There are billions of men across the globe who currently, or in the very near future, will consider anti-balding treatments. The American slice of the industry alone was already worth over $1 billion in 2011.
There is no shortage of hair regrowth commercials touting expensive treatments as the answer. There is robust debate over whether many of the treatments that claim to combat balding actually ever work.
A combined team from several German universities discovered that small DNA sequences affect the probability of a man going bald by up to 700%. Such research explains why the genetic factor is commonly touted as indicative of an individual's likelihood of suffering Male Pattern Baldness (MPB). That would indicate that most treatments are futile.
However, other research seems to suggest that the answer isn't quite as black and white, and that both nature and nurture play a role in MPB. In particular, diet and lifestyle may be controlled to counter – and perhaps even prevent – the phenomenon.
Ayurveda researchers have found that the herbs used to treat an enlarged prostate and hair loss are often the same. They suggest that specific changes in diet that increase an individual's uptake of minerals like calcium, iron, copper, zinc, and magnesium can contribute significantly to their hair health.
On the other hand, some of the medications that combat MPB are based on the discovery that the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is one of the leading factors of MPB. Finasteride is one such pill, and it blocks the enzyme that facilitates the testosterone conversion process.
This approach is not considered a cure, however; such medications simply act as temporary enzyme blockers while the dosage continues - the effect ceases thereafter. In fact, it is even possible that hair loss accelerates after the medication is discontinued.
Lotions like Minoxidil take a different approach - to stimulate hair growth through the enlargement of hair follicles. While up to 70% of men may regrow hair using this method, results may take as long as four months to become apparent.
The Journal of the American Medical Association has published research on the intimate link between MPB and smoking. The study in question indicates that the incidence of MPB increases with the quantity (number of cigarettes smoked) and intensity (period between cigarettes) of a smoker's habit. It also showed that smokers who quit improved their chances of retaining their locks.
Perhaps you fall in the 70% of men who are genetically predisposed to MPB. Eating and living right - an attractive alternative to expensive medication and treatment - might possibly delay or prevent the onset of MPB. If they do not, well, you will only live a healthier life than before. It's worth a shot.