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Topic Title: Cortisol and its connection to hair loss
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Created On: 02/18/2006 01:33 AM
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 02/18/2006 01:33 AM
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YoYoYo
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I've done a lot of research on hypoadrenia, its symptoms, and the role of cortisol in the body. My journey began in 2002, when I discovered I had low cortisol levels confirmed by an MD.

At the time, I had been trying to find connections to my unusual hair loss (mainly diffuse vertex thinning, started at 15 with very little family hair loss) and other health symptoms (chronic fatigue, infections, dark circles, etc). I found my basal temps to be very low in the morning, so I thought it may be thyroid. Well, cortisol regulates body temperature and metabolism much in the way thyroid hormones do. In fact, cortisol has a direct effect on the efficacy of thyroid hormones. Often times, hypothyroid patients see no progress until their adrenals are treated with Cortef.

Anyway, recently I've been making some connections between hypoadrenia and hair loss.

I've noticed some good posts on the research that links hairloss to high insulin levels. Especially vertex. Also, that metabolic problems tend to manifest in diffuse-type hairloss. I came to the following points:

1. Cortisol is an insulin antagonist. If your cortisol secretion is low from adrenal fatigue, your insulin levels will be high. Hypoglycemia is a textbook symptom of hypoadrenia.
2. Most dermatologists agree that stress aggrivates hairloss. There is no real explanation for this in the DHT camp, but prolonged stress drains the adrenal glands. Shortterm stress, such that we've been evolved to handle; such as short bursts of stress as a result of say, danger due to a natural predator, allow the adrenals to recoup. Modern stress, chronic infections (such as Lyme, Epstein-Barr), poor diet, chronic food allergies all contribute to adrenal burnout.
3. Cortisol reduces inflammation. Inflammation is a key to hair loss.
4. Cortisol aids in metabolic processes.
5. Cortisol reduces testosterone.

That said, elevated Cortisol is not a good thing either. But elevated Cortisol will always lead to the same thing over time: adrenal fatigue.

I started Cortef (hydrocortisone) this week. 5mg x 3 a day. I'm very curious to see what this does to my hair loss. I will also be adding a small dose of Armour thyoird after a few weeks or month of the Cortef. Since this is something that's probably not widely done at all with those who have similar symptoms and diffuse hair loss such as mine, it'll be interesting to see what happens.

I will keep you all updated.

Edited: 02/18/2006 at 01:44 AM by YoYoYo
 02/18/2006 01:36 AM
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YoYoYo
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Also, the metabolic/thyroid connection to diffuse hair loss is very real.

I had a friend that was on lithium for depression. Lithium is notorious for causing hypothyroidism, which in turn can cause hair loss. He was diffusely balding in the NW7 pattern, much worse than my hair has ever been at age 20. He went off the lithium and, last time I saw him, nearly has all his hair back. He is under no other treatment. He also has very dark circles, which is a trademark of adrenal fatigue.
 02/18/2006 03:53 AM
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Pete
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If you have low cortisol - there are ways to replinish it and reverse these issues!

Regards
Pete

Edited: 02/18/2006 at 03:53 AM by Pete
 02/18/2006 06:40 AM
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Someday
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How do you get the cortisol checked does it have too do with the hormones?

I also did the Barnes Basal Temperature Test my results ended up like this

Barnes Basal Temperature Test
Another way of detecting a possible thyroid deficiency is to take your basal body temperature. Place a thermometer at your bedside, and as soon as you wake up before you step out of bed, place the thermometer under your arm for at least 3 minutes. If you are T3 deficient, you will find your basal temperature to be below 97.8°F (normal throughout the day is 98.6°F). If your first-thing-in-the-morning temperature is consistently low, it likely means that your basal (resting) metabolic rate is also low.

Record the time, date, and temperature every morning for 2 weeks to show your doctor. In addition to following up with blood tests, your doctor can determine the patency of your deep tendon reflexes, especially the time it takes your Achilles tendon to recover after first elicitation.

My Results

24 Dec 2005 10 Mins (15) 36.0C (36.1C) = 96.8F (97.0F)

25 Dec 2005 10 Mins (15) 36.0C (36.1C) = 96.8F (97.0F)

26 Dec 2005 5 Mins (10) 36.0C (36.1C) = 96.8F (97.0F)

27 Dec 2005 5 Mins (10) 35.7C (36.0C) = 96.3F (96.8F)

28 Dec 2005 5 Mins (10) 35.7C (36.0C) = 96.3F (96.8F)

29 Dec 2005 5 Mins (10) 35.9C (36.0C) = 96.7F (96.8F)

31 Dec 2005 5 Mins (10) 36.0C (36.1C) = 96.8F (97.0F)

1 JAN 2005 5 Mins (10) 35.9C (36.0C) = 96.7F (96.7F)

2 JAN 2005 5 Mins (10) 36.0C (36.1C) = 96.8F (97.0F)

3 JAN 2005 5 Mins (10) 35.4C (35.9C) = 95.8F (96.7F)

4 JAN 2005 5 Mins (15) 36.0C (36.0C) = 96.8F (96.8F)

5 JAN 2005 5 Mins (10) 35.8C (36.1C) = 96.5F (97.0F)

6 JAN 2005 5 Mins (10) 35.9C (35.9C) = 96.7F (96.7F)

7 JAN 2005 5 Mins (10) 35.5C (35.9C) = 96.0F (96.7F)

8 JAN 2005 5 Mins (10) 35.8C (36.1C) = 96.5F (97.0F)

10 JAN 2005 5 Mins (10) 35.9C (36.1C) = 96.7F (97.0F)

11 JAN 2005 5 Mins (10) 35.7C (35.9C) = 96.3F (96.7F)

12 JAN 2005 5 Mins (10) 36.0C (36.1C) = 96.8F (97.0F)

13 JAN 2005 5 Mins (10) 35.9C (36.1C) = 96.7F (97.0F)

14 JAN 2005 5 Mins (10) 35.9C (36.0C) = 96.7F (96.7F)

15 JAN 2005 5 Mins (10) 35.8C (36.1C) = 96.5F (97.0F)

16 JAN 2005 5 Mins (10) 35.9C (36.1C) = 96.7F (97.0F)

17 JAN 2005 5 Mins (10) 35.5C (35.9C) = 96.0F (96.7F)

I have a diffuse NW3 pattern...what does this have too do with either cortisol or thyroid? I’m really confused! And the doctors aint helpin sh*t!
 02/18/2006 11:07 AM
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YoYoYo
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Hypothyroidism causes hairloss, especially in the diffuse vertex female pattern.

Those are low basal temps. Try getting a blood test done by an alternative doctor, if you can. Where do you live? Maybe I can suggest someone.

I used to test around 96 degrees, I should try it now and see where I'm at. One morning it was 95.5!

Generally, if the TSH is above 2, you can be considered subclinical hypothyroid and be treated.

There are also cases where your bloodwork is relatively normal, but you're still hypothyroid. That may because your body is not utilizing the hormones properly. Things like certain heavy metals, mineral imbalances, lyme disease, and candida albicans overgrowth can affect this.

To get tested for adrenal fatigue, you get a saliva hormone test that's taken at 3-4 times during the day. Mine was very low every time, except the evening, where it was low average.

Edited: 02/18/2006 at 11:09 AM by YoYoYo
 02/18/2006 07:13 PM
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Someday
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Hi YoYoYo

I live in sweden,

The problem over here is you can't find any doctor who knows anything about hair loss or even want to help you they just look at you’re scalp for 2 secs and tells you it's mpb, and either suggest you too minox or propecia or just accept it as a fact of life, some of them don’t even mention those drugs and that's it!

Even if you ask for a test they would say there is noo need for one since it's mpb and it's inherited and there is nothing you can do about it!, and if you would say anything about the hypothyroid they would just look funny at you or laugh and tell you too go home and not worry about it! Man how depressing is that!

Stuff like that really piss you off! I know that's possible I could have some thyroid problems not only that the test showed that I was low in the metabolic process in the morning, my mother is a hypothyroid and I’ve might have inherited that in some way,

I’m slim or whatever you want to call it I’m 179 cm, about 62 Kg my BMI is around 19 but I feel perfectly healthy and I eat a good balanced diet not even close too what those people out there eat everyday! The junk food

Last time I did a test for my testosterone it ended up at 3,4 average for male is (10-30) so my doctor resend me too this other doctor who deals with hormones, so now I have my chance too ask him too take the tests i need too see whats wrong with them...the time before I checked my testosterone it was 33 and that was like 6 mounts ago, I haven’t taken any meds or anything like that at all! so the doc thought it was weird and wanted me too redo some tests...anyways how can I convince the doctor I’m going to that I want a full hormonal test done, it's like super hard if the doctor is like not giving a f*ck about you really and if he thinks it's ridicules even wasting time on a "MPB patient"

So yeah that's pretty much it the problem and whats the most importent tests that should be included

I have a list of various things you can test but I doubt the doctor would check all of them, maybe you know which ones are most important


Thyreoidea
----------------
S-TSH
S-Free T3
S-Free T4
S-T3
S-T4
S-anti-TPO
S-TRAK
S-Tyreglobulin
---------------------

+ Other stuff like

Growth/Skeleton
--------------------
S-Kalcitonin
S-Growth Hormone
S-IGF-I
fS-PTH
S-ALP
S-Osteocalcin
S-PICP
S-ICTP
Pt(U)-Pyridionlines
Pt(U)-NTx

Kidney barque
------------------
P-CRF
P-ACTH
S-11- Deoxicortisol
S-Androstedion
S-DHEA-Sulphate
S-Cortisol
S-17-OH-Progestron
S-Aldosteron
Pt(U)-Cortisol
Pt(U)-Pregnantriol
Pt(U)-Steroidpattern
Pt(U)-Aldosteron

Kidneys/Blood-Vessel
---------------------
P-Renin
P-Angiostensin II
P-BNP
P-Vasopressin
P-ANP
P-Endotelin

Metals
-----------------------
fS-Zink
S-Copper
Pt(U)-Cooper

Kidney Marrow
------------------------
Pt(U)-Catecholamines
Pt(U)-VMA
Pt(U)-HVA

Pancreas
----------------------------
S-Insulin
S-C-peptide
S-Proinsulin
P-Glucagons

Liver/Intestine
---------------------------
S-CD-transferrin
S-Prokollagen-III-peptid
fP-Gastrin
fP-Pepsinogen
Pt(U)-5-HIA
Pt(U)-Amino acids

Blood Culture
-----------------------------
S-Erythroietin
S-Transferrin-rec
S-Ferretin
S-B 12
fS-Folat
B-Erc-Folat
S-MMA
fP-Homocystein
fB-Histamin

Tapestry
-------------------------
S-Prolaktin
S-FSH
S-LH
S-Progesterone
S-Eastradisol
S-Testosterone
S-SHBG

Regulated Peptides
--------------------------
fP-Peptidscreening
fP-Gastrin
fP-CGRP
fP-NPK
fP-NPY
fP-Neurotensin
fP-PP
fP-Pancreastin
fP-Somatostatin
fP-Substans P
fP-VIP

Tissue Domains
----------------------------
P-PSA
S-AFP
S-B-hCG
S-CA 125
S-CA 15-3
S-TPA
S-CEA
S-CA 19-9
S-CA 50
S-CA 72-4
S-NSE
S-S 100 B
S-Hyaluronate
S-Tymidinkinas
S-PLAP
-------------------------

Wow that took a while too write down, but that's basically all the stuff you can test when it comes too hormones, the doc would never approve all of them I know that for a fact! But at least if you see any of the ones you think could have too do anything with hair loss please point them out

Thanks!
 02/19/2006 01:28 AM
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YoYoYo
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Free-T3, Free-T4, and TSH for Thyroid.

Ask if he does saliva Cortisol/DHEA.
 02/19/2006 04:24 AM
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Socks
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You know, I hesitate to say this but...


My hairloss started a few months after a break-up with an ex gf which left me seriously clinically depressed. I was stressed -all- the time and my hair slowly was thinning month after month with an increase shed. Last year I started Paxil CR and after a few month my hairloss stopped and started to get thick again... I thought at the time my treatments were just kicking in -but- when I stopped Paxil CR a few months later I was shedding again.

I then started the Fin w/ spiro and -did- get unmistakable regrowth upfront but I was still shedding more then usual (though the shed did drop for a bit when I started the new routine). I just re-started a new anti-depressant (actually an older one, Clomipramine, but new for me) and after a month I'm hardly losing any hair... I dont feel stressed at all and I'm sleeping better.


Sadly, it just is impossible to know for sure which it is: My hairloss treatments or my anti-depressants... or a combo of both. All I know is right now my hair is shinny, healthy, and thick... Maybe not as thick as when I was 23 but I can comb it back wet and it is a perfect NW1.

Could stress and cortisol be responsible? Possibly IMO.
 02/19/2006 04:59 AM
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Pete
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At some point while going through adrenal exhaustion you live with high
cortisol and high DHEA levels (level1) :

level1 high cortisol high DHEA--
level2 high cortisol normal DHEA--
level3 high cortisol low dhea
level4 normal cortisol low dhea
level5 low cortisol normal DHEA
level6 low cortisol high DHEA
level7 adrenal failure
 02/19/2006 06:02 AM
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Someday
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YoYoYo,

Yeah i will check that


Hows it going for you? did you get any meds for youre hypothyroid?
 02/19/2006 10:39 AM
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pleasegodno
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Quote

Originally posted by: Socks
You know, I hesitate to say this but...





My hairloss started a few months after a break-up with an ex gf which left me seriously clinically depressed. I was stressed -all- the time and my hair slowly was thinning month after month with an increase shed. Last year I started Paxil CR and after a few month my hairloss stopped and started to get thick again... I thought at the time my treatments were just kicking in -but- when I stopped Paxil CR a few months later I was shedding again.



I then started the Fin w/ spiro and -did- get unmistakable regrowth upfront but I was still shedding more then usual (though the shed did drop for a bit when I started the new routine). I just re-started a new anti-depressant (actually an older one, Clomipramine, but new for me) and after a month I'm hardly losing any hair... I dont feel stressed at all and I'm sleeping better.





Sadly, it just is impossible to know for sure which it is: My hairloss treatments or my anti-depressants... or a combo of both. All I know is right now my hair is shinny, healthy, and thick... Maybe not as thick as when I was 23 but I can comb it back wet and it is a perfect NW1.



Could stress and cortisol be responsible? Possibly IMO.



like i insinuated a long time ago, i think you were suffering significantly from stress-related hairloss. although cortisol levels could contribute to that type of loss, i think there are also other mechanisms at work (esp. SP/NGF/mast cell activation/recruitment/degranulation --> inflammation).


Edited: 02/19/2006 at 10:42 AM by pleasegodno
 02/19/2006 11:37 PM
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YoYoYo
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Quote

Originally posted by: pleasegodno



like i insinuated a long time ago, i think you were suffering significantly from stress-related hairloss. although cortisol levels could contribute to that type of loss, i think there are also other mechanisms at work (esp. SP/NGF/mast cell activation/recruitment/degranulation --> inflammation).

Well, cortisol keeps inflammation in check. Low cortisol = high inflammation.

 02/19/2006 11:38 PM
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YoYoYo
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Quote

Originally posted by: Someday
YoYoYo,



Yeah i will check that





Hows it going for you? did you get any meds for youre hypothyroid?

Yes, small dose for now: .25 grain.

Edited: 02/19/2006 at 11:38 PM by YoYoYo
 02/19/2006 11:38 PM
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YoYoYo
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Quote

Originally posted by: Pete
At some point while going through adrenal exhaustion you live with high

cortisol and high DHEA levels (level1) :



level1 high cortisol high DHEA--

level2 high cortisol normal DHEA--

level3 high cortisol low dhea

level4 normal cortisol low dhea

level5 low cortisol normal DHEA

level6 low cortisol high DHEA

level7 adrenal failure


Yes the DHEA is making up for the lack of cortisol... DHEA causes testosterone levels to rise.
 02/20/2006 11:21 AM
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mkultra333
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this all seems more plausable than the DHT factor, mainly because typical DHT treatments like Propecia do not work well on the diffuse types. i have been diffuse for the last 3 years, i started treatment about a year ago, propecia and then 4 months after i went to europe to try a hair topical that had a bunch of anti androgens like progresterone, estrdol and caffeinne...and well almost a year later not much in the halting or regrowth dept. i have th slightest temple regrowth but it really is just slightly darker thin hairs....i am shedding again these days, and i have to say between accutane use years ago and the over use of a topical steroid cream causing skin atrophy in a highly crucial area last year getting worse, i am pretty worried and depressed all the time, its not the deepest i have been compared to when i first started noticing my hairloss, but i am starting to thnk i want to quit. since on propeciqa i lost weight really fast and lost muscle mass around my body. coincidense maybe....but either way nothing i have done has really helped.....

i want to now really investigate this cortisol area, can someone please suggest how i go about, i tried in the past but doctors did shuuu me off saying its mpb, because its in my family and my brother has the same hairloss, diffuse all over the head! but iwonder if we just inherited a simular condition. he is 18 and started much earlier than me.... the basal test i want to start, and what else should i do???
 02/20/2006 01:56 PM
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YoYoYo
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Basal test is an indicator for thyroid function, not adrenal. Although a low basal temp may indicate BOTH thyroid and adrenal issues.

The losing weight and muscle is interesting, only because it is also a key symptom in adrenal fatigue. But it's also a very general symptom so I won't presume you have adrenal fatigue.

Where do you live?
 02/20/2006 04:47 PM
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Yellow Bamboo
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Fantastic work Yo Thanks for your contributions to the forum.
MPB and the commonalities we see between sufferers definitely suggests it's part of an overall pattern of symptoms and doesn't exist independently of the other workings of the body (just like no part of the body is an island unto itself). IMO looking for *commonalities* (or patterns) constitutes rational, scientific thinking and helps us progress. With each symptom though (each one being a clue, or puzzle piece) it's yet another "cart or horse?" analogy- is the adrenal fatigue a cause or an effect of something else? One could look at this as well as practically all other (degenerative) disease signs as being inter-related links in a chain, each link (symptom) as both causing and *being caused by* something else. Superceding it all are genetic predispositions which may forever be unchangeable but hey- acne is a genetically-predisposed condition and can be treated fairly effectively nowadays.

Some of the commonalities that can be observed with balding men are as follows (these are general observations, not 'rules' of any kind that apply to all):
1. Increased body hair
2. Elevated chances of prostate problems (enlargement, prostate cancer)
3. In NW5's and above, where there are slick bald spots, the bare scalp is oftentimes very shiny (increased sebum output)
4. Insatiable scalp itch, esp in balding areas and esp in the beginning stages of hair fallout
5. In NW5's and above, increased belly fat (altered fat metabolism or cortisol-induced?)... love handles/"spare tire" that the person cannot seem to ever exercise off

To anyone- feel free to add more. I just believe it's useful to take a look at all of these and find common denominator(s) if possible, although quite a few will be attributed to the DHT factor alone, but I don't think MPB is purely a hormonal problem. Consider acne for example. There are different *types* of acne, each having its unique characteristics. Who's to say there couldn't be different types of MPB, with one type being very DHT-influenced as a primal cause, and another having a different main influence? For instance some men start losing hair in their mid-40's or so, starting with a vertex bald spot whilst the hairline remains mostly intact. Other men start losing it much earlier, say late teens early 20's, and lose it all over their head at once (diffuse). It's MPB (not alopecia areata), but the entire balding horseshoe is affected at once, and usually (without intervention) these guys tend to lose it very, very rapidly . The loss *patterns* are radically different as are often the times of the person's life cycle that the disease manifests itself.

As for heavy metal toxicity, I don't think this has much to do with it since I haven't heard/read any reports of any remarkable health turnarounds from someone replacing their mercury amalgam tooth fillings with composites, or going on some kind of chelation program. It's beneficial, to be sure, but I doubt this is some major contributor. Some people for instance have claimed health improvements, yes, interestingly enough immediately after having dental work done and mercury removed, but if this is the case it couldn't be from the metal chelation since the body just doesn't chelate on its own this fast! More likely it's due to the *other* work the dentist is doing WHILE he's replacing the mercury amalgams- namely, he's cleaning cavitations, directly affecting the bacterial conditions in the mouth. Just M.O.

As for me, in the same vein as the tireless research YoYoYo has done, my findings have led to a very possible yeast/fungal influence. As a person's Norwood level increases and their condition worsens, the sufferer can experience an array of symptoms that are very analagous and eerily consistent with what is being known as Candida-related Syndrome (or "candidiasis"), and Syndrome X. Fungal invasion in the body can cause many of the signs Yo mentioned including the adrenal issues; as for the metabolic problems and increased belly fat, there has been some research indicating that toxicity caused by bacterial and fungal infections is deliberately stored by the body, in fat. The body, in its wisdom, traps the pollutants in fat in an effort to keep it all away from the vital organs, and this type of fat cannot be exercised off- the cause has to be dealt with first. There is the above data coupled with the Morris Mann patent stating that a group of researchers found a scalp fungal infection in each of the balding participants (visible under Woods Lamp light) as well as even a couple anecdotal reports both from this site and alt.baldspot in which oral ketoconazole users experienced hair regrowth leads me to strongly believe there is a yeast/fungal culprit that at least contributes to MPB. Either way, DHT most definitely comes into play as this has been long established but all I'm saying is that it's most useful to address all known factors possible.

Long live HLH! (it blows HS away)
--YB
 02/20/2006 07:12 PM
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YoYoYo
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There is definitely a yeast connection, without a doubt. In fact, I believe it to be one of the reason's I've seen adrenal and thyroid problems.

I think the key to my adrenal problems were as follows:

1. Heavy metals; I've never had amalgams, rather I believe they built up over the years from my mother's amalgam's/tuna intake while I was in the womb, vaccines, environmental factors. If 2. and 3. are correct, they would drastically decrease my body's ability to effectively channel out these toxins.
2. Overuse of antibiotics. Another chicken-and-egg question, I had a big dose of antibiotics as a baby due to an infection. From being an infant to maybe 18-19 years of age, I had antibiotics very regularly. This would've contributed to a great imbalance of gut flora, including increased candida. This also caused leaky gut syndrome, where a hypersensitivity to common foods occurs. These allergies over a large span of time will drain the adrenal glands.
3. Lyme disease. I don't know how long I've had it, but I do. I live in a part of the world (Northeast US) where it's rampant and I was always an outdoorsy kid.

Btw, I must be an exception to the diffuse rule you speak of. I've had diffuse female-type pattern with slight recession since I was 15 (23 now) and I've seen very little progression. I am thankful for that, but it still sucks.

Edited: 02/20/2006 at 07:14 PM by YoYoYo
 02/21/2006 05:28 AM
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Someday
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So Low Cortisol=More DHEA=More Testesterone=More DHT= More Immune System Attack=More Hair loss?


How do you keep the cortisol levels normal through a diet?


And what is it that really determines how much DHT that is suppose to be created from the Testosterone?

Thanks!
 02/21/2006 05:47 AM
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Hankscorpio
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Not to complicate things even further but there is a rather common genetic disorder called pyroluria, sufferers tend to loose vast amounts of B6 and zinc when under stress . A chemical called kryptopyrroles can be found in large quantities in the blood after a period of stress, these chemicals combine with b6 creating a new compound that has an afinity for zinc. Because the compound now serves no pourpose in the body it is secreted through the urine leaving you severely deficient in both B6 and zinc. Such a profound deficientcey can lead to a host of symptoms such as depression, intense anxiety, sleep disorders, unhealthy skin, hair loss, IBS, sensativity to light, night blindness, low body temps ect. Because your body chemistry is so off kilter mild-moderate hypothyroidism can result and the stress can overwhelm the adrenals. The levels of stress required to triger this condition are quite low so sufferes will be in a state of perpetual deficientcy even under the best of conditions. The treatment? Very simple...b6 and zinc supplements but since the disorder is note curable they must be taken indefiately, dietary intake of foods high in zinc and b6 are no where near enough. It can be speculated that one of the reasons few people know about such a common disorder is that the symptomes are many and can be treated individualy with a host of different medications ($$$$) while the treatment for the root cause is absolutely cheap as dirt. A urine test can determine if this is a problem, just a consideration also remember zinc shunts 5 alpha.
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