Male-pattern hair loss (MPHL) is often thought to be caused by testosterone issues. This assumption comes from the fact that dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels are often elevated in balding men.
Since DHT is a by-product of testosterone, it's easy to think that testosterone is the culprit behind male-pattern baldness. However, studies have shown that this is actually not the case.
First of all, researchers have reported that there is no significant difference between the testosterone levels of non-balding and balding men.
Second, aging males generally have lower testosterone levels but suffer from hair loss much more often.
Third, male-pattern hair loss has been observed both in men with high and low testosterone levels.
In other words, it appears that testosterone levels have nothing to do with baldness in men. So, what's actually causing hair loss in males?
There are two types of DHT in the body: serum DHT and tissue DHT. Serum DHT circulates in the blood while tissue DHT binds to the tissues at hand.
Studies have found no links between serum DHT and male-pattern hair loss. In fact, serum DHT is abundant in younger men who have no signs of hair loss whatsoever..
On the other hand, tissue DHT levels are elevated in the scalps of bald men.
And still, scientists aren't 100% sure it's really DHT that causes MPHL. This is mainly due to the fact that tissue DHT has been found to promote facial and body hair growth. So, can the same hormone cause hair loss in some body parts but promote hair growth in others? Seems like a tricky question.
But if you look beyond the studies of DHT-linked hair loss, you'll quickly discover that…
Both men and women suffering from hair loss often have an underlying imbalance between their testosterone and estrogen levels. For men, this hormonal imbalance can be caused by elevated estrogen or elevated testosterone. In either case, this leads to hair loss that's observed even in young men.
This relationship between hair loss and hormonal imbalance shows that baldness is merely a symptom of a more serious health problem. For example, the thyroid gland is one of the structures that helps to keep your testosterone and estrogen balanced, so hair loss could suggest that said gland might be dealing with some issues.
Problems with the thyroid can be detrimental to your health. They could negatively affect blood circulation, mood, body weight, and hormone production.
Here are a few interesting clinical studies exploring the cause and mechanism of hair loss:
Hair loss might seem harmless at first sight, but it's still something that should always be taken seriously. Any health issue that features hair loss as one of its symptoms should be addressed immediately.