Conventional wisdom suggests that elevated levels of testosterone are a large piece of the hair loss puzzle. The most popular theory explaining the genesis of hair loss states that an overactive 5-alpha reductase enzyme (5-AR) creates an excess of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) resulting in the miniaturization and loss of the hair follicle.
Free Testosterone > 5-Alpha Reductase > DHT > Hair Loss
My research suggests that the following are the most prominent factors in male pattern baldness:
Adrenaline <> Estrogen <> Prolactin <> Serotonin <> Cortisol <> Aldosterone
Many have asked if DHT and other androgens are factors in hair loss and if they are, how do they relate to this "new model" of hair loss?
Excess androgens are part of the picture, but they are likely "downstream" from the above hormones. Because Finasteride works for a significant percentage of men, manipulating excess androgens through diet is probably worthwhile.
Subjects with premature hair loss can exhibit elevated levels of estrogen as well as androstenedione (androgen). An increase in androgens can be induced by administering estrogen.
Estrogen is increased by polyunsaturated fat intake, low-sugar dieting, excessive exercise, nutrient deficiencies, low thyroid, low protein diets, and low calorie dieting. Dr. Peat has numerous articles on the subject:
"It has recently been demonstrated that estrogen stimulates the adrenal glands, independently of the pituitary's ACTH. This can increase the production of adrenal androgens, leading to hirsutism, and other male traits, including anabolic effects."
Hair Loss Orgasm-O-Meter
Libido for males losing their hair is a mixed bag. Some have none at all, while others are completely sex-crazed. Without labs, the intensity of one's orgasm can reveal possible imbalances in estrogen and prolactin. Dr. Peat explains:
"High estrogen does sometimes cause insatiable sexual interest, partly because it increases adrenal androgens, and partly by inhibiting satisfying orgasms. Too much progesterone can suppress or neutralize the androgens. Thyroid is the best way to regulate the system, keeping libido up, making orgasms satisfying."
Edema, puffy morning face, food allergies ("leaky gut"), and low thyroid are other indicators that estrogen may be a problem.
A more relevant flow chart may look like this:
Stress > Estrogen > Excess Androgens > Hair Loss
- The liver is responsible for estrogen detoxification; feed it enough protein and sugar so it can do its job.
- Vitamin E is an anti-estrogen that can be deficient in even the most advanced diets. Low-dose supplementation may be warranted, especially for those with iron overload.
- Vitamins A, E, D, B6, and K all have anti-estrogen-like effects.