Fatigue is a common, transient or chronic symptom. In medicine, we distinguish normal fatigue, which disappears with rest, from pathological fatigue, which is a symptom or a disease in its own right. It is often associated with physical consequences, including hair loss. Let's explore if this is the case in this article.
Is fatigue a cause of hair loss?
Fatigue is a common symptom that can become abnormal when it persists despite sleep or rest. It can be temporary or reactive in connection with a chronic disease. Chronic fatigue is a common reason for medical consultation: between 10 and 25% of people would discuss it with their general practitioner. It is often associated with side effects such as hair loss.
Among hair, 90% are in the anagen phase and require essential elements such as proteins, vitamins, and minerals to effectively produce healthy hair. Often cited as a cause of hair loss, fatigue is more likely a sign of vitamin or mineral deficiencies, or a chronic illness that could be responsible for hair loss. Indeed, micronutrients are major components of the normal hair follicle cycle, playing a role in the cellular renewal of the matrix cells of the follicular bulb that divide rapidly.
Biotin: Chronic fatigue is a symptom of a biotin deficiency. Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a crucial role in keratin production and ensures the proper growth of hair. A deficiency in biotin could lead to hair loss. Clinical studies have also shown improvement in eight patients suffering from alopecia who took a biotin supplement.
Calcium : A deficiency in calcium can interfere with the production of the sleep hormone, melatonin. Fatigue is often a symptom of a deficiency in this mineral. The daily intake of calcium plays a significant role in hair health and its continuous and healthy growth as it is an essential mineral for the proper functioning of the body. A calcium deficiency can be caused by a vitamin D deficiency. Mutations in the VDR gene (vitamin D receptors) in some patients resulted in total alopecia of the scalp.
Iron : The most common nutritional deficiency worldwide is iron deficiency. Clinical study results show a link between this iron deficiency and hair loss. However, the association of hair loss with low serum ferritin levels has been debated for many years because the mode of action of iron on the hair life cycle is not yet known.
Fatigue can also be linked to psychological events such as stress which disrupts the hair's life cycle by hastening the transition to the telogen phase promoting hair loss. Keep in mind that generally, fatigue does not in itself cause hair loss. However, it can be a symptom of a micronutrient deficiency, a chronic disease, or a psychological event that are responsible for side effects such as hair loss.
ALMOHANNA H. M. & al. The role of vitamins and minerals in hair loss: A review. Dermatology and Therapy (2019).