You may be aware that protein powder is widely used to promote muscle building and tissue repair. But is protein powder good for hair growth? This article will answer the question.
If your body does not get enough protein over a period of time, it will begin to ration the nutrient. This can result in brittle hair, an impediment to hair growth, and even hair loss.
A study, first published in 2017 in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, demonstrated that a protein supplement not only reduces hair loss but is also good for healthy hair growth.
What Is Protein Powder?
Protein powder is a widely used nutritional supplement, made popular by celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 80s and 90s.
Protein is a vital macronutrient that helps build muscle, repair tissue, and make enzymes and hormones.
Using protein powder is also known to support weight loss and help with toning muscle.
There are lots of different protein powders available, which include plant-based and dairy-based powders.
What Is The Most Popular Protein Powder?
There are several different types of protein powder on the market.
Whey tends to be the most popular protein supplement (and so a lot of research tends to focus on this), but it is not the only one.
Common types of protein powder include:
Popular among athletes, this water-soluble milk protein is a complete protein which means that it contains all of the amino acids required by the human body.
Whey protein is absorbed easily by the body.
This protein supplement is bursting with glutamine, an amino acid that speeds up the recovery of muscles after exercise.
Casein is dairy-based so it is unsuitable for vegans or those with allergies to milk.
For those who do not consume dairy, soy protein is an excellent alternative to whey or casein. It also contains all the essential amino acids.
Pea protein is an excellent source of the amino acid arginine. Many of the plant-based protein powders contain pea protein.
It is a high-quality alternative option to soy or pea protein.
Hemp seeds are another source of complete proteins that contain essential fatty acids.
This is a good choice for vegans or those with dairy or soy allergies.
What Are the Different Types of Whey Protein?
With whey protein being the most popular, it is likely you will find yourself consuming this in your quest to boost hair growth by increasing your protein intake.
Whey protein is a mixture of whey-isolate proteins which is the liquid part of milk that separates during the processing of cheese.
Whey protein isolates, whey protein concentrate, and whey protein hydrolysate are some of the individual types.
Whey Protein Concentrate
This is the cheapest of all three whey protein powders. At approximately 58-89 %, it has the lowest content of protein.
Whey Protein Isolate
With a low volume of fat and lactose, whey protein isolate contains 95 percent of the protein.
Whey Protein Hydrolysate
This is the most expensive of all the whey protein powders and has 99 percent protein. It undergoes partial hydrolysis, and so it is termed the ‘pre-digested’ type of whey protein.
Does Protein Powder Work for Hair Growth?
Hair grows from the root where the cells are grouped together to form the hair protein keratin.
The hair root, or follicle, feeds off surrounding tiny blood vessels as it grows. This means that a lack of the nutrient, protein, will have an impact on your hair health and growth.
Like all the other cells in the human body, hair cells require protein to repair cells and continue to make new ones.
So, by consuming protein (which is what hair, skin, and nails are mostly made up of) you are supporting your hair to grow stronger and longer.
How Does Protein Powder Affect the Health of Your Hair?
As well as promoting hair strength and growth, protein powder has a few other significant benefits for hair:
Promotes A Healthy Scalp
When consumed regularly, protein powder nourishes and strengthens hair.
Protein has acidic properties which help combat dandruff and scalp psoriasis. This improves the overall health of the scalp.
And healthy scalp means healthy hair!
Shampoo And Conditioner
As an alternative to your shampoo, why not try a little protein powder?
Just rub some powder on the scalp to achieve a clean oil-free scalp then wash it off with lukewarm water.
Or, you should first shampoo hair as normal then follow it with a rinse of protein powder.
Leave it to work for about 10 minutes then rinse. Using protein powder as a conditioning treatment gives hair an injection of body and texture.
It is especially beneficial for fine limp hair, as it does not weigh the hair down like other hair products sometimes do.
Can Prevent Hair Breakage
To re-iterate, hair is largely made up of the protein keratin, which is produced within the hair follicle.
Dietary protein is essential to produce strong healthy hair.
Protein also contains the amino acids necessary to form a protective structure around the strands of hair to protect from damage and split hair strands.
Furthermore, it can boost hydration within the hair.
If you are someone who frequently uses heat or chemicals to style your hair, then adequate protein is even more important.
The heat and chemicals can damage the keratin, leaving you with dull brittle hair, susceptible to breakage.
Are There Any Side Effects?
There is a belief that the excessive consumption of whey protein can lead to hair loss. But as yet, there is no solid evidence to back this claim.
There are also other side effects reported to be associated with consuming too much whey protein:
- Digestive problems such as gastritis, nausea, and bloating.
- Can worsen issues associated with the kidneys.
- It can lead to the body’s store of calcium being depleted resulting in brittle teeth and bones.
- In females, the body can generate excess levels of ammonia.
- Can lead to liver problems.
How to Get Protein Powder Into Your Diet
As previously mentioned, there is a variety of protein powders to choose from. The recipes below use pea protein powder and whey protein powder.
The boost in protein from these recipes should make you notice a significant improvement in hair growth.
Pea Protein Powder Recipe
You will need:
- 2 scoops pea protein
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ½ cup blueberries
- ¾ cup almond milk
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- Sliced almonds for topping
- Mix the oats, berries, milk, cinnamon, syrup, and pea protein in a jar.
- Give them a shake to ensure all ingredients are combined.
- Leave to sit in the fridge for about 3 hours, or overnight.
Optional: add sliced almonds, berries, and/or extra cinnamon on top.
Whey Protein Powder Recipe
You will need:
- Protein powder of choice
- Pineapple juice
- Purchase a good protein shake mix with whole foods, vitamins and minerals that can all benefit hair health. Ideally try to get hold of ones that contain vitamin E, amino acids and herbs.
- Make a shake as directed on the label. Letha Hadady, Chinese herb consultant, suggests adding some pineapple juice to see considerable benefits to your hair.
- Drink the shake every morning for several weeks to see results.
Best Protein Powders And Products To Try
With lots of protein powders and products on the market, it has never been easier to inject a boost of protein into your diet.
Olly Plant Powered Protein
This plant-based product is available in lots of delicious flavors including chocolate, super berry, and vanilla. It is low in sugar and can be mixed with plenty of extras like chia seeds, blueberries, spinach, and almond butter if you fancy making it a meal replacement.
Vega One All-in-One Shake
This protein powder blends seamlessly with smoothies and shakes. Why not try blending it with your nut butter of choice? It comes in a variety of flavors and includes all nine essential amino acids.
Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
This is a flavor-free versatile powder: it can be blended with water, soup, coffee-anything really for a protein hit. It also contains hyaluronic acid and vitamin C to support nail, skin, hair, and joint health.
Iconic Protein Coffee Drink
Sweetened using monk fruit, these protein drinks are a good ready-to-drink snack or healthy breakfast for those on the go. They provide a boost of low-sugar, a low-calorie grass-fed protein with fiber.
Orgain Organic Protein
Use this in your favorite protein shake recipe for a speedy breakfast or snack. It can also be used in sweet baking to give your muffins or cookies a protein and energy boost!
Simply Fuel Protein Balls
Protein Balls are a great whole food protein snack. They offer the perfect balance of protein, healthy fats, and carbs. Each serving packs 8 grams of protein into tasty balls of deliciousness.
Gatorade Zero With Protein
Gatorade Zero with Protein offers the same proven hydration benefits of Gatorade Thirst Quencher, but with 10g of protein isolate added. It is available in three delicious flavors.
Protein powder is good for hair growth as protein is a vital building block for the strands of your hair. With so many protein products now on the market, your only problem will be which one to choose.
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