mhn news & blog

August 03, 2012

Bodybuilders Beware: Increased Testosterone can Trigger Hair Loss

Some common side effects of anabolic steroids are achy muscles, acne, and an enlarged heart. The elevated testosterone level may also increase a person’s risk for male pattern baldness. One of our enzymes, Type II 5-alpha reductase, transforms testosterone into DHT (dihydrotestosterone) in both women and men; this can be bad news for hair.

DHT clings to receptors on hair follicles and causes them to weaken. So, while bulking up with steroids, you may also follicle down. However, increased DHT does not guarantee hair loss. Genetic makeup is always a factor.

Steroids and Women

Anabolic steroids cause masculinization of the female body. Body fat and breast size decrease, and skin is more coarse. The woman’s voice becomes deeper and though there may be an excessive growth of body hair, scalp hair may be lost. With continued steroid use, these changes can be irreversible.

Even natural supplements for building muscles, which are easily purchased over-the-counter, can have a weakening effect on follicles. By reading the supplement’s label you will see that non-prescription bulk builders contain goodies such as androstenedione, and DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone). Their side effects include acne, high blood pressure, infertility, mood swings, aggression, and baldness.


One treatment for muscle loss and male pattern baldness resulting from low testosterone is a medication called finasteride. It works by preventing testosterone from being converted to DHT, resulting in new hair growth and more lean muscle in older men. Taking Finasteride can cause some serious side effects and proper research should be done before trying this medication.

Finasteride research outcomes on both pre and post menopausal women with patterned hair loss are controversial. There have been both successes, and failures (finasteride did not perform better than placebos). Maybe the proper dosing for women is not yet known. It is known that pregnant women should not use finasteride since it causes feminization of the male fetus.

Maybe it goes without saying, but taking finasteride should always be with physician approval and monitoring.

Au Natural

The safest way to increase muscle is by ingesting the nutrients required to build it. Protein is the most important and can be taken as food or as protein powder derived from natural food products. If you eat plenty of protein, you will automatically get the amino acids necessary to build muscle.

Meat and fish are the best sources of creatinine (needed for muscle energy). Carbohydrate powders such as dextrose, maltodextrin, or fine milled oats help restore depleted blood sugar levels without disturbing the natural hormone balance of the body.