DHT and Hair Loss

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People who work out, particularly those who are actively engaged in bodybuilding, may quickly learn about the negative effects of bodybuilding on one’s hairline. In other words, those who engage in vigorous bodybuilding and related activities are at an increased risk of losing their hair, as well as having to deal with increased acne, and enlargened prostates in men. Interestingly, many scientists have linked hair loss to DHT. Androgens, including synthetic and naturally produced testosterone, can be converted into DHT via the 5AR enzyme (5-alpha-reductase inhibitor).  As a result, having more 5AR in one’s bloodstream will trigger increased production of DHT, which generally leads to increased hair loss and eventual baldness.

Interestingly, scientists have tried to develop 5AR inhibitors to retard or permanently stop hair loss, with limited results. For instance, in one study, the use of 5AR inhibitors, such as Saw Palmetto and Proscar in subjects was able to slow down the progression of hair loss in subjects but were unable to permanently  stop hair loss, nor were they able to trigger the regrowth of lost hair at the desired level. Furthermore, the study found that the primary reason why people lose their hair is due to an autoimmune response whereby the body attacks the hair follicles, because it perceives them to be an invading pathogen. By doing so the scalp becomes inflamed from the chemical reaction, causing subsequent hair loss.

Unfortunately, DHT seems to be the root cause of the aforementioned reaction. Scientists have discovered that it is DHT that seems to cause the transmutation of hair follicles that leads to the malevolent autoimmune response that leads to hair loss. However, there is hope. For example, the organ rejection suppressing drug known as Cyclosporine has been known to trigger rapid hair growth in patients who underwent organ transplantation surgery.  It is important to note, however, that the drug is primarily used for patients recovering from surgery, and its effects on otherwise healthy patients may prove fatal.

In addition, while DHT and its affiliated immunological response are the primary culprits for hair loss, there are other variables to factor as well; including, but not limited to, Nitric Oxide, nutrition, and SODases.  Anabolic steroids have also been linked to hair loss, although it seems that only those that already have a genetic predisposition to hair loss are vulnerable.  In regards to testosterone, studies have shown that men who have elevated amounts of testosterone are more likely to develop vertex baldness.

In sum, one’s genetic makeup has a huge influence on hair loss.  While testosterone and DHT have a role in hair loss, it is one’s hair follicle sensitivity-that plays the biggest role. That is, it is the AR gene that triggers the formation of the hair follicle receptors that interact with DHT and testosterone.  The more sensitive a person’s receptors are the more likely they are to react to even the smallest DHT secretions. Thus, while steroids, bodybuilding, stress, age, diet, diseases, and other factors may have an impact, the primary cause of hair loss and male pattern baldness is genetics.


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