When question marks linger over what someone eats, subtle clues sometimes point to the possibility of diabetes as an underlying cause of the shedding. Other times, people who already know they are diabetic are advised that their hair loss condition is closely related to it.
Now, scientists at Yale University in the US think they have found a significant link between artificial sweeteners and diabetes – something that challenges the notion that it is just refined sugar which can be the enemy.
Sweeteners can trick brain
The researchers found that the taste of artificial sweeteners tricks the brain into thinking it is ingesting real sugar. And because this is high in calories, the body then kicks into action to deal with it. Writing in Yale News, the team explains:
“In nature, sweetness signals the presence of energy and its intensity reflects the amount of energy present. When a beverage is either too sweet or not sweet enough for the amount of calories it contains, the metabolic response and the signal that communicates nutritional value to the brain are disrupted.”
A sweet-tasting, lower-calorie drink, it states, can trigger a greater metabolic response than drinks with higher calories, explaining the association between artificial sweeteners and diabetes that was hinted at in previous studies.
It does, of course, all stand to reason: the human body had millennia to perfect its response to natural foods of all kinds. In a matter of decades, aeons of biological data has been thrown into turmoil. As senior author Dana Small, professor of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine says: “Our bodies evolved to efficiently use the energy sources available in nature. Our modern food environment is characterised by energy sources our bodies have never seen before.”
The reason this all connects to diabetes is perhaps best explained by a 2016 article in Time magazine which stated that, “When your tongue tastes something sweet – whether it’s sugar or artificial sweetener – your brain and gut alert your pancreas that sugar is on its way. Your pancreas starts producing insulin with the expectation that the amount of sugar (glucose) in your blood is about to go up.”
When you’re ingesting artificial sweetener, says the article, the “glucose hit” never comes, leaving the pancreas to search for any blood glucose to trigger the release of its insulin.
Hair loss because of hormonal strain
Diabetes and hair loss is a real issue, and not every case is the same.
In some instances, hair thinning begins because the body is under such intense hormonal strain. In other cases, diabetes medications and illnesses that arise as a result of the condition can also lead to shedding. The thinning hair which can come about in these circumstances affects the whole scalp and is known as Telogen Effluvium if it lasts up to six months or Chronic Telogen Effluvium if it is more persistent. Both these hair loss conditions are a temporary response to a “shock” to the body, which disrupts the normal functioning of the hair growth cycle.
Generally this will correct itself as prescription medication and lifestyle changes step in to ease the burden, though treatment for Telogen Effluvium may help to speed up recovery rates and can be stopped once normal hair growth service is resumed. In other cases this otherwise temporary shedding can initiate or accelerate male pattern baldness or female pattern hair loss in people who are already predisposed to these genetic conditions.
At Belgravia, hair loss treatment for men and women with these conditions typically features custom combinations of clinically-proven medications and additional hair growth boosters. These include home-use low level laser therapy to help stimulate the follicles using a patented, and FDA-cleared LaserComb, and exclusive Hair Vitalics hair growth supplements. Though not intended to replace a balanced diet, these highly-targeted food supplements provide nutritional support via a range of key hair-friendly vitamins, minerals, botanicals and amino acids. As these are permanent, hereditary conditions which need managing – given there is currently no cure for baldness – treatment needs to be on-going.
Whilst genetic hair loss is in many people’s DNA-determined destiny, by paying attention to dietary and lifestyle issues, it is possible to reduce the risk of triggering this common condition earlier than necessary, and avoid accelerating the rate of shedding. Once the first signs of hair loss begin to show, a specialist will be able to tailor a bespoke treatment course, helping to stabilise shedding, regrow hair and preventing baldness moving forward.
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.