One of the oldest explanations for baldness in the Western world was the "exhaustion of nervous energy"—that is, the health and capability of the nervous system. In the 1881 book, American Nervousness, George W. Beard explains that baldness and many other problems increase at the expense of nervous energy due to the stress and strain of modern life.
Over the years, a few people have been interested in the ability of antihistamine drugs to completely reverse baldness. For instance, in a small group of ten women with so-called androgenic alopecia an antihistamine called cimetidine showed good to excellent regrowth of hair in seven out of the ten women. In addition to hair regrowth, acne, seborrhea, and hirsutism, which were present in three of the patients, showed significant improvement. Most of the women said that their scalps had become less greasy taking the drug similar to Hamilton's famous immune-to-baldness castrates.
One of my favorite films of 2014 was The Internet’s Own Boy, a film that chronicled the life and death of boy genius and anti-authoritarian activist, Aaron Swartz. Almost immediately after the film was over (you can watch it here on YouTube), I remember reaching out to my friend Karen to tell her how much I enjoyed the film. Half way into our conversation we both noted that Aaron had a great head of hair, and Karen went on to say that she noticed that Aaron’s hair seemed to dim during the times of the film that the documentary discussed Aaron’s digestive ailment, Crohn’s disease.
Recently, I've been writing about a possible explanation for the "horseshoe" shape of pattern baldness, as well as a more specific pathology for the loss hair. I tackled these subjects a little bit in The Baldness Field but ironically didn’t go over them at all in the book, Hair Like a Fox. I think this was because, 1) I didn’t know and, 2) I didn’t have the same access to research that I do now. Access to research is actually one of the biggest steps forward I’ve ever encountered, and being able to peruse the history of baldness—while others cannot—is a certifiable tragedy.
To understand the current state of the alternative health universe, you have to understand where Kurt Harris fits in. Kurt was one of the first intelligent people I came across in my health journey, and at the time, similar to Matt Stone, had a large effect on me. While some people think his synthesis propelled him into the territory of a Masterjohn or a Guyenet, I think his rise to stardom was mostly due to his humor.
After consuming only meat and water everyday for two years, there came a point where I felt like I was constantly on edge. This feeling was not only evident to me, but anyone who was around me on a regular basis, especially my former band mates. For instance, the singer of Takota, who I was closest to, told me that 99% of the time he was around he felt like he was walking on eggshells. This eggshell walking was most evident on tour, where I was a complete raging lunatic — regularly throwing temper tantrums in protest of the guitar player's actions who I had a love/hate relationship with. In retrospect, this orientation is almost expected given my my no-carb diet, which induced a state of near constant low blood sugar.
In 1950 Szasz et al. noticed something that anyone who has ever visited a baldness forum is well aware of: Men experiencing pattern baldness tend to have defensive attitudes. While one only needs to venture to the Hair Loss Help forum thread entitled, "If you're bald you don't need to kill yourself, you're already dead" to view an example of the despair and hopelessness in the balding community, Szasz et al. came to their conclusion after observing that "toothy smiles" and ridged facial expressions were common among balding males.
There are real differences between the frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital regions of the scalp. Mainline baldness research typically attributes these differences to the area's sensitivity to androgens, but a recent shift has taken place, propelling hair loss research out of the dark ages towards an era of holism.
In his book, The Living State, Albert Szent-Györgyi defined the complexity of life by the degree of "electronic desaturation" or the mobility of electrons. An electron itself, has no energy, but by dropping from a higher to a lower level, can give off energy.
Iron is a very basic anti-respiratory factor, inhibiting the last crucial step of oxidative mitochondrial metabolism, cytochrome c oxidase. Iron tends to accumulate with age in both sexes, but to a lesser degree in women due to the menstrual cycle. However, this "iron advantage"—which may help explain the increased longevity of females—is lost at menopause.
Tying together the role of unsaturated fats, carbon dioxide, progesterone, estrogen, prolactin, and thyroid in the genesis of pattern hair loss is the unusual phenomenon of neonatal "male-pattern baldness" (NPB).
Citizen hair loss scientists are certain about a few things:
- DHT, or rather the genetically determined androgen receptor, is the cause of baldness.
- Finasteride, minoxidil, and nizoral ("the big 3") are the only effective treatments for pattern hair loss.
- And most importantly, based on a series of deductions that have nothing to do with current body of evidence surrounding hair loss, they have determined that diet and lifestyle have nothing to do with the genesis of so-called male-pattern baldness.
In the 2013 release of, HAIR LIKE A FOX, I hypothesized that castrated males were resistant to baldness because they had higher levels of progesterone, and lower levels of estrogen and prolactin, which cause metabolic stress. Progesterone not only supports mitochondrial energy metabolism (which appears to go off the rails in pattern hair loss), but also efficient blood circulation in the scalp, which is impaired in baldness.
Recently, I was extremely fortunate to have a dump truck of papers I've been itching to read delivered to my inbox. The most notable was Paul Taylor's 2009 paper, Big head? Bald head? Skull expansion: alternative model for the primary mechanism of androgenic alopecia.
Because some of the ideas progressed in HAIR LIKE A FOX are consistently misrepresented (or misinterpreted), I thought it might be useful to attempt to mimic a Q and A format in order to provide clarity on topics I might have failed to address clearly in the book.
The idea that genes are running the show, or "genetic determinism" courses through the veins of medical and diet culture. It has been slightly modified over the years with the emerging field of "epigenetics" (i.e., genes are "turned on or off" by environmental factors), but the message is still clear: We must conquer our inherited blueprints—"the genes"—if we wish to be problem free.
A couple of weekends ago, I was able to witness a few friends drop acid and wander through the vineyards of Napa Valley. This was entertaining for two reasons, 1) many of my friends are ballet dancers and upon taking the drug began an assault on the senses with aerial acrobatics, and 2) lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is a serotonin antagonist (Martin, 1985; Gaddum and Hameed, 1954; Savini, 1956), suggesting that their actions during that time were ostensibly related to their drowned out serotonin levels.