Hair loss: Dr Ranj discusses causes of male pattern baldness
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There are a host of factors known that cause hair loss, which can range from trivial to devastating. Fortunately, the majority of these factors can be reversed. Scientists have now identified one dietary component which may accelerate hair loss and thinning in a ground-breaking new study.
A new study, published in Nature, has shed light on the changes that occur in tissue after eating foods high in fat.
Japanese researchers from Tokyo Medical and Dental University discovered that a high-fat diet could accelerate hair loss and thinning that occurs as an inevitable consequence of old age.
The authors of the study noted that obesity can lead to the depletion of hair follicle stem cells through the induction of inflammatory signals, which in turn block hair follicle regeneration.
The study, conducted on mice, found that changes in the hair and skin of the rodents occurred after just four days on a high-fat diet.
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The team also observed significant increases in oxidative stress, which is known to affect hair growth.
The lead author of the study Hironobu Morinaga, said: “High-fat diet feeding accelerates hair thinning by depleting HFSCs that replenish mature cells that grow hair.
“We compared the gene expression in the HFSCs between the HFD-fed mice and standard diet-fed mice and traced the fate of those HFSCs after their activation.
“We found that those HFSCs in HFD-fed obese mice change their fat into the skin surface corneocytes and sebocytes that secrete sebum upon their activation.
“High-fat diet feeding accelerates hair thinning by depleting HFSCs that replenish mature cells that grow hair, especially in old mice.”
These findings have challenged previous beliefs that held hair loss is caused by rapid weight loss and stress.
One certified trichologist and founder of Advanced Trichology said he had previously witnessed hair loss in patients who switched to high-fat diets like keto.
He noted: “This type of hair loss falls under inflammatory hair loss. We typically try to make dietary changes to eat correctly for their blood type.”
The authors suggested the findings could open the door for future prevention and treatment of hair thinning.
They concluded: “These data collectively demonstrate that stem cell inflammatory signals induced by obesity robustly represses organ regeneration signals to accelerate the miniaturisation of mini-organs, and suggests the importance of daily prevention of organ dysfunction.”
The most common form of hair loss – known as inherited androgenetic alopecia – is a major issue among both men and women in the UK.
The average person’s scalp contains more than 150,000 hairs, each at one of three phases – the growing phase (anagen), the static phase (catagen) or the shedding phase (telogen).
The NHS notes: “Losing your hair is not usually anything to be worried about, but it can be upsetting.
“It is normal to lose hair. We can lose between 50 and 100 hairs a day, often without noticing.
“Hair loss is not usually anything to be worried about, but occasionally it can be a sign of a medical condition.
“Some types of hair loss are permanent, like male and female pattern baldness.”
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