Could protein shakes be the cause of your hair loss?

Specific Conditions

Research conducted by an Australian transplant surgeon, Jennifer Martinick, suggests that protein shakes could be a factor in the increase of hair loss in men

With more emphasis on how a person looks, not just the face, hair and latest fashion, but the shape of the body has encouraged people to take on more gym exercise and protein drinks to help build the body.

Protein shakes are a dietary supplement and there many products on the market some of which can do more harm than good. Some of these shakes contain additives that can upset the hormone balance of the individual, particularly men. The effect of this can increase hair loss in those that have a history of alopecia, causing permanent damage to the hair follicles.

Creatine and inorganic growth hormones which are added to protein shakes to help muscle growth, can also increase the testosterone levels which are broken down by the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, releasing a chemical known as DHT (dihydrotestosterone). DHT is the known cause of hair follicle destruction particularly in men, and more so in men with hereditary hair loss. When the hair follicles shrink and eventually die, hair can no longer be grown and cannot be replaced other than by a hair transplant or scalp micropigmentation.

The two approved medications, minoxidil and Propecia, can help to slow the hair loss down in some people and encourage hair to grow, but will not replace dead follicles. Once the treatment is stopped, after a few weeks hair loss will continue. The labels giving details of ingredients in the shake need to be carefully looked at before being taken.

Protein shakes with DHEA and creatine, two growth hormones, should be avoided and look at using an organic alternative. If hair loss is noticed after the constant use of these shakes, professional advice should be sought. It maybe the individual was unaware of hair loss or a history of hair loss until taking these protein shakes. Unfortunately once the hair follicle has been destroyed hair will not grow so the sooner advice is sought the less hair will be lost.

Individuals who supplement their diets with these shakes are normally into a strict fitness regime which includes the use of weights to increase muscle bulk and regular intense workouts. This can increase the testosterone level which will put that person at greater risk of hair loss. It is not to say exercise is bad for health, ‘normal’ regular exercise is of great benefit to body and mind. It is when it becomes excessive that damage can be caused.

Keeping a healthy balanced diet, knowing the fresh foods that contain essential vitamins and minerals the body needs to supply the nutrients to the organs should normally suffice. Supplementing the diet with specific vitamins and minerals needs to be taken with care. Too much intake by the body can cause more harm than good. There are recommended daily intake guidelines which are there for safety, increasing daily intake is sometimes required but should only be done under the guidance of a professional.

Aerobic exercise is excellent for a healthy body and mind. It helps to reduce the androgen levels in the blood and will decrease the possibility of damaging the hair follicles. The body is a complex system that requires a healthy diet, exercise and sleep all in the right proportions. Drinking protein shakes may make the person feel better at the time but it is not long lasting and could have an adverse effect.

When hair starts to fall out for no apparent reason, maybe more hair coming out when brushing or washing, it is always worth consulting an expert. Hair is lost daily, normally 50-100 strands a day as part of the hair cycle but if it becomes increasingly more there may well be a problem with health and this needs to be diagnosed. If it is down to genetics, a history of hair loss in the family, then the earlier it is diagnosed the more help there is to slow the process down.

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