Is the gym making you bald?
Men who actively keep fit may be inadvertently speeding-up hair loss.
According to experts, weight-lifting in the gym may play a key role in a man’s receding mane – especially if combined with the consumption of popular protein powders.
The theory is based on the belief that, when combined, these two factors increase the body’s testosterone and Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels, which are considered key causes of baldness.
Although naturally-produced, DHT – which is a converted version of testosterone – quickly attaches itself to a man’s hair strand’s receptor cells, blocking the absorption of essential nutrients.
Over time, this gradually causes the follicles to shrink and the hair to wither until it eventually dies.
Thus, by fitness fanatics increasing their exposure to DHI, gym-goers are also risking an earlier on-set of shedding and loss.
Dr Hair Transplant Surgeon at The Private Clinic of Harley Street, told the Daily Express: ‘Protein shakes will very often contain growth hormones such as Creatine and DHEA, which not only increase muscle mass, but also increase testosterone levels in the bloodstream.
‘Testosterone produces a chemical known as DHT, which actually contributes to baldness when the hair follicles become exposed to too much. Sadly, this is something that most men are unaware of, until they notice that their hair loss has already become more apparent.’
However, this can be side-stepped if people swap weights for cardio – and skip the shakes.
Additionally, the issue will only manifest if a person is already predisposed to male pattern baldness.
‘It is important to distinguish between cause and effect here. Protein shakes do not cause hair loss,’ Dr continued.
‘They do, however, accelerate hair loss for those men who suffer with androgenetic hair loss or alternatively, those who are predisposed to balding, as many men are.’
Currently, there are a relatively limited treatments available. Clinical trials repeatedly prove that the only real options are Minoxidil and Finasteride.
At the moment, over 90 per cent of hair loss treatments contain the compound Minoxidil, which was originally created as a blood thinning agent but works in some men to reduce hair loss.
It can be effective if used early to prevent hair loss rather than to grow new hair and is found in the UK in products such as Regaine.
Meanwhile, Finasteride – an oral tablet – reduces DHT by blocking 5-alpha reductase.
It was not originally designed to combat baldness, but began to appear in pharmacies when some men being treated for enlarged prostates – also thought to be caused by increased levels of DHT – noticed their hair had not only stopped receding but had begun to grow back thicker and stronger than before.
Some users have complained that the drug causes permanent and unwelcome side-effects – including impotency – but the pharma company which produces it, Merck, claims this happens with just 2 per cent of users.
Thankfully, hair transplants are an increasingly-viable.
The principle behind most surgeries is to move hair from an area of thick hair to an area of thinning hair or bald skin.*