Does Whey Protein Supplements Help Hair Growth

Does Whey Protein Supplements Help Hair Growth

Whey protein supplements have become popular in the market, especially due to the growth in the fitness industry. Especially because it helps muscle recovery, but can it also help hair growth?

There are various kinds of supplements which are popular in the fitness industry. Among such, are whey protein. So does whey protein help to promote hair growth? Well the answer is both yes and no. 

Why? In short if you are suffering from a deficiency in protein and losing hair, then whey supplements can help you.But it can work the other way around too. If the whey protein boosts the level of testosterone in your body, it can cause hair loss too. 

Lets not jump into quick conclusions. In this article I will clarify a doubt which even I had, by discussing the information I found out through research.

Content in Whey supplements

Whey protein is most commonly taken by the people who are passionate about fitness, weight loss, bodybuilding, etc. The whey protein helps such individuals to repair their damaged tissues and improve the recovery time period.

Whey protein contains protein at large and carbohydrates, fats and sugar in small quantities. Given below are the general nutrition facts (Average Figures) in most common whey supplements found in the market.

NutritionNutrition Value Per Scoop (32 g)
Protein25g
Carbohydrate2g
Fat1.5g
Sodium60mg
Calcium170mg
Iron0.6mg

The whey protein supplements will not contain vitamins but it has high protein, iron and calcium content which is good for the bones, cells and tissues in our body.

What is the recommended level of protein intake

There is a recommended level of intake for nutrients depending on the age and gender of a particular person. These values are given as a general guideline, however the requirements could differ from one individual to another.

A supplement stands for its word itself. It should be taken only if you have such deficiency only. Having an excess amount of nutrition than the required level can cause issues too.

Therefore it is important to know the basic nutrition requirements for a given individual. The following values are the recommended intake of the relevant nutrients for a healthy adult by the British Nutrition Foundation.

NutritionRecommended intake per day
Carbohydrates260g
Fats70g
Proteins50g
Sodium1600mg
Calcium700mg
Iron14.8mg

How can whey protein supplements help hair growth

As I have mentioned above, whey protein supplements contain protein, iron, calcium which is important for healthy and stronger hair.

Whey Supplements

The food we eat also contains these nutrients. As you know various types of food have various nutrients in them in various quantities. Is it absolutely essential to track your nutrition intake? No. But it is always better to have a rough idea on what is your total intake at the end of the day.

If you want to know the nutrition content in any food, you can simply google and find out.

So, if your body is deficient in such nutrients including iron, protein and calcium, then your hair will be weak and prone to break much easily.

As I mentioned before, a supplement should only be taken if your body is lacking such nutrients. So whey protein supplements can help your body to be nourished with protein, iron and calcium if you are already in a deficit. 

1. Proteins

Our hair is made up of keratin which is a form of protein. The keratin provides strength, structure and shape to the hair. Therefore enriching our body with required levels of protein is essential to produce keratin so that hair can grow stronger.[1]

Further protein helps to repair the damaged cells in our body. Intake of required level of protein will help to repair the damaged hair cell and reduce the recovery period of such cells.

2. Iron

Iron is crucial for our body in the production of haemoglobin. Haemoglobin helps the red blood cells to carry oxygen into the cells in our body. 

The hair follicles need oxygen to improve the hair growth process. Low level of oxygen can lead to weaker hair structure which will break prematurely.

3. Calcium

Calcium is also important for the body, in order to have a strong bone structure and healthy tissues. This strength is also essential for healthy and stronger hair growth. [2]

Further calcium would help the body to absorb iron from the food we eat. Therefore calcium indirectly helps the hair growth.

Does whey protein cause hair loss

There is a common conception that whey protein supplements could lead to hair loss too. If so how? The experts point out that the boost in testosterone will increase the level of dihydro-testosterone in our body which can trigger pattern baldness.

If the hair follicles of the given person is responsive to DHT, it can trigger pattern baldness. 

Let’s analyze the scenarios, in which the whey protein could boost testosterone.

1. Whey supplements laced with anabolic steroids

First hand, let me say that anabolic steroids are not good for your body. What does steroids do? They mimic natural hormones in our body and regulate our body to enhance muscle recovery and growth.

Steroids

The steroids will automatically boost the level of testosterone in our body for this purpose. This rise in testosterone will also increase the level of DHT in our body.

So the ultimate question is, does whey protein contain anabolic steroids? In the research I did, I could not find any evidence to conclude that whey protein supplements contain steroids. At least in the  branded supplements which are popular in the market and regulated by authorities.

However, the same cannot be said to the unbranded supplements which are not controlled by any regulatory authority. Such supplements could be laced with steroids in order to enhance the performance to increase the customer base.

So my advice would be to buy a branded supplements, from an authorized agent, which are being approved by the respective regulatory authorities. This could be quite expensive, but it will have a positive impact on your health in various aspects including your hair.

2. Weight training combined with supplements

Accroding to the information I have gathered, the experts point out that the whey protein combined with resistance training or weight training could increase the level of testosterone in a person’s body. 

However, this increase is only temporary and highly limited to the anabolic period or the recovery period after the workout. Which can be from one hour to 48 hours after a workout. So when you take whey supplements within such a period it can boost the testosterone level until the protein is digested by your body.

This boost in testosterone could increase the level of DHT which can trigger pattern baldness.

3. In my opinion of course

Ok, this is in my opinion only. According to the previous information that I have gathered, the level of DHT in our body does not influence the pattern baldness. If your body is responsive to DHT, then the follicles will be shrunk leading to hair loss, irrespective of the level of DHT.

So in my opinion, if you are working out, and you don’t have any health implications which must be addressed by a trained professional before taking any supplements, it would be okay to go for a supplement without having the fear of losing hair. Given that your body is deprived of the said nutrients, of course.

However do not take unbranded, unregulated supplements which can cause negative health implications.

Does BCAA in whey supplements cause hair loss

There is another theory saying that Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) in whey protein supplements can cause hair loss. BCAA helps in muscle building and recovery after a resistance training workout.

The experts point out that BCAA will not cause hair loss [3] [4]. However it can help the hair growth process, since BCAA will help and increase the amount of proteins and calcium absorbed to the body. Therefore it can help to make the hair stronger. 

Should you use whey protein supplements

This is a good question. Should you use whey protein? Well, if your goal is hair growth, then whey protein supplements are an absolute waste. Mainly because, these are too expensive, and you could be losing hair due to some other reasons apart from the nutrition deficiencies.

The reason for hair loss should be determined by a specialized doctor in the field of dermatology. 

So my advice is that, do not take whey protein supplements, just becuase you think your body is not getting enough protein, calcium and iron. If you have, such doubts, seek the advice from a doctor. He will prescribe you the required medication.

The purpose of this article is to provide a peace of mind to the ones who are into fitness and already taking whey protein supplements. So if you guys are worried about hair loss due to whey supplements, then don’t be.

If your body is responsive to DHT, you will experience pattern baldness whether you take whey protein or not. Just do not take anabolic steroids or whey supplements which could be laced with steroids. At least not without the guidance of a specialized doctor (endocrinologist).

So I guess that clarifies your doubts.

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