Hair loss can be a problem in both men and women which occurs when new strands of hair are not growing back in the place of the ones you lose daily. The reasons can be many. Including autoimmune diseases, infections, stress, medications, radiation, and even certain hairstyling.
Yet, the most common cause is androgenic alopecia which is a hereditary condition and leads to a typical pattern hair loss. As you can guess from the name, hormones play a huge role in its development.
In this article, you can find all about the current scientific evidence of hormone-related hair loss and the latest hormonal therapies that might reverse the condition.
How Can Hormones Affect Hair Growth?
Androgenic alopecia is caused by a combination of genetic and hormonal factors. A major role in its occurrence is played by the androgenic hormones, particularly the one called dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
The androgens are also known as the hair growth hormones since they are the main regulators of the process after puberty. However, the hair at various body sites responds differently to DHT which is known as the androgen paradox.
Androgens act as positive mediators of hair growth in the pubic and axillary areas and the beard in men. On the contrary, DHT does not express the same effects on the scalp. Instead, the androgens suppress hair growth by activating a wide range of negative mediators. Ultimately, it leads to shrinking hair follicles and eventually hair loss.
This is why elevated DHT levels in sensitive men and women can lead to the typical male and female-pattern baldness.
Male-pattern hair loss starts with receding hairline and loss of the hair on top of the head. The men suffering from androgenic alopecia have high levels of testosterone, but also high levels of 5-α reductase. The latter is an enzyme that converts testosterone into DHT and increases its negative effects on the scalp.
Androgenic alopecia in women is also caused by the effects of DHT on the scalp. Women also have some levels of testosterone and DHT although much lower when compared to men.
However, the decline of the female hormones during menopause leads to a hormonal imbalance. Low estrogen increases the relative effects of DHT on the hair follicles and causes a typical female pattern hair loss that affects the whole scalp and leads to the overall thinning of the hair.
Does HGH Grow Hair?
In contrast with androgens, HGH effects on hair growth are not selective. Lack of GH will lead to problems in hair growth both on your head and body.
For example, people with insensitivity to HGH have problems with the hair on their scalp in combination with other symptoms. The condition is called Laron syndrome and the patients affected have thin and receding hair, eventually developing alopecia.
Body hair development is also inhibited in growth hormone deficiency, again suggesting that growth hormone is an essential hormone for hair growth.
Furthermore, the study in growth hormone-deficient men revealed that the replacement therapy significantly helped body and facial hair growth.
The majority of research is still ongoing but the evidence so far is encouraging that HGH can restore hair, especially in patients with growth hormone deficiency.
Can HGH Cause Hair Loss?
Insulin Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1) is an anabolic hormone that is the main mediator of the HGH effects. It is proven to stimulate the growth of hair follicles and reduce the risk of follicle cell deaths.
The androgens such as DHT stimulate IGF-1 expression in body hair, but reduces its secretion in the hair follicles on your scalp, leading to hair loss.
HGH does not have such negative effects because it triggers IGF-1 production in the liver and its effects stimulate the growth of the hair on your scalp (in both sexes), body and facial hair (in men).
Currently, there is no evidence that high growth hormone levels might be bad for your hair. However, low HGH might even increase the negative effects of DHT according to researchers.
DHT is produced from testosterone under the effect of the enzyme 5-α reductase
A study has revealed a link between low HGH levels and hair loss. It reported that GH deficiency combined with other hormonal deficiencies increases 5-α reductase activity and raises DHT levels.
Another study showed that HGH therapy in growth hormone-deficient men led to a reduction in DHT levels. Inhibiting 5-α reductase activity and lowering DHT is the target of most commonly used hair loss treatments.
How to Treat Hormone-Related Hair Loss?
The treatment of androgenetic alopecia usually involves a couple of common pharmaceuticals – topical use of the vasodilator Minoxidil and oral use of the 5-α reductase blocker Finasteride.
However, current research suggests that growth hormone-deficient adults who experience hair loss lack response to the typical androgenic-alopecia treatment. Because of this fact, HGH therapy in such cases is strongly recommended.
HGH therapy offers a new potential treatment for people experiencing hormone-related hair loss and alopecia thanks to its effects on the IGF-1
IGF-1 is shown to be a key stimulant in the proliferation of follicle cells and hair growth. Multiple studies in animals support it as a safe and efficient treatment for hair loss.
How to Prevent Hair Loss?
Various foods and supplements can act as 5-α reductase inhibitors.
For example, it might be a good idea to switch from coffee to black or green tea as your main source of caffeine. The polyphenols of black tea – theaflavins are powerful 5-α reductase inhibitors. A study in animals has revealed that black tea lowers DHT levels by 72% and 5-α reductase levels by 89%. The isoflavones contained in green tea can also significantly reduce DHT levels according to studies.
Make sure to eat fish at least 2-3 times per week and a handful of seeds daily. Flax seeds, walnuts, fatty fish, and liquid vegetable oils are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) such as omega-6 and omega-3 which also inhibit 5-α reductase activity and might help in preventing hair loss.
An unhealthy habit to avoid, if you want to keep your hair, is smoking. Inhaling or ingesting nicotine can inhibit the natural breakdown of DHT and prolong its effects on the hair follicles according to studies. Men who smoke also tend to have higher levels of androgens in the blood.
Hair loss is a frustrating experience that can have a significant negative impact on the confidence and mental well-being of most people. Commonly used therapies can lead to undesired side-effects and they are rarely effective in patients with growth hormone deficiency.
Considering the significant impact of HGH and IGF-1 on normal hair growth, growth hormone therapy presents itself as a potent and effective treatment. We at Best HGH Doctors and Clinics can give you exceptional care thanks to our highly qualified staff and brilliant endocrinologists.