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Battling baldness: The potions that really work.

06.10.2009 in HAIR LOSS FACTS


My three-year-old son loves it when I carry him on my shoulders. Sadly, I’m rather going off the idea – because a couple of weeks ago, George made a discovery while he was up there. ‘Daddy,’ he said. ‘You’ve got a bald patch.’

How did he even know what such a thing is? I blame his mother. What, I asked him, does ‘bald’ mean? ‘It’s when your hair has all fallen out on the ground,’ said George. Thanks very much for reminding me.

He’s right. I’m the only one of my parents’ children to be losing their hair, which is gradually disappearing from my crown, disfiguring happy family photos and making me feel old. Pah! I hate baldness!


Bald spread: Experts say half of men have lost a significant amount of hair by the time they are 50

The experts say that 50 per cent of men have lost a significant amount of hair by the age of 50. I just wish I was in the other 50 per cent.

Then again, it occurs to me that if baldness cannot be successfully staved off by the likes of Elton John (millionaire, very vain) or the Prince of Wales (lives in a palace, eats organic food, also probably rather vain), what chance is there of ordinary folk finding an anti-baldness cure that works?

In fact, there are all sorts of products out there – from pills and lotions to a laserpowered comb – that will slow down hair loss, even reverse it. Or so they say.

I decided to consult an expert. Dr Andrew Messenger is a consultant dermatologist at the Royal Hallamshire hospital, Sheffield, and specialises in male hair loss.

Dr Messenger says no one knows the precise cause, but three things need to coincide: the wrong genes; the presence of DHT, a highly concentrated form of the male sex hormone testosterone; and age.

As for the value of hair-loss products, he says: ‘There’s no doubt that people who are losing their hair are vulnerable to companies looking to make a quick buck. Men worry about losing their hair; they feel less physically attractive. It strikes very deep within us as human beings.

‘Even the ancient Egyptians used potions to treat balding. I guess going bald reminds us that we are getting older.

‘I see patients who have spent thousands of pounds on remedies for which there is no evidence at all.

‘If there were a product that you had to take once and it stopped you going bald, probably all men would use it, provided it were safe and had no side-effects. But we’re nowhere near that.’

‘The very best products will achieve an improvement of around 10 to 15 per cent in hair density. But what many men don’t realise is that you have to keep on using them for ever to maintain this improvement, otherwise you’ll simply go back to where you were before you started.

‘You’d do best to begin using them before you go very bald,’ says Dr Messenger. ‘You really need to start as soon as you notice any proper hair loss, if it’s that much of a problem for you.’

So, which cures will help you achieve that 15 per cent, and which should you leave alone?

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Hair loss and lifestyle

02.10.2009 in HAIR LOSS FACTS


While genetic factors seem to play the principal role in the development and progression of androgenic alopecia, lifestyle also plays a minor role as demonstrated by the vast increase in male and female pattern baldness in Japan after World War II Pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia) was either rare or non-existent among hunter-gatherer and other, less westernized societies eating in their traditional manner.

One study did show that free testosterone is lower 24 hours after intense aerobic exercise in men who already have high endurance but it was not investigated whether that level remains lowered beyond that point, or whether that lowering affects male pattern baldness in any way. It has been suggested that weight training may have a detrimental effect on hair by increasing testosterone levels; however, there is at least one study that indicates a decline in free testosterone as result of weight training.

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Hormone levels correlated with androgenic alopecia



Men with androgenic alopecia typically have lower levels of total testosterone, higher levels of unbound/free testosterone, and higher levels of total free androgens including DHT.

5-alpha-reductase is responsible for converting free testosterone into DHT. The genes for 5-alpha-reductase are known. The enzymes are present predominantly in the scalp and prostate. Levels of 5alpha-reductase are one factor in determining levels of DHT in the scalp and drugs which interfere with 5alpha-reductase (such as finasteride, which inhibits the predominant type 2 isoform) have been approved by the FDA as treatments for hair loss.

Sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), which is responsible for binding testosterone and preventing its bioavailability and conversion to DHT, is typically lower in individuals with high DHT. SHBG is downregulated by insulin.

Increased levels of Insulin Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1) have been correlated to vertex balding.

High insulin levels seem the likely link between metabolic syndrome and baldness. Low levels of SHBG in men and non-pregnant women are also correlated with glucose intolerance and diabetes risk, though this correlation disappears during pregnancy.

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Hair loss and genetics


Much research has gone into the genetic component of male pattern baldness, or androgenic alopecia (AGA). Research indicates that susceptibility to premature male pattern baldness is largely X-linked. Other genes that aren’t sex linked are also involved.


Large studies in 2005 and 2007 stress the importance of the maternal line in the inheritance of male pattern baldness. German researchers name the androgen receptor gene as the cardinal prerequisite for balding. They conclude that a certain variant of the androgen receptor is needed for AGA to develop. In the same year the results of this study were confirmed by other researchers. This gene is recessive and a female would need two X chromosomes with the defect to show typical male pattern alopecia. Seeing that androgens and their interaction with the androgen receptor are the cause of AGA it seems logical that the androgen receptor gene plays an important part in its development.

Other research in 2007 suggests another gene on the X chromosome, that lies close to the androgen receptor gene, is an important gene in male pattern baldness. They found the region Xq11-q12 on the X-chromosome to be strongly associated with AGA in males. They point at the EDA2R gene as the gene that is mostly associated with AGA.

Other genes involved with hair loss have been found. One of them being a gene on chromosome 3. The gene is located at 3q26. This gene is recessive.

Another gene that might be involved in hair loss is the P2RY5. This gene is linked to hair structure. Certain variants can lead to baldness at birth, while another variant causes “wooly hair.”


In May 2009, researchers in Japan identified a gene, Sox21, that appears to be responsible for hair loss in people.


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Diabetes and Hair Loss.



If you have diabetes and you start losing your hair, you may be experiencing diabetes related hair loss. Although the connection was long thought to have already been established, the link between diabetes and hair loss needs to be further studied. Looking however at the basic facts about diabetes and hair loss may help you understand why there might be a real connection.

Hair Basics

Before looking into the possible links between hair loss and diabetes, let us first examine and understand both their basics. Human head hair may seem to have no function other than for appearance. Still, the human hair is still a part of the human body, and thus, still stand to benefit or suffer from anything that is going on in the other parts of your body.

Hair grows from a root and follicle located underneath the human scalp. The hair grows and is nourished by through the bloodstream which transports nutrients from the body to the hair roots and follicles. If there your body does not have sufficient nutrients or does not have proper blood circulation, hair growth and health is also affected.

Hair Loss Basics

There may be no immediate link between diabetes and hair loss in your specific case. There are many reasons why people lose their hair and it is important to first rule out other reasons for hair loss before concluding your diabetes and hair loss conditions.

Just like diabetes, hair loss is also affected by genetic factors. It is estimated that 95% of people who suffer from hair loss have androgenetic alopecia which is a hair loss condition that is brought about by genes and hormonal activity. Check first if you have this before thinking of the possibility of diabetes. However, since both conditions have genetic components, you may want to take a look at the rest of your family members and relatives. Balding relatives who are also diabetic may indicate that you may share a similar future.

Diabetes and Hair Loss

The link between hair loss and diabetes may be best identified by examining the nature of diabetes and what it does to the body. Diabetes is the body’s condition in which people either cannot produce the insulin that our body needs or cannot respond properly to it. When a person has a diabetes condition, glucose cannot always enter the body cells to provide it with the energy it need. Since there is an excess of unused glucose, it will start accumulating in the bloodstream. Along with high blood sugar levels, fat deposits may now also begin to attach on blood vessel walls, ultimately clogging blood passageways. When blood passageways are clogged, improper blood flow and poor circulation circulation ensue.

As previously explained, the hair’s source of primary nutrition is the blood. Poor circulation may mean poor hair health. Poor blood flow can also result in infections and skin irritations among diabetics. The scalp is of course still a part of the skin which may be infected too and result in hair loss.

The Diet

If your hair loss is caused by diabetes, you may have harder time dealing with it than an ordinary hair loss condition. This is because in an ordinary hair loss, the condition may be treated with nutritional supplements and proper diet. However, if your hair loss is caused by diabetes, you will have to consider following a diet that is more proper as a diabetic rather than a person suffering from a hair loss. In such case, you will have to consult your doctor for a proper dietary plan before tackling your hair loss condition.

Vitastim and Biostim used together are proven treatments for female-pattern baldness. Most users see improvements, including a halt to the balding or slowing down of it, as well as thicker hair.

In order to treat hair loss effectively we would recommend that you have a diagnosis made as soon as possible by one of our experienced Westminster Trichologists. Stress can be an aggravator in almost all cases of hair loss and an accurate diagnosis will always, at the very least, take some of the stress away from you.

Gary Heron says: “You’ll have access to the most effective treatments available through The Hair Centre and at a fraction of the cost of going to other Private Commercial Clinics and Centres.”

When it’s time to see the Trichologist: If you begin losing hair rapidly, and or are cosmetically concerned about baldness, consult your Trichologist about treatment options. You can receive a free hair loss consultation with a Westminster Trichologist at our Hair Centre.

The point is that you are not getting to the real problem and you should seek specific professional advice from a Westminster Trichologist.

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