Insulin Resistance Disorders and Androgenetic Alopecia

 

There is a link between hair loss (balding) and high insulin levels in blood.  Multiple studies have shown that men who experience early balding (i.e under the age of 35) tend to have high blood insulin levels. There is a strong prevalence of insulin resistance with androgenetic alopecia (AGA), and more troublesome, there’s an association of androgenetic alopecia (AGA) with insulin-resistance-related disorders such as ischemic heart disease and serious cardiovascular events.

The above is not only true in men. An association between AGA and anthropometric abnormalities (linked with insulin resistance and heredity) was found in women aged 63 years. Female AGA has usually been linked with hyper-androgenism and hirsutism and, most recently, also with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Polycystic ovarian syndrome is quite common among Caucasian women, and its association with insulin resistance is well documented.

Further, epidemiological studies have associated androgenetic alopecia (AGA) with severe young-age coronary artery disease and hypertension, and linked it to insulin resistance

The following studies show that AGA and high blood insulin levels are connected. The first dated Sept 2000, then June 2003, June 2006, and Oct 2009.

Lancet. 2000 Sep 30;356(9236):1165-6 “Early androgenetic alopecia as a marker of insulin resistance” Found that men under the age of 35 with an early onset of alopecia aged showed a “strikingly increased risk of hyperinsulinaemia and insulin-resistance-associated disorders” (i.e obesity, hypertension, and dyslipidemia). That early androgenetic alopecia could be a clinical marker of insulin resistance.

J Cardiovasc Risk. 2003 Jun;10(3):227-31. “Hair loss, insulin resistance, and heredity in middle-aged women…” Found that female with some markers of insulin resistance have significantly increased risk for female AGA. Paternal history of alopecia seemed to be more common in female AGA compared to women with normal or minimal loss of hair.

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Cent Eur J Public Health. 2006 Jun;14(2):78-81. “Association of insulin resistance linked diseases and hair loss in elderly men. Finnish population-based study” Found AGA (male/female pattern baldness) is associated with insulin linked disturbances, such as hypertension and diabetes.

Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2009 Oct;71(4):494-9. “Androgenetic alopecia and insulin resistance in young men” Assessed insulin-resistance and cardiovascular-related features and disorders in all young males with stage III or higher AGA, according to the Hamilton-Norwood classification. It recommended the assessing insulin resistance and cardiovascular-related features and disorders in all young males with stage III or higher AGA.

The four studies above support the link between AGA and insulin resistance. The first study stated “androgenetic alopecia could be a clinical marker of insulin resistance“. Perhaps, insulin resistance is the clinical marker for androgenetic alopecia (AGA).

Summary:

Higher blood sugar levels (due to frequent consumption of high glycemic index food) increases your chance of developing insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is associated with hair loss and is also strongly associated with cardiovascular disorders (and hypertension, diabete, etc.).

Actionable Takeaway:

  • Reign-in insulin resistance, doing so is beneficial for one’s hair, cardiovascular system and health in general.
  • Lower blood sugar, i.e. “no chronic ingestion of high glycemic foods”

Updated: 12/14/2010






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