Hair Loss: Is It Genetic?
While a proclivity for baldness may be genetic, the expression of this trait may be controlled.
For many years, men have clung to the idea that so long as their maternal grandfather had retained a full head of hair well into old age, they too would escape male pattern baldness. While it is true that male pattern baldness, or androgenic alopecia, is highly genetic, this single-ancestor theory is outdated. In fact, the idea that one side of the family passing down a gene for baldness dates back to a paper published in 1916, when scientists were still taking a single-gene approach to research and had not yet fully understood the complexity of genes and gene expression.
Hair Loss is a Polygenic Trait
In recent decades, researchers have discovered a number of different genes linked to male hair loss. These genes may come from either parent depending on what type of chromosome they are located within. The gene most strongly associated with hair loss does indeed come from the mother’s side of the family and is located in a man’s X chromosome, but there are also at least 11 other genetic sequences that can affect hair loss. These genes are located in the autosomes, which means they can come from either side of the family.
Gene Expression and Hair Loss
Just because a gene is present in a family’s DNA does not necessarily mean it will be expressed in the same way for all members of the family. There are many factors that affect gene expression. For male pattern baldness, the most important factors are believed to be age, stress, and hormone levels. In fact, research has shown that the X chromosome gene associated with baldness is also involved in the fabrication of androgen receptors, which help cells recognize the presence of testosterone and other hormones.
Controlling Hair Loss
While you can’t control your genes, you may be able to influence how they are expressed. In addition to maintaining a healthy lifestyle with low stress, hormone therapy appears to be an especially promising area to explore. At Renew Man™, we offer several different approaches to treating hair loss depending on the specifics of the case. We will conduct testing of your hormone levels to determine if thyroid or testosterone needs to be replaced, and then provide individualized treatments to arrest hair loss without unpleasant side effects. Please contact us today to learn more.