hair loss.
Do not apply essential oils to your skin. Dilute the essential oil with some drops of carrier oil. Peppermint and rosemary oils are helpful.
You can mix your essential oils with other carrier oils known for preventing hair damage. These include:
Protein promotes hair growth and protects it from environmental and chemical damage. If you apply heat to your hair or style it frequently, then you can give it the necessary protection with a protein treatment. You can use coconut oil as well. It reduces the protein lost before washing and after washing your hair.
Excess protein has a damaging effect on your kidneys. It can also increase your hair's brittleness. However, this is rare. You are better off getting your proteins from natural diets rather than supplements.