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Research Confirms Your Fatty, High Cholesterol Diet Probably Contributes to Hair Loss

A new study out of Johns Hopkins is pointing the finger at our culture’s tendency toward a fatty diet as a possible additional factor contributing to hair loss. Researchers believe their findings could help in the development of treatments that could reverse balding in certain cases.

Prior research found that mice fed a diet high in fat and cholesterol are more likely to have extensive hair loss. In a news release issued by Johns Hopkins, the leader of the Johns Hopkins research team, Dr. Subroto Chatterjee, said definitively that instead of staring in the mirror and worrying about hair loss, we should all spend more time considering what we put on the dinner table.

“Our findings show that a Western diet causes hair loss…in mice, and we believe a similar process occurs in men who lose hair…when they eat a diet high in fat and cholesterol,” said Chatterjee.

As described in their article, “Inhibition of glycosphingolipid synthesis reverses skin inflammation and hair loss in ApoE-/- mice fed western diet,” published in Scientific Reports, Dr. Chatterjee and his team of investigators started by genetically modifying a group of mice to have atherosclerosis, a disease in which arteries are clogged by fat deposits. Over a span of eight weeks – starting when the mice were 12 month old, the researchers fed one group of these mice a Western diet high in fat and cholesterol. A control group was kept on a standard diet.

Researchers observed that the mice that ate a Western diet lost hair and experienced other ailments such as skin lesions and hair whitening. When the experiment extended another four months, the results for the mice eating a Western diet became more severe. In fact, three out of four of the mice had hair loss.

So that’s one important finding that we at Arocha Hair Restoration believe is getting too little attention: diets high in fat are probably contributing to hair loss in some people. There are a lot of factors in hair loss that you have no control over, such as your genes. But you do control your diet. We recommend cutting out foods that are high in fat and cholesterol. Start doing it today!

The other important finding is that Dr. Chatterjee’s team succeeded in reversing that type of hair loss.

Their secret weapon? They fed the animals an experimental compound called D-PDMP (D-threo-1-phenyl-2-decanoylamino-3-morpholino-1-propanol) that halts the production of certain fats called glycosphingolipids, or GSLs. This is the first we’ve heard of D-PDMP, so we looked into it and found that this is a new compound that is getting a lot of attention from scientists investigating treatments for heart disease and diabetes, among other ailments.

The researchers found that feeding mice that were eating a Western diet a small amount of D-PDMP in a capsule reversed the ill effects of their poor diet. Most notably, they started regaining hair.

As is the responsible thing to do, the researchers are urging caution, noting that results in mice don’t necessarily mean that their findings will be successfully applied to treatments for humans. There is absolutely no evidence that D-PDMP would even be safe for people and, if so, how well and what amount of might activate hair growth.

Nonetheless, this is interesting work that deserves further attention and we at Arocha Hair Restoration applaud the researchers. In addition to Dr. Chatterjee, other authors on the paper included Djahida Bedja, Wenwen Yan, Dominica Iocca, Veera Ratnam Bandaru and Nickesh Ramakrishnan of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Wenwen Yan of Tongji University. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Even if the compounds they’ve developed fail to work in humans, we believe it is great that more attention is paid to the role of diet in hair loss and hair restoration.

“Hopefully someday in the future this can mean faster, more effective recovery from baldness, hair whitening in aging populations and wound healing,” said Chatterjee.

While in the best-case scenario, the use of D-PDMP as a treatment for hair loss would be a decade or more away, we want to emphasize that men and women experiencing hair loss today have options that include topical medications and hair replacement surgery, as well as other treatments that are proven to deliver exceptional hair restoration results.

Call us today at 713-526-HAIR or 713-526-4247 to learn more and book a free consultation with Dr. Arocha.