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Adrenal Fatigue Hair Loss, Insomnia And Brain Fog

A common complaint we hear from clients suffering with thyroid problems is hair loss. If you think that hair loss is a condition that only affects men over the age of 50 or menopausal women, Think again!

What we are seeing today are young, women in their twenties and thirties with hair loss, and there are plenty of them. We have seen this in young girls as young as 17 years old. One in six women lose their hair; some lose small amounts while others losing considerably larger amounts.  Premature hair loss is more common in women than you think, but there are various steps you can take to help prevent it.

How is Your Adrenal Fatigue Hair Loss and Adrenal Gland Connected To Thyroid Problems?

Hair loss is one of the most common and frustrating complaints that I hear from women when it comes to hypothyroidism. Millions of people with hypothyroidism experience hair loss and this can really have a terrible impact on not only self-confidence but your self-esteem. Frequently having the person take synthetic or even natural thyroid hormone can often correct the thyroid hormone imbalance which will usually help with the thyroid hair loss. However this isn’t always the case and there can be many other causes of hair loss. The ideal goal in treating thyroid hair loss should be to correct the underlying cause of the thyroid imbalance. And while some people with hypothyroidism do need to take synthetic or even natural thyroid hormones and on a permanent basis, others can have their health restored, recover from their hair loss, have more energy, sleep better, and lose weight through a natural restorative thyroid approach. When the true cause of your thyroid disorders are addressed, the thyroid hair loss problem will be corrected.

Hair loss is often the result of a thyroid disorder and there are other potential causes of hair loss that really need to be investigated. One area of significant importance in finding the cause of hair loss are hormonal imbalances in your body’s sex hormones. A very common problem that I see in men and women who suffer from hair loss is the disrupted hormone balance in sex hormones namely; estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone but also hormones called cortisol and DHEA or Dehydroepiandrosterone. Estrogen dominance for example can also lead to hair loss in people with hypothyroidism but so can high levels of cortisol and so can the increase or high levels of DHT. The problem is that many endocrinologist fail to evaluate the estrogen, to evaluate this part of the body or fail to look at the body from a holistic perspective. They often don’t do these tests and in order to properly evaluate someone for hair loss, not only you have to look at the thyroid but you also have to look at estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHT, and the stress hormone levels on every single patient that comes in with hair loss.

Endocrinologists usually will perform a test on hormones called a one sample test. Although that might be sufficient for menopausal women, it’s definitely not adequate for cycling women women who have an ongoing mensural cycle. Cycling women’s hormones are in a constant state of fluctuation, which is why a one sample test isn’t sufficient to determine whether they have estrogen dominance. What we would recommend is a comprehensive cycling female hormone panel test not only for stress hormones and DHEA but also for DHT. This test is going to give us a graph showing us the output of estrogen and progesterone every three days of a woman’s cycle. So when someone with hypothyroidism has hair loss due to estrogen dominance, putting that person on a specific natural thyroid restorative protocol can help bring back healthier hair. There really are other possible causes of hair loss in people with hypothyroidism such as medications like antidepressants, oral contraceptives like birth control pills, nutritional deficiencies like zinc deficiency will experience hair loss.

People that are under chronic stress can also experience hair loss and many people deal with chronic stress on a regular basis. So in these cases, correcting the cause themselves and they’re involved typically during a stress response. During a stress response we have a down regulation of a specific enzyme that’s needed for the conversion of t4 into t3. These inflammatory cytokines during a stress response is going to impair the conversion of t4 into t3. Fixing this problem is going to require specialized lab testing to determine the root cause of the inflammation, the sites of where this poor conversion is taking place are also extremely beneficial to evaluate and understand. This area in the brain or this axis so to speak is called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis or what’s called the HPA axis for short. This is the brain and the adrenal connection that plays a big part in your stress response and responsible for causing poor thyroid conversion. By using safe and natural interventions we can help assist the parts of the body in normalizing that stress response and then in turn optimizing that t4 to t3 conversion. This one situation when we’re taking thyroid hormone replacement, t4 replacement hormone, Synthroid, levothyroxine really would not work because ninety percent of the time the synthetic t4 that’s being prescribed can’t get converted into the active form of t3.

It’s important for you to understand that if you have been under high stress levels, and you are losing/thinning hair, you most likely suffer from or your either hyperadrenal dysfunction (too much) or hypoadrenal dysfunction (too little). Either way a proper evaluation of your metabolic hormones is necessary.

Another root cause or source of why you may have poor thyroid conversion is due to increase of gastrointestinal permeability. This is called a leaky gut and this can happen for a variety of different reasons. This can be due to either food sensitivities such as gluten, it could be toxins that are being produced by certain types of bacteria, so in other words there’s a lot of different causes behind this. Some of the other causes is have you ever been on antibiotics have you ever been on or do you take antacids on a regular basis. Those drugs are going to reduce your stomach acid and might lead to an infection. Are you eating the standard American diet that’s loaded with grains and loaded with sugars and loaded with bad kinds of fats? This problem can be addressed again here by the right kind of specialized gastrointestinal lab panels that when they’re done, can identify not only which foods are contributing to this bacterial overgrowth but also what could be contributing to the poor conversion.

Adrenal Stress and Adrenal Fatigue Insomnia: What’s Really Keeping You Up At Night?

Adrenal Stress Syndrome: A Major Cause of Insomnia

Dr Richard Hagmeyer D.C.

Are you tired of tossing and turning at night?  Do you wake up in the morning a wishing you could get another 3 hours of “good” sleep.  You are not alone!  Frustrations with poor sleep are all too common.  You may have already tried several different medications.  Sleep medications can work for a short time but they lose their effectiveness.  Sometimes medications don’t work at all…then what do you do?

If you want to know how to get to the underlying cause then you have to know the reason you can’t sleep in the first place.  Medications just don’t address the underlying problems, they at best cover up your other symptoms.

There are two very common problems that can rob you of a satisfying nights sleep.

Adrenal Fatigue Insomnia and the Over-firing Mesencephalon

An area in the brain known as the mesencephalon can be over firing. This is very common in people suffering with fibromyalgia and thyroid problems. The mesencephalon is a small area partly responsible for keeping you awake (don’t worry about this big word just what it does). The mesencephalon should be firing at its highest during the day and at the lowest in the middle of the night. If this “wakefulness” area of the brain is over-firing you will often wake up throughout the night. Oh, by the way, those with a high firing mesencephalon often have chronic pain. Let’s face it…when you sleep…you heal and just feel recharged. If your brain doesn’t know how to slow down and drift into dreamland (and stay there all night), you could be facing more problems than just poor sleep.

Adrenal Stress Syndrome: A Major Cause of Insomnia

Many people have sleeping problems in our active society. If you are not convinced of this, just pay attention to late night television and count how many commercials are being pushed for the latest insomnia medication. Unfortunately these medications do not address the actual dysfunction, the underlying cause. Many well intentioned doctors and health care practitioners simply put their clients on an adrenal protocol without asking the most important question. Why? Why are the adrenals shutting down or why are they overactive? Is their an infection? A food sensitivity? A disrupted male or female hormonal balance? Is the person anemic? A thyroid condition? Medication causing and adverse effect?

adrenal testing

Many times insomnia is directly related to blood sugar imbalances, in particular to adrenal function. The adrenal glands are two small glands located above the kidney, which secrete hormones that help the body stabilize blood sugar.

A common pattern we see clinically with patients that have adrenal hyper-function (overactive) is an inability to fall asleep. With adrenal hypo-function (under-active), the symptom is exactly opposite, they can fall asleep, but not stay asleep. Therefore both hyper and hypo adrenal function can impact insomnia. This picture below represents a previous patients test.

As you can see they have a total cortisol load of 68 and their pattern (blue line) does not follow the rhythm of a normal cortisol output.

Learn more about Brain Based Therapyand How it can help Adrenal Fatigue

Learn more about Oxygen Therapyand How it can Help Adrenal Fatigue

Learn about Testing For Adrenal Fatigue

Dr Hagmeyer logoIf you suffer with insomnia and would like to see if it is caused from Adrenal Stress Syndrome, call the Naperville Institute For Neuro Metabolic Solutions,at 630.718.0555.

Some simple tests will allow us to determine the source of the problem, and then we can create a custom plan to get you sleeping again.

Take a few minutes and fill out our Adrenal Profile. One of our New patient coordinators will contact you for a free Phone Consultation.

There are Two Main Patterns We See with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Adrenal Burnout and Adrenal Stress

Adrenal hypo-function

With the first pattern of chronic fatigue syndrome, the adrenal Hypo-function patient, the body does not have enough cortisol to maintain blood sugar levels throughout the evening fasting period (we all go through a typical 8-10 hour fast when we sleep). As blood sugar levels drop during the night, the body goes into a stress response, and without adequate cortisol production to bring blood sugar levels up, the body releases norepinephrine and epinephrine to try to stabilize blood sugar. These are stimulatory hormones that will wake the person up during the night. This is the person who seems to wake up, wide awake, at the same time every night.

Adrenal hyper-function

The second scenario, the adrenal Hyper-function patient,(the one in the graph above)will cause the person to have higher than normal cortisol at bed time. This will cause the person to not be able to fall asleep due to the excitatory nature of cortisol on the nervous system.

In either case it is important to look at all the factors that contribute to adrenal dysfunction. A sleeping pill will never fix the problem in this scenario, and this scenario is common. The brain’s ability to regulate the circadian rhythm of cortisol, food sensitivities, lifestyle factors, mental stress, ,physical stress, emotional stress, and many other things can contribute to the problem.

Sleep Is Defined By Cortisol Levels Produced By Your Adrenal Glands

Your sleep is defined by your cortisol produced by your adrenals. Cortisol along with melatonin creates your circadian rhythm. In the morning your adrenal glands release large amounts of cortisol to help you get up and start the day. As the day goes on, these cortisol levels decline and prepare your body for resting phase and repair. Just before bed, your cortisol production should be at their lowest point. But that is not what happens for many people struggling with sleep.

Instead what we see is something similar to the pattern below elevated cortisol levels at night. What I would like you start thinking about, is how cortisol is a fight or flight hormone. In times of stress, inflammation, infection, fear, emotional trauma, this hormone is released in higher amounts.

Looking at the picture below you will notice that this patient is high in morning, high at noon, high in the evening and while its not flagged as high at nigh if you look at the range .4-1.0 ng/mL you will see that it’s high as well. This patient is in a major fight/flight state.

6 Things You Need To Pay Attention to For Better Sleep

  1. Excess cortisol and adrenaline which damage the sleep centers of the brain.
  2. Repair the damage in the brain/hippocampus from excess cortisol and adrenaline.
  3. Decrease any evening or night time elevated cortisol and/or adrenaline levels.
  4. Increase GABA levels and other calming neurotransmitters when high cortisol and adrenaline levels are identified. .
  5. Ensure the proper hormone production of melatonin and growth hormone.
  6. Prevent swings and fluctuations in blood sugar caused by high and or low cortisol levels

Connection Between Adrenal Fatigue and Brain Fog

We’ve all felt it in some way. We misplace our keys or forget important things. It interferes with our day. But what happens when these little annoyances start to define our days? What happens when we feel as though a cloud is over our minds and thinking clearly is a struggle? It interferes with our everyday functioning and just getting through each day becomes more difficult.

Conventional medicine discounts the significance of brain fog because there is no clinical diagnosis attached to it. There are no specific tests for it and the presence of brain fog is based on a person’s subjective account and individual symptom vary from one person to the next. It can last for hours, days, weeks, or a few months and can persist for years. Most conventional physicians discount it as part of the aging process. I’ve heard people in their 20’s joke that the reason they can’t find their keys is that they’re getting older. And in the middle aged and elderly, it is often defined as early Alzheimer’s, dementia or mental illness.

So what is brain fog? Why is it important? And what can we do about it?

Well, your brain is the control center of your body and when it is functioning at less than capacity, you and your body are functioning at less than capacity. Brain fog often presents itself very insidiously. The symptom can be “mild”, such as mild memory loss (losing your keys, forgetting numbers or birthdays, etc.), mental confusion, dizziness, slow thinking and a general feeling of not functioning as well as possible. Brain fog is often brought on by some type of imbalance in the body ~ nutritional, metabolic, hormonal or biochemical. This can arise from many different factors. Identifying the imbalance and the causative factors and then correcting them is the key to treating brain fog.

Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome and Brain Fog

Your adrenals control your stress response. When your body is under stress, whether it is physical, mental, chemical or other, the adrenals kick in to stimulate your body’s survival mechanisms. Once the threat is over, the relaxation portion of your nervous system takes over. But when the stressor continues to be present, your adrenals continue to fire and relaxation (balance) never fully kicks in. This causes a tremendous amount of additional stress and your adrenals ~ and your body ~ never fully get a rest. Once your adrenal glands are experiencing adrenal fatigue and adrenal insufficiency, everything slows down to conserve energy to survive. When the liver slows down, toxins and waste products get removed more slowly and they start to accumulate. These can travel to the brain, causing brain fog. To treat this, the focus is on restoring the adrenal glands. This includes a comprehensive approach addressing nutrition, supplements and lifestyle changes.

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