In a prior update we featured how wheat, the primary grain consumed in Western culture can actually cause/aggravate hair loss in those genetically pre-disposed to MPB, Wheat Consumption linked to Hair Loss. Dairy, another Western dietary staple for thousands of years can apparently aggravate androgenetic hair loss via several identified mechanisms as well. Milk consumption has been specifically and conclusively identified as a causal variable in the pathogenesis of acne, which has an almost identical etiology to MPB.
Several large-scale studies reported in the American Journal of Dermatology found a causal connection between milk consumption and acne. One study found that those who consumed two cups of milk a day had 54% higher chance of developing severe acne.
This pertains to milk consumption in its purest of forms. Add to that the addition of hormones, anti-biotics and allergenic proteins, and the already bad news gets even worse.
Studies on acne and dairy were conducted on both teenagers and adult populations. We have gotten a substantial amount of feedback from both young and older people dealing with androgenetic hair loss that both skin and hair loss improve after eliminating dairy.
So how exactly is it that dairy looms so problematic for hair ?
By several mechanisms, it seems.
Milk increases DHT
Commercial milk largely comes from pregnant cows.
This milk contains dihydrotestosterone (DHT) precursors, including 5a-pregnanedione and 5a-androstanedione. For both acne and hair loss DHT is bad news. DHT also stimulates the production of more sebum, which is a direct indication of localized 5AR activity, a classic trademark of both acne and MPB.
Insulin resistance, Hair loss, and Milk.
Excess Insulin and/or insulin resistance has been conclusively implicated in both acne and MPB.
Simply put, even a slight elevation of insulin levels equals higher rates of hair shedding and acne. Elevated insulin by itself up-regulates sebum emission, and correlates with higher DHT levels.
The dairy industry`s own studies confirm that milk consumption raises insulin levels.
Zeitschrift für Ernährungswissenschaft Volume 26, Number 1 / March, 1987
Blood glucose and plasma insulin responses to fat free milk and low-lactose fat free milk in healthy human volunteers
“The blood glucose and plasma insulin responses to test milk samples were studied in healthy normal volunteers. After an overnight fast the subjects were given 500 ml of either regular fat free milk (abt 25 g lactose) or 500 ml of new low-lactose fat free milk (3.75 g lactose and 4.25 g fructose). Blood glucose levels were not significantly altered after either milk sample, but plasma insulin responses were significantly elevated after milk consumption.”
Inflammation and Dairy Consumption
There is a general concensus in the scientific community that inflammation is the most significant component of the androgenetic hair loss process.
MPB has an established auto-immune/inflammatory component, which over time can result in fibrosis, which can make regrowth almost impossible to achieve.
The following excerpt from Natural News will give you a brief over-view on how dairy can unfortunately exacerbate this process.
”Unfortunately milk doesn`t have to be as pure white as fresh, fallen snow to end into your fridge. Most milk has measurable quantities of herbicides, pesticides, dioxins (up to 200 times the safe levels), up to 52 powerful antibiotics, blood, pus, feces, bacteria and viruses.
Most dairy cows live in miserable conditions and are riddled with infections. The cow’s immune system produces white blood cells to fight off bacteria and virus. Both white blood cells, commonly referred as pus cells, and bacteria end up into milk. The dairy industry calls pus cells somatic cells and refers to their presence as the somatic cell count (SCC).
In a study of milk sold in New York State the average SCC was 363,000 cells/ml. These white blood cells were produced by the cow to fight off the 24,400 bacteria/ml found in this milk.
If you think pasteurization kills these bacteria, think again. The milk in the study was already pasteurized. As you drink milk the bacteria, pus, herbicides and other chemicals enter your bloodstream. The immune system has to clear them out, which leads to more inflammation and potentially more acne.
Allergies are another inflammatory reaction. So anything that causes an allergic reaction may also cause acne. In milk whey and casein protein are the main allergens. Homogenization of milk puts more of these allergens into your body.
During homogenization milk is forced through small holes with tremendous pressure. This breaks otherwise large fat globules into much smaller pieces. Without homogenization the fat in milk would rise to the top. Homogenization makes sure fat globules remain evenly distributed in milk.
Unfortunately it also changes the membrane covering fat globules. The original fat globule membrane is lost and a new one is formed that incorporates a much greater portion of casein and whey proteins. These much smaller fat globules enter the bloodstream easily. This exposes milk drinkers to larger quantities of allergenic proteins.
As the immune system attacks these foreign proteins it increase inflammation through the body and can lead to more pimples.”
Many believe that dairy products are their only viable source of calcium. Nothing could be further from the truth. Better, more bio-available sources of calcium include both Almond and Coconut milk, sold by the carton, in most supermarkets. Coconut Milk in particular, due to its lauric acid content, has an added advantage of down regulating DHT, which is the opposite of what cow’s milk does.
Raw milk, despite *some* documented health benefits, can cause problems for hair and acne as well, via all the aforementioned mechanisms. If you are dealing with hair loss, you’d do best to avoid milk and dairy altogether.
It is hardly surprising that the cultures with by far the lowest incidence of MPB, and other androgen mediated disorders, ie acne, prostate cancer, traditionally have little to no dietary dairy consumption.
In conclusion, do yourself, your hair, and your health a favor and substitute a Coconut Milk mustache for a milk mustache.