If you are using protein shakes to help build muscle you may be surprised to learn that there could be a consequence to your hair health. If you want to remain fit and hairy, it is worth knowing that some protein shakes could be doing more harm than good. There are many additives found in protein shakes that could be accelerating your hair loss. These additives can be inorganic growth hormones and creatine, which are intended to aid in the growth of muscle mass.
What is male–pattern hair loss?
Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA), is also known as male–pattern baldness or hair loss. AGA is a genetic condition that reduces the size of the hair follicles and the growth stage of the hair cells.
Testosterone is broken down by an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. This results in a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which then inhibits the growth of new hair cells in the scalp. The actions of DHT and the sensitivity of hair follicles to DHT blocking the hair follicle from accepting essential nutrients are what causes hair loss.
However, it is not the amount of testosterone or DHT that causes hair loss, it is the sensitivity of the hair follicles. The sensitivity of hair follicles is determined by genetics. The androgen receptor (AR) gene is responsible for determining the hair follicle sensitivity to DHT.
If your receptors are particularly sensitive, they are more easily affected by small amounts of DHT. The more sensitive the hair follicles are, the more easily hair loss can occur.
So how is this related to protein shakes?
Health professionals have noted that consuming protein shakes regularly may accelerate male–pattern hair loss. They mention that some of the additives in protein shakes are inorganic hormones such as Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), also known as androstenolone, and creatine. These additives are intended to promote the growth of muscle mass, by increasing the amount of ‘free’ testosterone in the body.
This increase in ‘free’ testosterone means that there is also an increase in DHT. These growth hormone additives are not necessarily harmful. However in individuals that are predisposed to male–pattern hair loss, the process could be accelerated.
According to a Hair Transplant Surgeon, the majority of his patients (70%) that present with male–pattern hair loss are regularly consuming protein shakes. Interestingly, participation in heavy or excessive weight-lifting may also impact on hair loss. Heavy lifting naturally increases testosterone levels, even without supplementing with protein shakes. While cardio will reduce the amount of DHT in the blood stream.
What should you do?
The first step for men experiencing hair loss, is to cut out protein shakes that contain growth hormones such as, creatine and DHEA. These should be replaced by natural sources of protein such as chicken, eggs and fish. It has been indicated that the types of exercise in the fitness regime also contributed to hair loss, regardless of dietary supplements. The most notable being short, intense workouts using heavy weights to increase muscle mass, due to the increased release of testosterone.
For those who are looking to remain fit and hairy, we recommend that you seek alternative sources of protein. Also try to incorporate more aerobic activity into your fitness regime. A good list for natural sources of protein can be found here.
There’s also a cool infographic we found from Positive Health Wellness.
Alternatively, if you are determined to use a protein supplement we recommend Help Hair. Unlike a lot of other protein shakes, Help Hair does not contain any growth hormones or ingredients that will affect testosterone levels. It’s pure natural goodness.
So please, don’t hesitate to contact us to find out how we can help.
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