Anyone wanting to make a lifestyle change wants to consider all the areas affected by that change. While most results of exercising are positive, it’s natural to question if the body experiences any potential negative consequences to exercise programs like heavy weightlifting.
One such question has been: does heavy weightlifting cause hair loss? The answer is: possibly YES, and possibly NO, depending on your health state. Also, if you are consuming supplements to increase testosterone levels, and also if you are taking anabolic steroids, you are at higher risk of accelerating hair loss. Even people who take too much vitamin A may also notice susceptibility to hair loss. – Source.
Men and Women Hair Loss
As we age, the body shows it in numerous ways. Weight gain and muscle loss are two of the most common shared by men and women. Wrinkles and facial changes like loss of elasticity and suppleness in the skin are signs of aging. Further modifications can include fluctuating hormone levels.
While hair loss can affect both men and women as they age, it is an aging sign more commonly experienced by and associated with men. As a society, we associate thick and lustrous hair with youth and manhood so that it can be a blow to the confidence for those facing thinning hair and baldness.
Hair Loss in Men
One of the main signs of aging for men is a loss of hair. The American Hair Loss Association reports that approximately two-thirds of American men, by the age of 35, will deal with varying degrees of hair loss. By the age of 50, the numbers rise to 85 percent experiencing significant hair thinning and balding.
In approximately 25 percent of men, hair loss can start at as young as 21; in most of these cases, the male pattern baldness gene is passed down by a parent as 95 percent of male pattern baldness is hereditary.
While other causes of male pattern baldness are less common, there are certain medications, illnesses, or prolonged stress levels that can contribute to hair thinning and loss in men. Cases of severe malnutrition where protein, magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc are missing from a diet can result in hair loss.
Hair Loss in Women
Hair loss due to aging does occur in women, especially if they are carrying the hair thinning gene from a parent. Baldness is much less common in women, and thinning hair as they age is the dominant aging change to hair, unlike men. Other changes in life that produce hair loss in women is childbirth.
While a woman is pregnant, there is an increase in blood and blood flow throughout the body, and this results in the pleasant results of glowing skin, healthier nails, and thicker hair. After childbirth and as all those pregnancy hormones leave the body, it can be disappointing for women to see that the thick hair leaves too.
Some women experience additional hair loss during this time as stress, tiredness, and changing hormone levels can wreak havoc on the body.
Testosterone and the Body
Testosterone is the main male sex hormone that impacts the body in numerous ways. In men, it’s considered to regulate sex drive and sexual function, but it also plays a role in fat distribution, bone mass, muscle mass, strength, the production of red blood cells, and aggression.
Small amounts of testosterone in the body are converted to estradiol, which is a form of estrogen. As men age, most experience a decrease in the body’s ability to naturally produce testosterone, which also results in less estrogen production.
Insufficient testosterone levels in men result in erectile dysfunctions and decreasing sex drive and libido. It is also thought to affect prostate health. Many men turn to supplements which increase testosterone levels in the body in a desire to improve sexual drive and function.
Weightlifting and Testosterone
While there is a strong connection between exercises like weightlifting and testosterone production, experts still don’t have all the answers. Testosterone levels are said to rise immediately after a heavy weightlifting session, but those levels do not remain, and they fluctuate from individual to individual.
Other factors said to affect an individual’s testosterone levels are age, fitness level, weight, and timing of the workout.
Testosterone levels fluctuate throughout the day, and the highest levels thought to be in the morning and evening, which is why morning and evening weightlifting sessions are said to produce the most substantial testosterone increases.
While all forms of exercise have the potential to increase testosterone levels, weightlifting and strength training are thought to have the most significant effect.
Full weightlifting sessions that work multiple muscles, as opposed to one muscle group, also produce higher testosterone levels, and using heavier weights, as opposed to more reps with lighter weights, is also said to have better results regarding testosterone increases.
What Happens when People Overdo it?
When it comes to weightlifting, there is always the danger of overdoing it. When a person does not have adequate rest times between workouts and does overtrain, the body can react with decreasing testosterone levels.
This is partly understood regarding the connection between raising Cortisol levels and decreasing testosterone levels. When a body is stressed and overtrained, the stress hormone, Cortisol, increases, which is said to lower testosterone levels.
Testosterone and Hair Loss
Now that we have determined the connection between weightlifting and testosterone let’s explore the relationship between testosterone and hair loss.
According to the director of the Rawnsley Hair and Restoration Clinic, Dr. Jeffry Rawnsley, the body converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and DHT can shrink hair follicles in individuals who are genetically susceptible to hair thinning or male pattern baldness.
Rawnsley explains that as the duration of healthy hair growth cycles is three-to-five years, it is unlikely that thinning or hair loss results will be seen closely after the start of a weightlifting program.
Supplements and Hair Loss
Also, as exercise like weightlifting produces fluctuating testosterone levels, it is unlikely to have long-term effects on hair loss. There is, however, another possible connection between weightlifting and hair loss as many weightlifters take anabolic steroids or supplements to increase testosterone levels.
For those individuals that carry the male pattern baldness gene, there is the possibility of an increase in hair loss as they are already predisposed. Some common supplements contain high levels of Vitamin A, which can also be a contributing factor to hair loss.
So according to Rawnsley, it is unlikely that weightlifting programs will contribute to hair loss.
What is more likely is that individuals who are predisposed to hair loss genetically have been experiencing gradual hair thinning over time, and once they reach that level where it is noticeable, many people look to other causes such as testosterone levels and weightlifting to explain it.
Are There Hair Loss Treatments that Work?
Hair loss treatments and their effects depend mainly on the cause of the hair loss. Symptoms of hair loss caused by certain diseases will likely be treated as the disease is treated. For other reasons for hair loss, potential treatments can reverse or slow down the process.
The primary treatment option available, other than hair transplant surgery, is through medication like Minoxidil, more commonly known as Rogaine.
Minoxidil: Hair Loss Treatment
Minoxidil is an over-the-counter medication that can be used by both men and women. It is a liquid that is daily rubbed into the scalp. After approximately six months of treatment, the medication is said to stimulate the hair follicles, prevent further hair loss, and initiate hair regrowth.
This varies somewhat from person to person; most people are wanting to continue the results of the Minoxidil will have to keep using it for prolonged periods.
Hair Transplant Surgery
For cases of extreme hair loss thought to be irreversible and untreatable by traditional treatment options, hair transplant surgery is an option. This involves the removal of scalp hair and hair follicles from one area of the head that is fuller to another area that is thinning.
The removed hair strands are transplanted into small holes or slits in the scalp’s bald areas. Most individuals will have to undergo several surgeries to achieve full coverage and the look they want.
There are many aspects of healthy physical appearance that are associated with youth and beauty. A beautiful white smile, clear skin, thin and healthy bodies, physical strength and of course, thick, shiny, and lustrous-looking hair.
When we start to see these benchmarks of youth fade, it can be a hard process to face. Whether to keep the signs of aging at bay or to improve health and fitness, many people add a vigorous exercise routine like weightlifting into their regimen.
As the benefits of exercise are well known, many people wonder about other potential effects of vigorous exercise. Due to the strong connections between testosterone and weightlifting, the question of whether or not weightlifting can cause hair loss has been raised.
While there is a link between increased testosterone levels and DHT, known to shrink hair follicles, the experts report that the changes in testosterone levels produced by weightlifting are too fluctuating to be firmly connected to hair loss.
However, those who are already predisposed to hair loss due to genetic factors could experience accelerated hair loss if engaging in heavy weightlifting and the resultant higher testosterone levels.
About the state of our health and when it is in poor condition, and additionally we burden our body with weightlifting training, hair loss is much more possible.
This is due to the simple fact that in the prolonged overloading of our body when it is in its poor vitality causes a huge decline in the state of our health. This effect negatively the proper functioning of our organs, which are responsible, among others, for the appearance and health of our hair.
Please read my next article about “What Accessories Should I Use In Weightlifting?”
If you like this post? Don’t forget to share on Pinterest!