There exists a proven association between male-pattern baldness and serious cardiovascular events, but the mechanism of action is unknown.
Now, a new study has shown a strikingly increased risk of insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia, and insulin-resistance-associated disorders in men with early onset of male-pattern baldness (alopecia), supporting the theory that early male-pattern baldness could be a clinical marker of insulin resistance.
Researchers performed a practice-based case-control study on 154 subjects (aged 19-50 years) with early-onset male-pattern baldness (onset prior to 35 years of age) and age-matched controls.
Men were only selected whose hair loss was significant, using an accepted classification method.
Information on diagnoses of chronic diseases and data on current medication, weight and height, fasting total cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, and blood glucose were collected.
Blood insulin levels were measured.
Researchers looked at the following insulin-resistance-associated risk factors:
Elevated lipids (HDL cholesterol <0.9 mmol/L, triglycerides > 1.7 mmol/L, or lipid-lowering medication)
Abnormal glucose metabolism (fasting blood glucose > 6.7 mmol/L twice or antidiabetic medication)
High body-mass index
Elevated systolic blood pressure (> 160 mm Hg).
A "cluster" was considered to be present if at least three of the four variables were simultaneously positive.
The risks for the following were all found to be elevated for the alopecia group:
Nearly 5 times more likely to have clustered risk factors
Hyperinsulinemia risk was increased nearly 2-fold
Moderate obesity was increased nearly 2-fold
Severe obesity was increased nearly 150%.
Use of cholesterol lowering medication was increased more than 4-fold
Use of blood pressure or diabetic medication was more than double
Researchers maintain that there findings " ... raise the question whether insulin resistance could be a pathophysiological mechanism or promoting factor in early androgenetic alopecia, which could, in turn, be an early marker of insulin resistance."
In addition, they suggest that men with early-onset male-pattern baldness should be screened for insulin resistance and other cardiovascular disease risk factors.
Lancet September 30, 2000; 356: 1165-1166.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
If I had only known this earlier I would still have a full head of hair! Yes folks, up until five years ago I was a certified carb addict and had a terribly unbalanced excess of high grain foods. I really believe this is a landmark article that nails the association between eating sugar and breads and premature baldness.
So there you go guys. For those of you who still have a significant amount of hair left, CUT DOWN the grains if you want to keep your hair. It is far more effective than Rogaine and much less costly. However, you must be warned of the side effects of a low grain diet - you will achieve far higher levels of health, and decrease your risk of diabetes, heart attacks, and cancer. If, and only if, you are willing to accept such side effects in exchange for keeping your hair, I would suggest following the healthy eating plan.