Written by Ben Bunting: BA(Hons), PGCert. Sport & Exercise Nutrition, L2 Strength and Conditioning Coach.
Something that a lot of men, women and everyone in between may have to deal with at some point in their life comes in the form of hair loss and the eternal search to grow your hair.
It could be to help grow the hair on their scalp, face, or anywhere else on the body. For example, one factor that can play its part comes with you getting your essential nutrients to give your body the best chance.
The reason that you may be losing some natural hair is due to a decline in testosterone, which may also lead to a decline in Dihydrotestosterone, also known as DHT, which will be covered later on throughout this article.
This article will cover the following topics to help answer your questions:
- What Is Testosterone?
- Different Forms Of Testosterone
- The Hormone Behind Male Pattern Hair Loss
- Testosterone and Hair Growth in Females
- How To Help Yourself Naturally
By the end of the article, you should be more informed on hair loss and if testosterone can help to increase hair growth. After all, testosterone is good for a lot more things in your body than you’d think.
What is Testosterone?
That’s why the first question you should ask is what is testosterone, and why does it affect hair growth and loss?
Simply put, testosterone is a hormone found in humans and animals across the world. For men, their testicles will be the primary source of creating testosterone, whereas, for women, their ovaries will make it in smaller amounts.
Bodies will start to create testosterone naturally during puberty, but of course, not all bodies will be able to make enough to give them what they need. That’s why we have products available to help support the body with performance boosters and give it what it wants.
Whilst it’s easy to think that it’s only men that need testosterone, it will also play a role for women. Too much of a testosterone imbalance could be an issue, but for women, it can be used to help increase libido or even fertility functions.
That’s also why testosterone plays a role in hair growth for both men and women alike. That’s because it can help regulate hair growth by affecting the follicle and producing different types of hair depending on your current androgen status.
Factors that can affect testosterone production include age, weight, estrogen levels, genetics, and overall health in general. Even stress and lifestyle choices have a role to play.
Different Forms of Testosterone
It’s not simple enough to simply talk about testosterone on its own. You’ll find that testosterone exists within your body in a different form. Free testosterone is something that is not bound to any proteins in your body, which is the form of testosterone most available to act within any human body.
You can also find testosterone bound to albumin, which is a protein that can be found in your blood cells that has been made by the liver.
Testosterone is mostly bound to sex hormone globulin proteins, also known as SHBG, which leaves it inactive. This is why when you have lower levels of this protein, you end up with higher levels of free testosterone. As such, higher levels of SHBG can lead to complications associated with and androgen deficiency.
The Hormone Behind Male Pattern Hair Loss
As was touched upon earlier, an important hormone that you need to be aware of is DHT.
Dihydrotestosterone is made from an enzyme within testosterone known as 5-alpha reductase; however, it can also be made from DHEA. DHT itself is found within the skin, the prostate, and of course, hair follicles.
Depending on what happens with your levels and actions of DHT will lead to hair loss because higher levels of DHT results in a balding scalp.
Does more testosterone equal more DHT?
The short answer is yes. However, the ratio between testosterone levels and DHT aren't equal, or rather the effects aren't.
Here's a quote from an article published by the Endocrine Review Journal in 2017.
"As would be expected, the pattern of rise in DHT generally tracks with the increase in T, but the magnitude of change is substantially less."
This means that while DHT does rise with increased levels of testosterone the physiological effects of DHT are far less than the effects of testosterone.
It has been concluded that increases of DHT are likley to be modest and of little clinical concern due to the regulatory mechanisms which control intracellular homeostasis.
Therefore, it can be suggested that increased levels of testosterone are unlikely to have a major impact on male pattern baldness.
Afterall, androgens are responsible to replace thinner hair with stronger, longer and more noticeable hair.
What does effect male pattern baldness?
We have to revist the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme.
Crucially, the actions of the enzyme converts testosterone to DHT. Therefore the more active the enzyme is, the more of testosterone is coverted to DHT which is associated with baldness amongst men.
However, it must be noted that 5 alpha-RA levels are independent of androgen levels. As such, having more testosterone does not increase 5 alpha-RA, but more 5 alpha-RA does increase the rate of conversion from testosterone to DHT.
It is concluded that 5-alpha-reductase enzyme levels are genetic, and a person may be genetically predisposed to higher or lower levels of the enzyme which will affect your scalp hair retention as you age.
Therefore, as we can see, your levels of testosterone are not directly linked to male baldness, it is a result of your genetic levels of 5-alpha-reductase enzyme.
Testosterone and Hair Growth in Females
Now that you’re more aware of male pattern baldness and male baldness in general, you may also like to understand whther testosterone has an effect on hair growth for females.
Unlike with males, DHT levels don't appear to have an effect on hair loss or hair growth.
Additionally, females have lower circulating androgen levels and a lower concentration of 5α-reductase enzymes than males.
Furthermore, there isn't any clear nor consistent relationship between testosterone levels and female pattern hair loss (FPHL).
However, a study of 2012 which was published in The British Journal of Dermatology found that women who were suffering from an androgen deficiency saw positive hair growth accross their scalp after being treated with testosterone.
It is worth noting that up to one third of women experience hair loss or thinning hair as they age, and this correlates with declining levels of testosterone.
How to Help Yourself Naturally
Testosterone has many physiologial and cognitive benefits for both men and women. Therefore, it is paramount that for overall health, you should aim to optimize your natural testosterone production.
While testosterone will not have a direct impact on male hair growth, it can do for women and there are many ways you can naturally improve your testosterone production such as consuming a good diet, participating in regular exercise or sport, limiting toxins such as alcohol and smoking.
You can also try enhancing your micronutrient intake as well as taking advantage of the proven benefits of some plant extracts by using a suplement such as Military Muscle which is vegan friendly and safe for athletes or military personnel.
To conclude, the effects of testosterone and hair growth are different between males and females.
For male higher levels of testosterone can lead to more conversion of DHT which leads to male pattern baldness.
However, it is important to note that this conversion is dependant on the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme levels which are genetic and not associated with testosterone levels in men.
Conversely there's little consistent evidence that FMHL is associated with the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme or DHT levels.
Yet there is evidence that testosterone can increase hair growth for women who are experiencing low levels of testosterone production.