According to a report, the global protein supplement market’s profits will increase to $8.7 billion by 2025. The increasing trend can be explained by greater health awareness, especially among younger generations. Commonly, you might’ve heard of protein shakes being used as a post or pre-gym snack. But why protein? It is because of the numerous benefits associated with the compound. Other than helping build muscle mass, lower blood pressure, lose weight and improve immunity, it is quite popular in the beauty industry. Many hair products are advertised with special emphasis on keratin or whey protein for hair.
Thousands are looking for ways to strengthen their hair, accelerate its growth or prevent it from falling out every day. Wherever you go on the internet, you might come across many people swearing by the benefits of hair proteins. They can bring a flicker of hope in people’s lives. They have found the ultimate solution, after all, for their damaged hair problems. In some severe cases where a person has burnt their hair accidentally, they may look for all the available means to regrow them.
Are Proteins Really Important for Hair?
Definitely. There’s absolutely no doubt about that. If you take a cross-section of a hair strand, you’ll see that it consists of three regions. Of course, you may not observe it with your naked eye. The outermost layer is the cuticle. Made of overlapping, dead cells, it is a protective surface over the shaft of the hair. The middle layer is called the cortex and is mostly composed of the protein called keratin. It is also the part which is responsible for giving the colour its hair. At the centre is the medulla. It also contains loosely packed keratin.
Naturally, two types of keratin occur in our hair. There is a type I that consists of acidic amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) and type II is composed of basic amino acids. Together these two-fold over each other in a complex manner to form our hair. Needless to say, protein deficiency will lead to hair loss. It is one of the main constituents of the structure of our hair. So, we do need an adequate intake of proteins.
How Much Protein Should I be Taking?
You should be consuming 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of the bodyweight (0.36g/pound) on a daily basis. This amounts to 56 grams per day for the average sedentary man. This quantity varies for sedentary women. They should consume 46 grams per day. You should keep a check on it by reading the food labels. This way you can find out whether you are lacking it.
Although protein deficiency will make itself known to you through various symptoms. You may start feeling angry or depressed. Skin, hair and nail problem are a given. Other than that, you may lose muscle mass, feel hungrier, and even experience swelling. This makes hair proteins a rather attractive choice.
You should be careful, though, because protein poisoning is very much a thing. When your liver and kidney will metabolize the compound, there’ll be an increase in toxic nitrogenous waste in the blood. This includes urea and ammonia. High amounts can even cause death.
What Keratin Proteins are Present in Hair Products?
Usually when people say “hair protein”, they are referring to keratin. Almost everyone is familiar with this compound since every hair mask, shampoo, and hair lotion claims to have it. They say, that it’ll make your hair shinier and thicker. However, it might not come as a surprise that these products obtain keratin not from humans but rather animals. Usually, it is chicken feathers or sheep wool. If you have used such products before, you know that they leave something to be desired. What they claim differs quite significantly from what they deliver. You almost never get any long-lasting results with them.
One reason according to research is that the sequence of amino acids in these proteins differs from that found in human hair. This makes them less effective. Of the types of keratins mentioned above, K31 (acidic) is most abundantly found in the middle layer of hair. This contributes to its greater strength. This research conducted showed that K31 obtained from E.coli helped increase the diameter, strength and smoothness of damaged hair. It even straightened curly hair.
Keratin protein occurs naturally in our hair. It is highly prone to damage by exposure to the sun, wind, pollutants and chemical treatments. If your hair is weak, dry and brittle, keratin protein treatment might work out for you. It is an effective yet temporary solution. When these external treatments claim about hair growth, you should note that they are mostly exaggerations.
Is There Any Other Protein For Hair?
You know we are talking about whey protein. It is extremely popular among athletes and gym-goers. The idea behind drinking protein shakes is that soon after vigorous exercise, amino acids are delivered straight to the muscles in high quantities. This is what helps increase muscle mass. It takes lesser time to circulate because the powdered form doesn’t require further breakdown.
Whey is essentially a type of protein one can obtain from curdled milk. By this measure, many believe that it can be beneficial for hair growth. Since our hair is 85% protein, whey would add to its strength. However, whey protein for hair has found itself in a whirl of controversies.
Is Whey Protein Truly Beneficial for Your Hair?
One side does claim that whey protein is harmless. But there are two sides to every story. Some experts are of the opinion that whey protein might cause hair loss, especially in those with a history of pattern baldness. In males, whey protein has been found to increase the level of testosterone during intense workout and muscle building exercises.
This breaks down to dihydroxy testosterone (DHT). This hormone is a more aggressive form of testosterone. Testosterone itself is responsible for the development of secondary sexual characteristics in males. This includes deepening of voice and formation of hair in the beard and pubic region. But the same hormone’s high quantities lead to hair loss in the scalp region. Men often experience a receding hairline, as a result.
Though male pattern baldness is a hereditary condition, intake of excess protein, beyond recommended dietary allowance levels, can prove to be detrimental to hair growth. Thus the relation between hair growth and whey is questionable. Furthermore, you need to be careful about the possible side effects of this compound. High doses can cause headache, nausea, cramps, bloating, thirst and increased bowel movements.
Moreover, there are two types of whey proteins: whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate (WPI). WPI is the one that causes harm. It has been shown to increase the level of testosterone in the body.
Are All Protein Shakes Bad?
Those who are lactose intolerant usually take up whey protein as its substitute. But, if possible, you should try to eat dietary foods that naturally contain proteins. This includes lean meat, fish, milk, yoghurt, eggs and cheese, among many other items.
There are some other chemicals found in protein shakes that are considered harmful such as creatine. Our body naturally produces it in the muscles. Some meats also contain it. At most, you can add 3g of creatine to your meal. But some claim that it can also cause hair loss. So, you should rather consult your doctor before taking in bulk amounts of any substance.
What If You Continue Losing Your Hair?
In spite of taking your proteins, if you continue to observe hair loss and other symptoms associated with protein deficiency, then it is time for you to visit your doctor. Once he/she has examined and given a diagnosis of a lack of protein in your diet, it is time for right action. This clearly means that the cause of your hair fall somewhere else.
You’ve been clearly using keratin involved hair products for a long time but are seeing no difference. This means hair protein is not the solution. It might be that your genetics aren’t allowing you to have thick hair. You might need a hair transplant. And that is the only permanent solution for those suffering from this condition. It is essential that you get treatment as soon as possible. Because prolonged delay will increasingly deteriorate your donor area. Without a good donor area, hair transplant surgery will not be possible for you.
With Longevita, you don’t have to wait to make a booking. We offer free audio or video consultations and aftercare appointments five days a week by our expert patient consultants or aftercare specialists online at the comfort of your home. It is absolutely free. We want your journey with us to be as comfortable as possible with us. You can take notes of all the questions in your mind and learn all you want about hair loss and transplant surgery during a consultation.