By Paul Taylor
There is a very strong link between ethnicity and hair loss.
Caucasians suffer from it more than any other ethnic group. But the Inuit people (Eskimos), Native American Indians and Chinese suffer from it the least.
This article explains how genetics and diet can account for the huge variations in hair loss between ethnic groups.
If you've read the skull expansion section, then you already know* that this type of hair loss (androgenetic alopecia) is caused by the growth of certain skull bones.
* If you didn't know that, then here’s an interesting email sent in from someone who did read up on the skull expansion theory:
Human skull shape is a genetically determined characteristic which can obviously vary quite considerably from one person to the next. But it can also vary between race. Some ethnic groups tend to exhibit certain skull shape characteristics that are quite widespread among their people (as you'll see below).
And that's important because, some skull shapes are much more likely than others to experience bone growth during adulthood and, therein, start the hair loss process. This means that, by comparing the predominant skull shapes among racial groups, the reason for this correlation between ethnicity and hair loss can be more fully understood.
The Inuit face usually has a very flat, broad and steep forehead, like those shown in these photos.
These are all skull shape characteristics typical of someone who maintains a strong hairline at the front. Furthermore, a very broad forehead will often oppose bone growth and hair loss throughout the vertex (crown of the scalp) too.
The Inuit people live in small populations and isolated communities. This will restrict genetic diversity in offspring. Therefore, it follows that similar physical characteristics will be common. And the typical Inuit skull shape is one such genetic trait which will be passed on from one generation to the next.
It should also be noted that the facial features of both the Inuit people and Native American Indians share similarities with the Chinese, and hair loss incidence in Asians is similarly believed to be very low.
So there's no doubt in my mind that these ethnic groups
support my belief that the genetic characteristic of skull shape is
intrinsic to the development of this type of hair loss.
The Inuit diet is very high in fat and protein (it's mostly composed of seal, whale and fish such as salmon).
But, whilst protein is obviously extremely important for healthy hair growth (hair is almost entirely composed of a protein called keratin) I believe the significance of the Inuit diet lies in the quantity of fat they consume rather than the quantity of protein*¹.
*¹ In fact, it's because of their excessively high protein intake that osteoporosis is widespread among the Inuit people).
Clearly, a high fat diet is not normally associated with either good health or good hair growth.
However, the type of fat that the Inuit people
consume contains very high levels of omega 3. This is an essential
fatty acid, which means it is essential for health, and has to be
derived from the diet because the body can't manufacture essential fatty
acids itself. And studies have shown that omega 3 plays a critical role in
maintaining good health for the Inuit people. Source: Sciencedaily.com
And omega 3 can also be of benefit to healthy hair growth. These are the reasons why:
*² I believe a study of the Inuit people to record their brown fat levels would be an important measure for future research into this type of hair loss.
Another interesting fact to note about one of these ethnic groups is that the Native American Indians historically used saw palmetto as a tonic.
Saw palmetto is a small fan palm indigenous to North America, and the small berries it produces act as a DHT inhibitor
High levels of DHT have been linked to prostate gland enlargement (BPH) and hair loss. So, since saw palmetto inhibits DHT production, many men today take it as a dietary supplement to treat either BPH or this type of hair loss.
Note though, that the reason why the Native American Indians kept their hair is because of their skull shape characteristics, not the saw palmetto berries they ate!
Finally, other races and ethnic groups with historically low rates of this type
of hair loss
(such as the Japanese) are now experiencing a rapid rise. And the reason why, is mostly due to their change towards the junk food diet enjoyed by the Western world.
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