It`s a popular belief that hair loss affects women only. However, the truth is that men and children are as prone to hair loss as women. Many factors contribute to hair loss, but androgen, a hormone derived from testosterone, is believed to be one of the main causes.
The entire body is covered in various types of hair, except for the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands. Of course, not all types of hair are the same- some of them are hardly visible while others are thicker and much more noticeable.
Hair consists of protein, a substance produced in the hair follicles. During the production of new hair cells, the old ones are removed through the skin`s surface. As a matter of fact, the hair on the surface of the skin is actually a string of dead skin cells.
Losing Your Hair: What Causes It?
An average adult head has 100,000-150,000 hairs, and most people lose up to 100 hairs on a daily basis. This is the reason why you may find hair strands on your hairbrush, particularly after showering.
There are many factors that affect hair loss, such as:
- Iron deficiency
- Stress ( physical and emotional)
- Drugs, such as chemotherapy
- Medical conditions such as thyroid disorders
Testosterone travels in the blood attached to sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). When attached to SHBG, it`s considered inactive and when not bound, it`s called free testosterone.
Free testosterone is usually turned into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) by the enzyme 5-alpha reductase. Low amounts of SHBG equals higher amounts of free testosterone, and more available of it to be converted to DHT. Nearly 5 percent of free testosterone is converted to DHT, the compound that cause the hair follicles to have a shorter lifespan and to shrink.
9 Treatments for Hair Loss
1. Saw Palmetto
The effectiveness of saw palmetto lies in its ability to inhibit the conversion of testosterone into DHT. High levels of this compound are linked to hair loss while high levels of testosterone are liked to hair growth.
As the conversion is inhibited, testosterone levels increase, reducing hair loss and promote hair re-growth. It is recommended to take 160 mg twice daily.
2. Pygeum (Prunus Africana)
It works by blocking 5-alpha reductase enzyme from converting testosterone to DHT.
3. Nettle Root
Just like pygeum, this herb is also known to stop 5-alpha reductase enzyme from converting testosterone to DHT.
4. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are packed with delta-7 stearine, a steroid that blocks the accumulation of DHT in the hair follicle. Consequently, DHT is unable to affect the hair follicle.
5. Tomatoes, Watermelon, Carrots, and Mangoes
All of the aforementioned foods contain lycopene, a compound that blocks DHT by stopping 5 alpha reductase from converting testosterone into DHT.
6. Almonds, Walnuts, Peanuts, and Pecans
They are loaded with L-lysine, a compound that acts as natural DHT inhibitor.
7. Spinach, Kale, Cashews, Wheat Germ, and Cooked White Mushrooms
These foods are rich in zinc, a well-known DHT inhibitor.
8. Green Tea
Green tea contains Epigallocatechin-3-Gallate, or EGCG, a compound that blocks the production of DHT and reduces its levels notably.
Fenugreek is yet another powerful inhibitor of the conversion of testosterone to DHT.
More Tips for Reducing Hair Loss
Keep optimal levels of SHBG in order to leave less free testosterone to be converted to DHT. SHBG reduces with obesity, which means that keeping a healthy body weight optimizes SHBG levels.
Since DHT is far more damaging when there are high levels of inflammation within the body, reduce inflammation by following a healthy diet high in omega-3 fats.
Biotin is yet another nutrient needed for healthy hair, as it helps create a healthy environment for the hair to grow. Solid sources of biotin include tuna, salmon, eggs, legumes, Swiss chard, peanuts, berries, bananas, and wheat germ.