The Link Between High Protein Diet & Hair Loss

The Link Between High Protein Diet & Hair Loss

People who want to shed weight or gain muscle often opt for high-protein diets. On the other hand, you may ask whether this diet can cause you to lose hair and if nutrients could play a role. Hair loss is linked to high-protein diets, as this article explains.


How a High-Protein Diet Affects Hair Loss

If you're following a high-protein diet, you may have eliminated or substantially reduced the number of carbohydrates in your diet. Lack of certain meals may lead to nutritional deficiencies, leading to hair loss if left untreated. Your hair will suffer if your body isn't receiving the nutrition it needs to function correctly.

Hair loss is rare when a high-protein diet is followed. Lynne J. Goldberg, MD, a dermatologist professor at Boston University, is the head of the Hair Clinic center at Boston Medical Center. She says that getting enough protein is essential for good hair growth.

A protein-calorie deficiency may cause alterations in the hair, says Dr. Goldberg, a nutritionist. Because individuals in the States often eat adequate protein, that's not an issue for patients in our country.

However, Dr. Goldberg warns that an abrupt change in diet that leads to significant weight loss might cause hair loss. In patients who have had gastric surgery or suffer from gastrointestinal problems (Crohn's, celiac) or anorexia, she observes a degree of nutritional insufficiency.

She adds that a rigorous high-protein diet that leaves you feeling so full that you don't have room for anything else might also be a problem.

When a person's diet is already out of sync and heavy in protein, "it may be losing out on certain nutrients," adds Dr. Goldberg. It's not just the quantity of protein that's a problem; what else is missing from the diet is the problem.


How to Spot Protein Buildup in Hair

Protein is necessary for healthy hair, but too little or excess may weaken and stiffen your hair, which is the opposite of what you want. Protein excess could be the problem when your hair begins to act up, and you can't figure out why. You may have far too much protein accumulation even if you've given your hair loads of care with fresh shampoo, moisturizing masks, or treatments.

If your hair isn't feeling as healthy as it used to, but you haven't been able to discover a cure, you may have an overabundance of protein. Protein accumulation is easy to see, but it is another story to get rid of it.


Symptoms of Protein Buildup In the Hair

The ability to identify the difference between dry hair that hasn't been adequately moisturized and hair with an excessive amount of protein will be required. It's a red flag if your moisturizing efforts have little impact (or worsen the condition, depending on whether the moisturizing product includes protein). There are a few other things to keep an eye out for:

  • It's easier for your hair to fall out of your head.
  • A straw-like and rigid feeling pervades your hair.
  • You have exceptionally brittle, lifeless, and parched hair.
  • It's lost its previous natural radiance.
  • Even more "crazy" knots and strands.


How to Deal with Protein-Overload Hair

It will take time to recover from protein buildup, but you won't have to worry too long to see results with the right approach. If your protein accumulation is severe, it may take a few weeks before you begin to notice improvements. 

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Taking care of your hair's moisture has to be a priority. You'll need to go through your products, get rid of moisturizing lotions that include protein, and switch to ones that don't contain it.

Proteins exist in various forms and might be challenging to get rid of. Check the ingredients of any new items you're considering purchasing to see whether they include these frequent terms for protein. 

Listed below is a series of protein-rich foods:

  • Hydroxyapatite colloidal
  • Soy, wheat, or quinoa proteins
  • Silk
  • Keratin, as well as oat flour

To get your hair back in balance, you should not use any products that boost your hair's protein during this time.

Coconut oil, for example, is known to do more damage than benefit to protein-sensitive hair. Your hair may have too much protein if it feels "crunchy" after using coconut oil.

So what next?



You don't need to overdo it by excessively washing your hair to remove extra protein from the surface. To make your hair softer and easier to handle, try washing it with a clarifying or cleansing shampoo to remove the protein buildup. A shampoo like HAIRFINITY Gentle Cleanse Shampoo can clean your hair and remove buildup without stripping it of its natural moisture.



It's advisable to avoid doing extreme styles when your hair is dealing with protein excess to prevent breakage. Because your scalp is attempting to re-establish its equilibrium, it's best to use mild products or avoid using any at all for the time being. You will be able to see if your hair's texture changes if you keep up with your cleaning and moisturizing routine.

Even while protein is essential for healthy hair, an excess of a good thing is bad for hair. With time, cleansing, and protein-free moisturizing, your hair should return to its normal texture.


Other Nutrients that Can Cause Hair Loss

While nutrition is essential for hair growth, poor eating habits or consuming some nutrients in excess can also lead to hair loss. Below are some nutrients that can cause hair loss when taken excessively;

  • Vitamin A

According to the IHODS, fat-soluble vitamin A is necessary for vision and organ function. However, too much vitamin A in your body can cause hair loss and other problems. 

Acute and chronic vitamin A toxicity have different symptoms. Symptoms of acute poisoning include hives, nausea, and vomiting. Hair loss, dry skin, and an increased risk of bone fractures are all common symptoms of the acute form of the disease.

  • Selenium

Numerous cellular and bodily functions need selenium, a trace element. Hair loss may occur if you consume enough of this substance, much like vitamin A. Selenium is notably abundant in Brazil nuts, some kinds of seafood, or organ meats. However, it may also be found at lower levels in various other foods. People who use selenium supplements are the most likely to develop selenium poisoning.

According to the National Institutes of Health, hair loss, nausea, vomiting, poor breath, discolored nails, exhaustion, and irritability are also frequent side effects.

  • Eating Disorders: Overeating and Undereating

If you drastically decrease your calorie consumption, you may not be getting enough vital nutrients like protein, essential fats, and zinc. If left untreated, a condition known as telogen effluvium—or "resting hair loss"—can develop. When reversing hair loss, having a more balanced diet is the best way to proceed.

In the end, your hair might be harmed by having too much or too little of a good thing. Even though eating has been linked to hair health, registered dietitian and clinical nutrition expert Gabrielle Tafur says it's "extremely difficult to show definitive correlation and causation between factors" in nutrition. As a general rule, she says that people should eat a healthy diet "rich in anti-inflammatory, plant-based foods" to help their hair grow and keep their hair from going gray.


How to Improve Your Hair with Proteins

Proteins, when taken moderately, play an essential role in promoting our hair rather than causing hair loss. The body uses proteins in building its cells and tissues, including that of the hair. Hence, hair loss can also be caused by an insufficient amount of protein intake.

Now, how do you ensure that your hair receives a sufficient amount of protein since it's the building component of your hair? Protein may be either orally or topically applied to the hair. Continue reading to learn more.


  1. Oral (Natural diets and supplementation)

Among the best protein sources are eggs and berries, shrimp, fatty fish, tofu, lentils, almonds, and cottage cheese. Preventing hair loss and making hair seem healthier are benefits of eating these foods.

Protein supplements are also an option if you believe that your diet isn't doing enough to improve your hair health. Protein powders, as well as energy snacks, are among the possibilities.

Whey protein (found in milk) is a common ingredient in protein powders, as is soy (for those who are vegan or vegetarian) (milk-derived). Soy, whey, lentils, almonds, and other protein sources may be found in protein bars. Make sure your protein bar has no added sugar or low-calorie sweeteners. 

Whey protein's low lactose content and the most soluble type of protein make it ideal for supplementation. Consult a doctor about adding whey protein to your diet as a source of protein.

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  1. Packs of protein (Cosmetic Products and DIY packs)

Hydrolyzed proteins attached to hydrolyzed proteins help fill up the holes in your cuticle, providing an additional layer of protection. Shampoos, masks, and mists are all forms of protein therapies on the market. A lot of rice and silk proteins make up the bulk of these products.

If you get your hair done at a salon, you may want to ask about getting a keratin treatment. Frizzy hair may be tamed via a chemical procedure.

Your protein treatments should be free of substances such as sulfates, parabens, isopropyl alcohol, polyethylene glycol, and cocamide DEA. 

Several DIY protein hair packages can nourish and restore your hair. To get you started, here are a few ideas:


  1. Egg-Yogurt

The protein in eggs and the probiotics in yogurt are essential for a healthy head of hair. The egg and the yogurt should be beaten together in a bowl until they create a homogeneous paste. Apply this to your hair and scalp. After 30 minutes, wash your hair with a moderate shampoo for silky, lustrous results.


  1. Coconut Milk-Avocado Combo 

Avocados, which are rich in coconut milk, contain vitamins A, B, and E. Coconut milk, as well as olive oil, are added to the mashed avocado to create a creamy texture. Rinse your hair after 30 minutes of using this product. You should avoid using this pack if you have oily hair since avocado helps weigh hair down.


  1. Snack Pack with Avocado and Mayonnaise

Egg yolks, the primary component of mayonnaise, are an excellent source of protein. Mix 2 teaspoons of mayonnaise with mashed avocado. Apply it to your hair and scalp. After 30 minutes, wash with a moderate shampoo.


How Deficiency of Other Nutrients Can Cause Hair Loss

Weight loss or nutrient deficiency may cause an acute manifestation of the disorder telogen effluvium (TE). When the hair prematurely approaches the telogen phase, resulting in thinning or losing hair, this condition is known as telogen effluvium. Dieting can cause both physical and mental stress, which can lead to more hair going into the telogen phase than normal, which is when it grows back.

Lack of the following nutrients can result in hair loss:

  • Iron

This is the most prevalent dietary deficit in the world and a well-known culprit of hair loss. When it comes to hair loss, it's not known how much deficit is required, and studies are unclear. Malabsorption (such as celiac disease), use of H2 blockers, and a vegan or maybe vegetarian diet are all risk factors.

  • Zinc

Zinc is essential to the development of your face and hair, along with other vital bodily processes. Despite the fact that this form of deficiency is very rare, risk factors include age as well as gastrointestinal illness, anorexia, malabsorption, and chronic liver or kidney problems.  It could also cause sickle cell anemia, diabetes, cancer, and a vegetarian eating plan.

  • Vitamin D

Hair loss and even thinning may be caused by a shortage of vitamin D, which scientists say is necessary for healthy hair development. Evidence suggests that a shortage of vitamin D is linked to alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that results in hair loss in specific areas.


Final Thoughts

Proteins nourish hair strands. Damaged hair, as well as hair loss, may occur if your hair is protein deficient. Adding protein to your hair may be accomplished via various means, including dietary protein, supplements, treatments, and even DIY protein hair masks. 

However, when there is excessive use of protein such that other nutrients like carbohydrates are lacking in your meal, such a situation could also lead to hair loss. Hence it's essential to maintain the right balance of proteins to ensure that your hair flourishes.