Debunking the myths related to the baldness gene
Whenever you want to give something to anyone in your family, you may often settle for ordinary things such as a pair of socks or gift coupons. But have you really thought of gifting a DNA testing kit to one of your family members? DNA testing kits have become all the rage in the past few years because they’re a convenient way of checking out your ancestral history.
Today, you’ll get testing kits that’ll help you find a range of answers about yourselves and your ancestors. For example, a DNA testing kit may help you find out whether you’ve got the genes that make you prefer salty foods over sugary ones or vice versa. Other than figuring out a few fun things, a DNA testing kit can even help you find out something as heavy-duty as your chances of getting a serious disease such as Parkinson’s disease.
Getting DNA testing kits is easy because many companies are cranking them out. There’s even a testing kit that helps you find out whether you have a balding gene — the one which is responsible for hair loss, especially in men.
But we’ve noticed that there’s a truckload of myths related to hereditary hair loss among men. These myths even cause men to press the panic button easily and quickly. Which is why, we’ve dedicated this installment for debunking a couple of myths related to hereditary hair loss. Besides, we’ll even explain how accurate these DNA testing kits are for checking out whether you’d go bald. Ready? Let’s get down to brass tacks, then.
Do you get the hair-loss genes from your mom’s side?
Here’s a growing myth: If your mom’s father is bald, you’ll likely end up getting bald too. Most of the time, the myth goes way too specific; meaning, if your grandfather started losing his hair when he was just 25, then you’ll likely start losing your hair by that age too.
Before you start feverishly going through your family album, hoping to find your grandfather’s picture when he was still young and going bald, you should know a few things.
First of all, there’s a shred of truth attached to this myth — it’s that male pattern baldness, which is medically known as androgenic alopecia, mostly comes from genetics. One study discovered that almost 79% of patterned baldness in men is heritable. One other research revealed that the androgen receptors gene causing patterned baldness in males is found on the X chromosome.
In a study, scientists found that the X chromosome is responsible for carrying a few other hair-loss biological factors such as fat cell differentiation, hair-growth phases and melatonin signaling. So, let’s understand what this X chromosome is.
Biological males contain both the X chromosome and the Y chromosome. On the other hand, biological females just have two X chromosomes. As males receive their X chromosome from their moms, paying attention to maternal genetics makes some sense.
So, whenever a male gets a trait from the X chromosome, the likelihood of that trait to get larger is higher. Why? Well, because that trait in the X chromosome won’t be so easily balanced out by the other X chromosome. On the contrary, women need to have genetic traits in both the X chromosomes — because that’s the only way the traits will express themselves.
A mother gets one X chromosome from her father, so she makes her father’s genetics a probable indicator for the kind of traits she’ll pass on to her male child. Having said that, it’ll be overly simplistic to claim that hair loss is because of a mom’s genetics. Why? Because hereditary hair loss is a fresh field of research where new discoveries are being made almost every day.
A case in point: There’ve been studies claiming that balding genes are even present on Y chromosomes — now, the involvement of a father’s genetics is complicating the study of hereditary hair loss even more.
What if my DNA test indicates that I may go bald?!
In spite of their sky-high popularity, DNA testing kits are new in the scientific landscape — and that’s why they’re still evolving and improving. When you trust a DNA testing kit to know whether you’ll lose your hair, you’re basically giving your saliva and waiting for your reports. Although this process may look extremely convenient, it’s not completely accurate.
Truth be told, these DNA testing kits are liable to mess up the final results. For example, if you belong to a non- Caucasian ethnicity, the genetics data is limited. Because of this reason, the results produced by the testing kit cannot be entirely reliable.
Even the companies offering testing kits warn their customers that just because a genetic variant is found in someone’s DNA doesn’t mean it’ll express itself. That means DNA testing kits mostly give predictions and not diagnoses. Always remember that there’s a big difference between a gene carrier and having a disease’s symptoms. Which is why, it’s unsurprising that you can pass a balding gene in your DNA to your kids without losing your hair.
Is going bald only related to genetics?
Does your DNA test say you’ll most probably go bald? In that case, you must know that genetics is just one of the many factors that can turn you bald. That is, there are a lot of factors at work that can affect your hair health to the point that you start losing it.
It’s true that the lion’s share of cases related to male pattern baldness comes from genetics only. But there are a few factors that can’t be analyzed by a DNA testing kit alone. It’s always better to consult a physician if you’re experiencing hair loss. Why? Because hair loss can be a sign of more serious health problems.
Want to know a few non-hereditary factors that can cause hair loss? Well, here’s the deal.
- Some medications used in the chemotherapy sessions for treating cancer can degrade hair follicles.
- A few autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s Disease, Alopecia Areata and Lupus may also cause hair loss.
- According to a leading health website, stress-causing psychological conditions, including Trichotillomania and Telogen effluvium, can cause someone to lose their hair.
Most of these factors aren’t treated so easily with medications — especially some cases of trichotillomania and telogen effluvium may need psychiatric or psychological consultations.
How to avoid hereditary hair loss?
To your sadness, you can’t simply do away with a balding gene in your system. The presence of this specific gene can mean that you may experience hair loss. But whenever you get hit by hair loss, you should be ready to take some steps that’ll prevent your condition from getting worse.
In fact, many hair-loss cases may even come from different chemical reactions happening in your body. For example, DHT or dihydrotestosterone — an androgen made from testosterone — causes hereditary hair loss. The thing is, all biological men produce DHT. So, whenever you genetically go bald, the DHT shrinks in a way that it destroys hair follicles on your scalp. That eventually results in hair loss. But to your relief, there are some treatments that can entirely stop hair loss by blocking DHT. Hair-loss treatments use finasteride medication for preventing DHT production, which finally helps avoid hair loss from happening.
Finding out that you’re genetically likely to lose hair is a nerve-wracking experience for sure. And it’s harmless to get DNA testing kits and see whether you have those balding genes inside you. But whenever you want to get ready to prevent hair loss, we’re your one-stop destination for finding medically accurate information and proven products that promote hair health.