Can soda consumption increase the chance of baldness in men by 57%.

Tempo de Leitura: 3 minutos

It was recently a matter in several news portals in Brazil and abroad, the outcome found by a group of researchers in China who associated the consumption of 1 can of soda per day with the increased chance of baldness development by up to 57%.. For you to understand more about the topic, male pattern hair loss (MPHL) consists of a progressive, non-scar loss form of hair loss, in which it has become a public health issue, as the occurrence increases on a large scale as the age of onset begins to undergo regression. That is, while the age for the appearance of capillary fall decreases, more men complain about the picture, poém, is there even a relationship between the consumption of soda and baldness?

That said, its development is related to several factors, including genetics, anxiety, sleep time, age, body mass index (BMI), history of diseases, physical activities, nutrition and smoking, and another extreme relevance is dietary intake, since several studies point to the negative effect of the Western diet on MPHL. Thus, it is assumed that due to the high consumption of added sugars directly influences the polyol pathways and, thus, triggers capillary fall, so there may be a relationship between the consumption of soft drinks and baldness.

In the scientific literature, studies aimed at understanding the causes of MPHL commonly refer to the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, including soft drinks, juice with added sugar, sports drinks, energy drinks, sweetened milk and tea/coffee with sugar. In addition, current studies indicate the correlation between their consumption and the development of chronic diseases, obesity, dental caries and emotional problems.

Interpretation of the Study on soft drink and baldness

A recent cohort study it was carried out to understand the association between the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and the fall of male pattern hair in young men. To comcant the sample, young people aged between 18 and 45 years living in mainland China were selected, and average age is 27 years.

When it comes to food intake, compared to individuals with a balanced diet, the MPHL group consumed more fried foods, sugar, honey, sweets, ice cream and fewer vegetables, in addition to consuming sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soda, at least once a day. Thus, it is evident that these present a tendency to increase the risk of male pattern baldness. However, it is noteworthy that this association was found among people who consume soda in its “original” version, not the zero sugar version.

In addition, age, schooling, BMI, smoking, alcohol consumption, family history, staining/permanent/discoloration/relaxation, sleep time, physical activity, anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) also contribute to greater susceptibility to the development of MPHL.

However the researchers hypothesize that the higher intake of soft drinks among younger men is due to a “lack of awareness of the harmful effects” of sugary drinks. They still believe that “Chronic diseases and deaths are so vague and distant for young people that they are not willing to give up the satisfaction brought by soft drinks for long-term health goals.”

The biochemical justification for the outcome

With the direct effect of sugar-sweetened beverages in MPHL, the high sugar content induces a higher serum glucose concentration, which triggers the polyol pathway creating a high affinity for aldose reductase. Since the biochemical symptoms of androgenetic alopecia (AGA) in the scalp are highly suggestive of an overactive polyol pathway due to a continuous glucose supply, the polyol pathway is enhanced by a positive feedback loop.

Furthermore, to consolidate this hypothesis, in vitro and in vivo studies have shown that the use of glucose in the polyol pathway reduces the amount of glucose available for keratinocytes of the outer sheath of the root of hair follicles, and gluconeogenesis is also antagonized by the depletion of ATP and phosphate levels. Thus, the lack of energy in the keratinocytes of the outer sheath of the root is considered a possible cause of MPHL.

Clinical practice: is there a relationship between the consumption of soda and baldness?

When it comes to the consumption of soda and baldness, biochemically, this relationship exists, but as it was a cohort study, we cannot say that in fact there will be such a sharp increase in the chance of baldness development, even with a justification that involves the biochemical mechanisms of glucose for this. As the researchers themselves point out in the article, the lifestyle of volunteers, composed of a hypercaloric diet and with high consumption of ultra-processed foods, sedentary lifestyle among other factors, also contributes greatly to the outcome found.

Therefore, further research with the design of randomized clinical trials and future systematic reviews and meta-analyses are necessary, but beforehand it is prudent of us as health professionals to advise our patient to reduce the consumption of soft drinks according to each individual.

Bibliographic references

Reading Suggestion:
The Role of Sugary Drinks in Obesity and Chronic Diseases

Watch doctor Bruno César’s video on the Science Play platform –
Hormonal Changes in Obesity

The article: Shi, X.; Tuan, H.; Na, X.; Yang, H.; Yang, Y.; Zhang, Y.; Xi, M.; Tan, Y.; Yang, C.; Zhang, J.; Zhao, A. The Association between Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Male Pattern Hair Loss in Young Men. Nutrients 2023, 15, 214.

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