Practically on the heels of our last update, which featured a study pointing to the hair and health benefits of maintaining a high physiologic testosterone level, and pointed to low physiologic levels being correlated with both insulin resistance and hair loss, comes a study which validates this association even further.

      The preponderance of evidence suggests that insulin resistance and the eventually resultant Metabolic Syndrome are primary to the state that ultimately manifests as Androgenetic Alopecia, (AGA).

      Metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance significantly increase oxidative stress, free radicals, and inflammation which is central to the pathogenesis of MPB. Simply put, the body’s endogenous antioxidant enzyme system becomes overwhelmed. 

      This insulin resistance related increase in free radicals and concurrent decrease in antioxidant enzymes creates and exacerbates the inflammation and eventual fibrosis in the hair follicle that is ultimately causative in AGA. In fact it has been found in AGA that there is an actual diminishment of the endogenous antioxidant, glutathione in areas of the scalp affected by AGA.

      When the state of insulin resistance and/or metabolic syndrome are ameliorated through supplementation or pharmacological intervention, diet, and lifestyle modification (exercise, avoidance of wheat, etc.) the effects of DHT on hair are largely neutralized. 

      As mentioned in our last update, Green Tea and Black Tea Extracts, Pomegranate Extracts, Resveratrol, Grape Seed Extract all help to resolve metabolic syndrome as well as helping hair growth, even in the absence of other interventions. Orally consumed Grape Seed Extract is often reported to immediately resolve a tangible itchiness in scalp associated with the inflammation of AGA

      Taurine, an amino acid patented by L’Oreal in combination with Green Tea and Zinc as an oral hair loss treatment, prevents fibrosis from ever taking hold in the hair follicle system to begin with, and should be a part of everyone’s hair loss intervention/prevention regime.

Br J Dermatol. 2010 Apr 23.
Association of Androgenetic Alopecia with Metabolic Syndrome in Men: A Community-based Survey.
Su LH, Hsiu-Hsi Chen T.
Department of Dermatology, Far Eastern Memorial Hospital.

ABSTRACT Background: Several previous studies have investigated the association between factors related to metabolic syndrome (MetS), which is known to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease, and androgenetic alopecia (AGA). However, the results of these studies have been inconsistent. 

Objective: To elucidate if there is an association between MetS and AGA after adjustment for potential confounders. Patients/Methods: A population-based cross-sectional survey was conducted in Tainan, Taiwan. A total of 740 subjects aged 40 to 91 years participated in the survey between April and June 2005. Norwood classifications were used to assess the degree of hair loss. Information on components of MetS along with other possible risk factors was collected. Results: A statistically significant association was found between AGA and the presence of the MetS (OR= 1.67, 95% CI: 1.01, 2.74) as well as between AGA and the number of fulfilled MetS components (OR= 1.21, 95% CI: 1.03, 1.42) after controlling for age, family history of AGA, and smoking status. Among MetS components, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) (OR= 2.36, 95% CI: 1.41, 3.95, p= 0.001) was revealed as the most important factor associated with AGA.

Conclusions: Our population-based study found a significant association between AGA and MetS; among MetS components, HDL was found to be of particular importance. This finding may have significant implications for the identification of MetS in moderate or severe AGA patients. Early intervention for MetS is critical to reduce the risk and complications of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus later in life.

Food Chem Toxicol. 2010 Apr 20. [Epub ahead of print]
Preventive effect of grape seed extract against high-fructose diet-induced insulin resistance and oxidative stress in rats.
Suwannaphet W, Meeprom A, Yibchok-Anun S, Adisakwattana S.
Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand.

The purpose of the present study was to investigate the preventive effect of grape seed extract (GSE) on insulin resistance and oxidative stress in rats fed a high-fructose diet. After 8weeks of the experiment, the fasting plasma glucose, insulin concentrations, and the homeostasis model assessment of basal insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) of rats fed a high-fructose diet supplemented with 1% GSE were significantly lower than that of a high-fructose diet group. In the oral glucose tolerance test, rats fed a high-fructose diet supplemented with 1% GSE had a significantly reduced plasma glucose and insulin concentrations after 15min of glucose loading, indicating that GSE improved glucose intolerance. In addition, fed rats fed a high-fructose diet supplemented with 1% GSE markedly increased activity of hepatic superoxide dismutase, catalase, and suppressed lipid peroxidation when compared to rats fed a high-fructose diet. However, rats fed a high-fructose diet supplemented with GSE were not found to have a significant change in the activity of hepatic glutathione peroxidase. In conclusion, intake of GSE may be a feasible therapeutic strategy for prevention of a high-fructose diet-induced insulin resistance and oxidative stress. 

Comment: The moral of this update, if there is one, is to get a handle on insulin resistance by whatever means necessary. Failure to do so will have a comprising effect on your health, hair and hair loss interventions.