Can protein shakes cause hair loss? Half of Americans use supplements, according to statistics published on CNN.com. By 2017, analysts estimate that the health supplement industry will grow to a staggering $36.1 billion. Protein shakes are among the most popular supplements available, often viewed as a relatively transparent and safe option for managing weight, muscle mass, and even sugar cravings. Now, fitness enthusiasts are concerned after a correlation between protein shakes and hair loss is sweeping the Internet.
Do Protein Shakes Cause Hair Loss?
Many health and fitness enthusiasts are surprised to hear rumblings of a connection between protein shakes and hair loss. Protein supplements are often made with whey, a food byproduct that can be extracted from ordinary milk. Some manufacturers offer plant-based protein supplements as well, an option that is widely popular among vegans and other health conscious consumers.
So, how can something derived so closely from natural food products cause hair loss?
Creatine, DHEA, and Other Supplements That May Cause Hair Loss
A closer look shows that not all protein shakes cause hair loss. In fact, there is no clinical evidence to support the claim that protein shakes cause hair loss at all. At best, there seems to be a correlation between hair loss and specific types of protein shakes that contain added ingredients for weight, muscle, and dietary management. Those ingredients include creatine, DHEA, and other prohormones.
Creatine— The link between creatine and hair loss is still being studied. In one of the most talked-about studies, creatine was correlated with a 56% increase in DHT production.
DHEA—Be wary of products that claim to have DHEA, a hormone that some supplement companies may market as a “mass builder” or weight loss aid. DHEA may increase the risk of hormone-sensitive cancers and has been linked with many side effects, including hair loss, according to Mayo Clinic.
A word on testosterone replacement therapy. Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is a popular physician-guided treatment for men who have low levels of natural testosterone, a condition commonly referred to as Low T. For more insight on testosterone, DHT, and TRT treatments, visit this article on TRT and hair loss.
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