Men experiencing hair loss may want to take up a little aerobic exercise.
According to an Associated Press article this week, men who do a lot of endurance exercising have lower levels of male sex hormones than other men. The research indicates that men who do a lot of running experience lower testosterone levels even when they are not running.
The male hormone Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is derived from Testosterone, has been shown to be directly linked to hair loss. The latest approved treatment for hair loss, Propecia, works by preventing Testosterone from being converted to DHT, as do other treatments currently being researched.
Anthony C. Hackney of the University of North California, Chapel Hill was quoted as saying: “Testosterone levels of the endurance-trained men were found to be 60-85 percent of the levels of matched untrained men.”
Researchers do not yet know why testosterone levels fall with frequent, intense endurance exercising. The research has also failed to show yet how long it takes for lowered levels of testosterone to occur, but it appears so far to develop after one to six months of regular, intensive aerobic exercise.
Testosterone is a key hormonal trigger for muscle growth; it’s one of the reasons that men can grow larger muscles than women can. However, even in endurance-trained athletes, increase in muscle mass doesn’t seem to be diminished, the review said.
Why testosterone levels fall with regular, intense endurance exercise is still a mystery. It may be partly that muscles absorb more testosterone in response to exercise, and it may be that blood flow to the testes shrinks, reducing testosterone secretion by those organs, the article said. Also, exercise may interfere with activities of other hormones that stimulate testosterone production, it said.
One important thing that the researchers do indicate is that the type and duration of the workout can affect the hormone levels. If the exercise is not done to full capacity, testosterone levels rise. It is only aerobic exercise done until the exerciser can do no more that lowers testosterone levels.
Because hair loss is related to the levels of male hormones, particularly DHT but also Testosterone, lowering Testosterone through aerobic endurance training may be an effective additive to what you are doing to treat your hair loss. Not only might it help you grow back hair along with other treatments such as Propecia, it doesn’t cost anything and can be beneficial to your overall health.