A person self-image plays an important role in both men and women daily lives. Many think it’s only women that struggle with this, but the fact is that most men struggle with it too at some stage in their lives. For men body-image is a critical factor of their self-image, this includes anything from their height, weight to hair loss. Most men are just not that ” verbal ” about the fact, and are ” secretively fighting ” an ongoing battle with themselves.
Hair loss or going bald effects nearly 2/3 of men by the age of 35 ( in the US ), and by the age of 50 approximately 85% of men will have notably experience thinning hair. Though these figures will frighten most ( if not all ) men and ultimately they will resort to extreme measures ( shave it all off to hair implants ), it is important to understand why men go bald in the first place. And is there anything that can be done about it ? Here are some facts.
Hormones and Genetics
Though there are a number of reasons why men go bald, 95% of all cases are due to Androgenic Alopecia or Common Male Pattern Baldness ( MPB ). The remainder 5% are due to Medical problems such as Anemia, Thyroid, Cancer, diabetes or Lupus, environmental factors such as stress or insomnia, Vitamin-Nutrient-Mineral deficiency such as low protein and Iron intake and side effects due to certain medications treating Arthritis, Gout, High blood pressure, Heart disease and depression.
If we look at the top 95% – Androgenic Alopecia, it is interesting to see what hormones and genetics plays a part in it. Keratin 37 ( KRT37) is the only keratin regulated by Androgens. Androgens are steroid hormones that assist with the development, maintenance and regulates the male characteristics, such as male sex organs, male developments during puberty ( including hair growth ). Androgens and Keratin 37 are much less on the scalp. This contributes to Androgenic Alopecia.
Though Androgens are found in both male and female, the main Androgen present in men is Testosterone. Androstenedione and Dihydrotestosterone ( DHT ) are important for the development of male characteristics ( in utro the development of the penis, scrotum and prostate). High levels of DHT and Testosterone are found to be one of the main causes of balding. Men with adequate or normal amounts of these hormones are found not to develop premature Androgenic Alopecia ( balding).
In the Middle Ages choir boys with angelic voices were castrated before puberty to stop DHT and Testosterone level to rise, this way their voices did not change or deepen. It was also noted that none of these boys ever went bald.
DHT is not a bad hormone, all men need it. During puberty, it is responsible for a number of changes to take place. And later in life it maintains men sexual health.
- Deepening of the voice
- Growth of the testicles ( for sperm production), Penis and Scrotum
- Increase of muscle
- Increase of body hair
- Fertility & sexual health
A relatively small percentage of Testosterone is converted to DHT with the assistance of an enzyme ( 5-alpha Reductase). The converted DHT passes trough the blood stream and then link to receptors ( follicles ) on the scalp. This causes the follicles to shrink which lead to hair thinning or balding. Higher than normal levels of DHT may cause other problems down the line and may include
- Enlarged prostate
- Prostate Cancer
- Heart disease
- Poor/slow healing of skin
Now some would think, ” OK, just give me something to lower my Testosterone and DHT levels “. If only it was as simple as that. Having low or inadequate amounts of Testosterone and DHT may have negative effects, during puberty as well as later in life.
- Delayed or incomplete development of sex organs
- Erectile dysfunction
- Fertility problems ( low sperm count )
- Low sex drive
- Reduction of bone mass ( could lead to Osteoporosis )
- Decrease muscle mass
- Increase body fat
I’m sure for what you can see, it would be in any mans’ interest to maintain healthy levels of Testosterone and DHT throughout their lives. It would seem that low levels have even greater health risks or implications. A chance, I would believe many wouldn’t take. ( Or I would hope not ).
As for the genetic aspect of Male baldness, if you have a predisposition towards hair thinning or baldness it would be more likely that you would develop it too. It is not currently known whether this gene is passed from your mother of father.
Myths and Old wives tales
There are many Myths that have gone around for years making men believe that anyone of them are ” actually the cause ” of them losing their hair. You have maybe even heard of some. It must be noted that none are true nor have they been proven to be a cause.
- You inherited it from your mother
- Sunbathing/tanning will make your hair fall out
- Wearing a hat or cap will make your hair fall out
- Dandruff causes hair loss
- Shampooing causes hair loss
- Hair products causes hair loss
- Masturbation or being more sexually active causes hair loss
- Carbohydrates causes hair loss
- Only if you over 50 will you become bald
I’m sure many can see that these myths are completely absurd, however people still believe that some of them are ” the main cause”.
Relax – There is hope
For many, going bald is potentially a genetic factor ( same as going grey ). It doesn’t mean you have to just stand back and let nature take it course. There are natural ways you can normalize testosterone and in turn be healthier, assist with better hair growth or the restoration of hair growth and ultimately be happier. Here are some ” tips ” on how to get it done.
- Vitamin B12 & B6 – These vitamins assist with overall body health it also plays a huge part in proper blood flow to the skin, scalp and hair follicles. They will not allow your hair to grow back, but it will allow for thicker and healthier hair.
- Pumpkin Seed oil – Pumpkin seed oil is an amazing DHT – Blocker. It doesn’t lower the testosterone, but it does block the DHT from binding with 5-alpha Reductase which will allow for hair growth.
- Biotin – Biotin assists in maintaining and promoting Keratin production ( found in hair, skin and nails ). Studies suggest Biotin may assist with the re-growth of hair as well as stop hair from falling out. Biotin is often taken as a supplement, but are also present in certain food ( Egg-Yolks, Whole grains, Nuts, bananas, Avocado and Liver ).
- Pygeum Bark – A DHT – Blocking herb. Usually found in the for of a supplement. Pygeum bark has been used to treat prostate related issues ( such as enlarged prostate ). It is anti inflammatory and aid in the production of testosterone.
- Magnesium & Zinc – Supplementing with both of these will assist with maintaining healthy levels of testosterone. As well as increase low levels.
- Vitamin D – Boosts Testosterone levels as well as increase your sperm quality. Usually when Vit D levels drop, so does testosterone. Can be taken as a supplement as well as found in food ( Salmon, Tuna, milk, eggs & grains ).
- Creatine – Assist with the increase of testosterone. Creatine are naturally found in fish ( salmon & Tuna ) as well in Beef.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol – This lowers testosterone levels
- Exercise – Adequate exercise assist to increase testosterone levels
- Maintain a healthy diet and enough sleep – Both of these will help maintain healthy testosterone levels.
- Loose weight – Shed some extra pounds. Studies have shown men with too much excess weight have lower testosterone levels.
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As we age our bodies change notably, from the way we look to the way we feel. We cannot expect to look and feel the way we did when we were in our 20s. But we can take some control as to what the outcome will be. You might be genetically predisposition towards going bald or be subject to other genetic genes. However, with relatively small healthy adjustments to your life you can curb the ” inevitable “.
There are a number of natural hair products that could assist with thinning hair or balding. These products are formulated with no artificial colorants, fragrances or toxins. Stimulating hair follicles and assisting with good blood circulation to the scalp are a absolute must for anyone experiencing hair loss.
Loosing your hair or going bald does not define you as a man. This is an external persona that some will allow to manifest in a real fear. A fear or insecurity only you can take control of. One day, you will look back and regret not taking action on things that could have made a real difference to your body and health. There is no better time like the present – so act on it.
Leave some comments below, and let me know how going bald has effect you.
Until next time