Alcohol and balding

Many of my friends like to out and have a drink or ten, but recently I noticed that those that drank the most seemed to have worse hair loss than people who drank alcohol moderately or none at all. Ok so there appears that their *might* be a pattern of alcohol causing hair loss based on my loose observations, but is this fact or coincidence?

After doing some research I found a very interesting study by Dr. Robert Smart at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C. Now the study wasn’t about balding but about pesticide and skin cancer. To cut a long study short, shaved mice were given treated with an estrogen-blocking compound, and to their surprise (the Science boffins, well the mice might have been surprised too) there was a spurt of hair growth, but more than that inactive hair follicles sprung back to life. The follicles were studied very closely and it was noted, “By two weeks, the visible hair growth on treated mice was about the same as on mice who had never been shaved, while mice that were not treated with ICI 182,780 grew no hair” ( ICI 182,780 is the estrogen blocker). Although this study was done on mice, as a lot of studies are (poor mice!), it does provide potential evidence of the effects of estrogen on your hair. If you’re not convinced then consider after the study a patent was applied for for the use of estrogen blockers for preventing hair loss and stimulating hair growth by NC State.

Also they tried the reverse applying and estrogen based compound to the mice, lo and behold, hair growth was prevented. Getting all scientific now, it was found that there is an estrogen receptor pathway, located in the center of hair follices, that regulates the hair growth cycle.

(NB. An update coming on this article very soon, seems the Smart study has been somewhat debunked!)

That’s great, but how does estrogen relate to alcohol? After studying Biology for some years I learned that drinking alcohol, in particular drinking LOTS of alcohol in one period, increases estrogen levels. Drinking high amounts of alcohol causes a dramatic rise in estrogen levels in the body in men, particularly the day after, you know, when your hung over. Not only that but alcohol can deplete the mineral zinc from your body. Zinc is essential for maintaining healthy hair. Putting it simply: Alcohol = Excess Estrogen = Potential Hair Loss. My advice is if you like to drink then at least try and drink in moderate amounts, especially if you are serious about saving your hair. Not to mention the excessive alcohol is bad for your all round health any way.

You can read about the study right here Estrogen-Blocking Compound Found to Cause Hair Growth

Before I go I must state that I don’t think alcohol is all bad. A small glass of red wine a day has been shown to have good health benefits, some of which may help will hair growth. And of course people who drink lots may tend to be generally unhealthier and therefore more likely to suffer hair loss. In any case the key is moderation.

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This article was written on October 4, 2005 was posted in these categories Hair Loss Causes .