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This Condition Increases Heart Disease Risk By Up To 70 Percent

Did you know that hair loss and heart health are linked? Recent studies have shown that losing your hair can contribute to an increase in heart attack risk of 70 percent. Find out more below.
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New studies have shown that men who are balding are about 50 percent more likely to have a risk for coronary artery disease.

A review of 6 studies involving over 40,000 men by Tokyo University showed these surprising results.

How is hair loss and artery disease linked? You may be surprised at the information.

According to these studies, protecting your hair may be a key to preventing many other diseases and conditions. Previous research has found that losing your hair is also a predictor for increased chances of getting conditions like prostate cancer and diabetes. The health of your hair may be a warning sign about your future health. Find out how these diseases are linked and ways to protect your hair and overall health below.

Study Details

The review from 2013 was published in the journal, BMJ Open. The review looked at 6 previous studies from around the world looking at over 40,000 men and the increased risk for health problems associated with baldness. What the researchers found was somewhat surprising.

According to the studies, where you go bald changes your risks. Balding on the crown of the head increases the risk of heart disease by about 52 percent. A receding hairline increased the risk for coronary artery disease by 22 percent. Men who had both receding hairlines and crown balding were 69 percent more likely to have coronary artery disease than men with a full head of hair. Men who had lost a third or more of their hair were 1/3 more likely to have coronary artery disease than men with a full head of hair.

Researchers are unaware of the precise link between baldness and artery disease. However, the researchers have several theories about the link. According to experts, high levels of testosterone and DHT are linked with hair loss. High levels of testosterone and DHT are also linked to heart disease. DHT is a hormone known for damaging hair follicles. The same pattern was true no matter the age of the men.

Young men are also more likely to have artery disease if they are balding. The study revealed that men under the age of 55 were about 44 percent more likely to develop artery disease. Another study showed that balding young men were 84 percent more likely to have heart disease.

What is the Culprit?

Researchers believe that it is the hormone DHT that is responsible for baldness, and possibly the increased risk for heart disease. DHT shrinks the hair follicles, which makes hair thinner and have a shorter life cycle. Eventually, the scalp stops producing hair in certain follicles.

DHT is a necessary hormone for male development. Low levels of DHT can alter the normal sexual development of males through puberty. DHT is more potent than testosterone, and is tied to male pattern baldness, called androgenic alopecia. This form of balding usually increases the presence of hair on other parts of the body.

Most men naturally have increasing DHT levels as their age, but researchers are unsure why some men are more likely to suffer from DHT-related hair loss than others. Some research suggest that excessive levels of estrogen in the body (chemicals, animal hormones, and certain foods raise estrogen levels in both men and women) trigger the increase in androgen production to eliminate excess estrogen from the body. DHT is a hormone that removes excess estrogen from the body, but high levels of DHT create undesirable results like hair loss and an enlarged prostate gland.

According to Medical News Today, DHT is responsible for shrinking the hair follicles, which makes hair have a shorter lifespan. DHT prevents the absorption of vital nutrients during the growth phase of the hair. Men’s hair has more androgen receptors than female’s hair, which is one reason why men bald more noticeably than most women. DHT continues to shrink the hair follicles until they reach the vellus stage, which is the lightest, shortest, and thinnest version of hair, often called “peach fuzz.”

Other Contributing Factors for Heart Disease

Hair loss is not the only contributing factor for an increased risk in heart disease. Other factors include:

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure can lead to an increased risk for heart disease. According to The May Clinic, high blood pressure can be caused by many factors, but an unhealthy diet and a high amount of stress in your life will shrink the arteries, causing your heart to work harder to pump blood through your body. This increases your risk for heart attacks and heart disease.

High LDL Cholesterol

High LDL cholesterol is also tied to an increased risk for heart disease. Chronic inflammation in the body leads to an increase of cholesterol in the blood. LDL cholesterol is small-particle cholesterol, which can get stuck in the walls of the arteries. This causes oxidation, and leads to even more cholesterol in the blood. Eventually, to heal the arteries, the body creates a scar on the walls of your arteries, leading to smaller arteries. This increases blood pressure and leads to a form of heart disease known as atherosclerosis.

Smoking

According to Web MD, 20 percent of all heart disease deaths are directly linked with smoking. How does smoking hurt your heart? Smoking contributes to high blood pressure, damages the walls of the arteries, increases blood clotting, and reduces oxygen levels in the body. Stopping smoking is an excellent way to protect the health of your heart.

Obesity

Scientists have thought for years that obesity was merely indirectly related to an increased risk for heart disease. However, a 1997 study from the American Heart Association showed that obesity is also directly related to heart disease. Women with a BMI between 23 and 25 were 50 percent more likely to get heart disease even if they had no other contributing factors. Men with a BMI between 25 and 29 were 72 percent more likely to have heart disease.

How The Body Makes DHT

DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) is a male sex hormone and androgen. Androgens are the main male hormones. . In fact, the Greek root of the word “androgen” literally translates to “man-maker.” All humans make some amount of DHT, although men have much higher levels of DHT. DHT androgens, along with testosterone and the other male androgens, are a necessary part of healthy male development and function.

However, like many hormones, if the balance of hormones in a man’s body is not properly regulated, unwanted side effects can occur, including hair loss. Testosterone is naturally converted into DHT, which is then transferred to androgen receptors. The enzyme 5α-reductase is responsible for synthesizing DHT in the prostate, hair, testes, and adrenal glands.

Certain enzymes remove excess DHT from the body. Exercise and eating the right diet can help control DHT levels. Find out how to naturally lower DHT levels in the section below.

Naturally Reduce DHT

If you have excess levels of DHT in your body, you can reduce your risk of hair loss and consequently, heart disease. The following methods will help you remove excess DHT from your body:

Exercise And Diet to Regulate Hormones

According to a 1998 study from the University of California, aerobic exercises, like jogging, may help regulate androgen levels in the body, eliminating excess DHT. The study looked at the results of exercise combined with a low-fat, high-fiber diet. The researchers wanted to find out if sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) production increased with a healthy diet and exercise plan. The study was short, and took place within 3 weeks. However, the researchers found that implementing this plan actually increased SHBG levels by 7 points, which indicates that exercise and a healthy diet can help control excess DHT levels, preventing hair loss and prostate enlargement.

According to studies, weight-bearing exercise can increase DHT levels in the body, so if you want to increase SHBG to eliminate excess DHT, make sure you do not only complete weight-bearing exercises but also add aerobic exercises to your routine.

Exercises that Reduce DHT
  • Yoga
  • Jogging
  • Swimming
  • Biking

Supplement to Reduce DHT Levels

If you have high levels of DHT in the body, you may need to remove the excess DHT from the body quickly to protect the health of your hair and reduce your heart disease risk. The following supplements help prevent the conversion of testosterone into DHT with naturally-occurring 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. Many medications for balding also use the same technique to prevent hair loss. However, many of the medications also have unwanted side effects, such as the overall reduction of male hormones in the body.

Saw Palmetto

Saw palmetto is one of the most effective supplements for preventing the over-abundance of DHT in the body. Many studies have shown that saw palmetto can be effective at reducing the amount of DHT in the body. For example, one study from 2004 conducted by the Ghent University Hospital in Belgium found that men who supplemented with saw palmetto saw the same benefits, and in some cases more, than men who were taking the medications finasteride or dutasteride to treat benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH).

Phytosterol

Phytosterol is one of the ingredients in saw palmetto that is effective at inhibiting the enzyme 5-alpha reductase. In a 1991 study conducted by Karolinska Hospital in Sweden, it was found that supplementing with phytosterol (from pumpkin seeds and palm plants in this study) was able to improve urinary flow, reduce frequency of urination, and other side effects of an enlarged prostate.

Beta-Sitosterol

Beta-sitosterol is yet another 5-alpha reductase blocker. It can improve the effectiveness of any of the other supplements in this list. In one study from 2002 published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, it was found that a mixture of beta-sitosterol and saw palmetto was able to reduce hair loss and improve hair quality in 60 percent of study participants.

Green Tea

Green tea extract is a helpful supplement that will not only help slow hair loss, but it has also been shown to shrink an enlarged prostate. Green tea contains EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which is able to naturally inhibit the enzyme 5-alpha reductase. A 2005 study conducted by the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science looked at the benefits of green tea extract on animal hair loss. The researchers found that the rodents supplementing with green tea extract showed that 33 percent had significant hair regrowth.

Preventing Heart Disease By Protecting Your Hair

The link between hair loss and heart disease is clear. Men who have a high percentage of hair loss are up to 70 percent more likely to also have heart problems. Researchers are unsure why the link exists, but it may be possible that the excess levels of male hormones that contribute to conditions like hair loss and an enlarged prostate can also harm the heart.

Addressing the hair loss issue may also reduce your risk of getting heart disease in the future. If you can save your life by preventing hair loss, it makes sense to take all possible steps to protect the health of your hair. Eliminating excess DHT and regulating your hormones will get you one step closer to a healthier head of hair and a healthier life overall.

Sources


http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/3/4/e002537.full.pdf+html

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/68082.php

http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2007/jan2007_aas_01.htm

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