Whey protein powder is a widely and cheaply available source of protein for athletes and bodybuilders. However, there are many concerns related to the side effects of such supplements. People also have concerns about whether whey protein causes hair loss. If you have been wondering about the same, we are here to address this anxiety of yours.
As such, there is not much evidence supporting the claim of hair loss through whey protein, but there might be a few things to know. Let us find out!
Whey Protein and Hair Loss
It must be pretty much known to all that protein is essential for hair. However, it is possible that too much of it might do just the opposite. Whey protein is a by-product of cheese production and consists of all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. It is a go-to for many bodybuilders and athletes in meeting their protein requirements.
Overall, whey protein concentrate is a very safe option, and hair loss is not one of its side effects. However, as per this report, Dr. Larry Shapiro contends that Whey Protein Isolate, in comparison to Whey protein concentrate, may contribute to hair loss. Intake of whey protein concentrate twice a day for a period of 4 weeks was shown to improve the appearance of hair while also making it healthier.
Dr. Shapiro goes on to say that the concentrated amounts of amino acids in Whey Protein isolate cause an increase in testosterone production in the body, which breaks down into DTH by the action of the 5α-reductase enzyme. This hormone has been associated with hair loss by the study, which says that it is responsible for causing Androgenetic alopecia (AGA), also known as “male pattern baldness.” So, a greater amount of testosterone will lead to your hair follicles being more affected, leading to greater hair loss.
Excess protein may lead to damage to hair; however, not much research can be found on it. However, there are a few research papers that demonstrate hair loss as one of the side effects of an overdose of protein. This report also goes on to show how a few supplements may result in poor health of hair and cause hair loss. Along with growth supplements and anabolic precursors, Whey protein isolate is said to be one such supplement that can lead to the highest amount of hair fall.
What can be done?
It might sound weird to hear protein causing hair loss problems. Protein is beneficial for your hair; you just need to consume the right amount. Isolate whey protein consists of a higher protein concentration per gram. Concentrate whey protein, on the other hand, has a lesser protein concentration and consists of other beneficial nutrients as well. So, in case you notice hair fall from using isolate whey protein, you can switch to concentrate whey protein.
Therefore, while whey protein as such might not be a reason for hair fall, some of its forms may accelerate hair loss problems. It can be more prevalent in individuals already suffering from hair loss-related issues. You do not need to worry about having to give up your whey protein supplement. You might not want to compromise on your gym requirements, but at the same time, you do not wish to lose your hair either. Switching to whey protein concentrate should help, in this case.
It is also a good option to stop taking your whey protein for a fixed period of time to check if the hair loss stops. This technique can help you monitor better whether the cause behind your hair loss problem is whey protein consumption. You can decide your next step accordingly.
You can also try incorporating natural protein in your diet, but their biological value will not be comparable to whey protein. It would also be nice to have a balance between cardio and weight-training exercises. Including aerobic exercises, such as jogging, in your routine can help decrease your DHT levels. As discussed already, DHT causes more hair loss; hence a decrease in DHT levels will help reduce the thinning of hair.
Note: It is always best to consult your nutritionist, dietician, or doctor before choosing a supplement.
1. When is the right time to take whey protein?
It would be best to consume whey protein nearly one hour after your workout. It will help your body recover faster and also improve your athletic abilities. But you can also take it at any point during the day.
2. How much whey protein should be consumed in one serving?
There isn’t any specific measure of the amount of whey protein to be consumed per serving. It depends on a number of factors such as age, your body weight, or even the type of activity you are doing. However, it is suggested by some to take about 20 – 25 grams of whey protein per day.
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You might have a few goals for your body – be it losing fat or gaining muscles, protein supplements can help. You do not have to worry about leaving your protein supplements altogether. Talking to a doctor and choosing the right supplement that would suit you the most would be a great option.
Meanwhile, let us know in the comment section how has whey protein supplement worked for you. Did you find it affecting your hair?