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Study finds sugary drinks could be connected to male hair loss

Links between sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and the onset of baldness in men have been unveiled in a Nutrients journal study in China.

Male pattern hair loss (MPHL) has been connected in the past to various aspects affecting a person’s life, such as self-confidence, psychological distress, and physical health as well as sleep time, anxiety, genetics, age, and body mass index (BMI) all being assessed.

However, according to new medical research, increasing quantities of added sugar in western diets has also been linked to MPHL, especially where populations consume higher quantities of sugar-sweetened beverages including juices. soft drink mixers or energy drinks.

A cross-sectional study, conducted from January to April 2022 in mainland China, spanned a total of 1,951 men aged 18–45 from 31 provinces and used a self-reported online survey to gather data.

The associations between the amount/frequency of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and MPHL were studied along with sociodemographic factors, hair status, dietary intake, lifestyle, and psychological factors.

Looking at the findings, the scientists observed a significant association between high sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and MPHL and outlined that “the biochemical symptoms of androgenetic alopecia in the scalp hint towards an overactive polyol pathway”.

According to the scientists, high sugar content in sugary drinks triggers higher serum glucose concentration, which subsequently activates the polyol pathway and this reduces the amount of glucose available to the outer root sheath keratinocytes of hair follicles, leading to MPHL.

The data revealed that high sugar intake is also often coupled with high lipid intake, and MPHL has been seen to be caused by a high-fat diet – phenomenon that has also been seen in animal studies on mice. Despite this, the association between sugar-sweetened drinks and MPHL remained “significant”.

Details from the study additionally showed how chronic diseases and emotional factors could also have a high association between sugary drinks intake and MPHL as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Since the MPHL in the research survey was not clinically diagnosed, the researchers took pains to outline that the study’s results only have a suggestive effect and, to determine more accurate data, more investigation and evidence should be collated to examine the links fully for future analysis.

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