Research on hair loss (which had baffled scientists for decades) is now quite advanced and has shown that the number one cause of hair loss in men is a condition known as Androgenic Alopecia (ie. hair loss caused by high level of certain "male hormones")
New research has also shown two additional factors believed to be making the problem worse. They are:
So, in order to minimize our chances of thinning hair we need to do 3 things (all of which I am going to give you tips on):
Let's to through these one at a time and I will give you some great tips for dealing with each.
For years now, researchers believed Androgenic Alopecia was caused by male hormone, testosterone (present in females too but in smaller amounts).
While testosterone is involved in balding, another hormone known as DHT is now believed to be the true culprit.
DHT (full name Dihydrotestosterone) is a byproduct of testosterone and is to be considered public enemy number 1 when it comes to your hair.
DHT can shrink hair your follicles, which will make it near impossible for strong, healthy hair to grow or survive.
The problem that we have as athletes and bodybuilders is that we live lifestyles and often take supplements which can raise testosterone.
Increased testosterone is generally a good thing because it helps us to build muscle and strength and lose bodyfat...
... increased testosterone can also lead to higher levels of DHT in our bodies.
(Of course, a smart training regimen and healthy nutrition program are great ways keep your body healthy and strong and minimize your chances of losing your hair but there is more you can do.)
Because DHT is implicated in hair loss, many hair restoration drugs claim to lower or even completely block DHT in the body.
In fact, there are only two drugs currently approved by the FDA to fight Androgenic Alopecia. They are minoxidil (ROGAINE®) and finasteride (Propecia®).
The big problem with both of these drugs is that I and other users have experienced unwanted side effects.
Minoxidil (ROGAINE®) is a topical treatment which causes some users to report blurred vision.
The second treatment, finasteride (Propecia®), is a drug which blocks DHT throughout the whole body. The serious problem with this is that DHT plays a significant role in muscle mass, strength, sex drive and sexual function ... so blocking DHT throughout the whole body isnt too smart (what's the point of being in shape, if you're sexually impaired?! - doesnt that defeat the whole purpose ;)
But how do you do this?
Here's where the story gets interesting.
A compound known as Polysorbate 80 was first popularized in the best selling book Life Extension: A Scientific Approach.
Polysorbate 80 is a very simple and completely safe food additive.
In the book the authors stated using Polysorbate 80 in studies had resulted in a 60% average hair regrowth - WOW! And this was after only 6 months of use!
There are two theories as to how Polysorbate 80 works:
First, as a cleanser (deep cleaning), surfactant (lowers the surface tension of a liquid), and emulsifier (stabilizer and thickening agent) it helps clear the hair follicle of DHT - this is good.
Second, it is known to trigger a histamine release, this will increase blood flow and nutrients to the hair follicle - also good.
So why is everyone not using this???
Sales of hair loss treatments generate tens of millions of dollars annually and to have something cost-effective and freely-available threatens that.
In fact, it is so controversial that it went to trial in 1992. Despite over a hundred witnesses willing to testify that Polysorbate 80 produces excellent results for them, the outcome was it became illegal to claim Polysorbate 80 aided in hair regrowth.
"So all I need to do is get some polysorbate 80???"
Not quite! There's more you need to know first....
If you are an athlete or bodybuilder, you already know that "clean" foods are essential to health and success in our sports.
Not only that but a diet which is as natural and organic as possible will help us improve our bodies and sports performance AND give us a better chance of keeping our hair.
If you are worried about thinning hair you need to get a handle on the systemic chronic inflammation which many people have hidden in their bodies, as a result of eating foods their bodies do not tolerate well. We all know that chronic inflammation is a factor in many serious disorders but not many people do not know it is also a factor in hair loss.
Research has shown that any thinning hair treatment needs to address inflammation to be effective. Addressing inflammation will not only improve your health but will be another checkmark on your side when it comes fighting hair loss. Increase your consumption of anti-oxidants such as a high quality fish oil and try removing or at least reducing these foods from your diet:
I'm not telling you to live like a saint but you'll probably feel better AND get a little leaner :-)
In addition, some people report improved hair health when they stick closely to an organic diet avoiding modern processed foods and eat more grass-fed meat, fruit, fish and vegetables.
It goes without saying what you eat will affect how well your hair grows.
All vitamins and minerals will have an impact on your body, but when it comes to hair growth there is one superstar, biotin.
Biotin is a B vitamin and is often referred to as the "go to" vitamin for hair growth. Biotin is found in many found including swiss chard, nuts, chicken eggs*, berries, halibut and vegetables.
You read that right...egg whites, the high protein, low fat staple of any athlete or bodybuilder could actually cause a biotin deficiency!
This is no joke, avidin is a glyco-protein that is found in egg whites that binds very specifically to biotin especially if you are eating raw egg whites. Personally I take no chances and have been taking a biotin supplement for years.
Hair loss seems to be on the increase in recent years and as I mentioned above, one factor which is often implicated is pollution in our environment, our homes and our foods.
As a bodybuilder worried about hair loss myself I researched all of these issues in great detail.
After doing a ton of research and learning from many experts, I realized something that really worried me...
This is what I learned:
Most shampoos include some potentially toxic ingredients that would never be allowed in your food but for some reason it's OK to be applied to your skin?! (what you put on your skin get absorbed into your body)
Next time you're shopping take a look at the ingredients list on your shampoo and conditioner bottles and check if any 4 of these potentially toxic chemicals as present...
Now, I don't want you to freak out and think your shampoo is killing you, that's not my goal. I just want you to be a more informed consumer. These are very important pieces of information for anyone who wants to have strong healthy hair.
The problem is that I had a very difficult time finding a shampoo which (a) did NOT contain harsh chemical compounds and (b) DOES contain Polysorbate 80 and Biotin (HERE is a good shampoo that I recommend).
Start Today For Thicker Hair Tomorrow!
Listen, there is no one magic bullet that will guarantee a full head of hair but if you use a smart thinning hair prevention program every day (like the tips we've listed here) you will significantly increase the likelihood of healthy, full hair.
Don't delay starting your thinning hair prevention program. Even if your hair is thick and shiny now it's much easier to prevent the problem than cure it.
Start Now And Don't Stop...Ever.