Protein is the building block behind every part of our body. In addition to water, protein is also most commonly found in the body. The most vital macro-nutrient, protein plays many roles in growth, maintaining and repairing tissues. Proteins are made up of amino acid bonds and apart from the already existing ones in our body, we need more essential proteins that we must derive from the food we consume. So how important is protein for our hair?
Well! It is extremely important. Our hair is primarily made of a protein called keratin, and protein aids in hair growth and nourishment. Any reduction in protein in our body can lead to hair fall, hair thinning and other hair problems.
Is My Hair Loss Due To Protein Deficiency?
Yes, hair loss may occur due to prolonged protein deficiency along with other causes. Protein and hair loss are interlinked as protein is an essential component of hair. Hair protein or keratin is a fibrous protein that forms the entire structure of hair. The amino acid chains help build the hair blocks and look after the health of the hair. These chains consist of multiple elements such as oxygen, hydrogen, carbon and sulfur. They are also responsible for the healthy growth of skin and nails.
If there is protein shortage in your diet, you may experience other hair problems besides hair loss. Hair becomes dry and brittle which leads to hair breakage and split ends. Protein is vital for healthy hair and without it; hair loss is very much a possibility.
How Lack Of Protein Causes Shedding Of Hair?
Since protein is the building block for our body, lack of protein can certainly lead to hair loss. We already know that hair is made of an exclusive protein called Keratin. So what exactly does Keratin do for your hair?
Keratin helps in creating and building hair follicles by providing it sufficient nutrients to help it grow and stay glued to your scalp. When there is a shortage of protein in the body, the body immediately starts to safeguard protein for vital organs. Since hair is not important for survival, it ends up being the first to go. Therefore, lack of protein will cause heavy hair loss as the body deems it unnecessary to provide hair with the valuable protein.
How Much Protein Is Essential For Healthy Hair?
According to Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC in USA), the body requires 35% of total daily calories from protein. This would estimate to about 46 to 56 grams of protein for one adult. The number varies depending on the height, weight, age and gender of the individual.
Providing the body with the right amount of protein will not only stop hair loss but help prevent any further problems. Protein is an essential macro-nutrient that must be consumed in the appropriate quantity for the body to remain healthy and strong. Protein is required for hair as much as it is required for the healthy functioning of any other part of the body.
Can Hair Loss Due To Protein Deficiency Be Reversed?
For those who lack sufficient protein in the body tend to suffer from major hair loss. This not only affects the self-esteem but can also cause several problems for the body as well. But this is all reversible. By simply adding more protein rich foods in your daily diet will not only stop hair loss but also boost the growth of stronger hair. Consumption of protein helps in hair growth as well as increasing the hair density. Protein benefits the hair in multiple ways and ignoring this fact will not only hinder your hair quality but also lead to baldness in worst cases.
Remember to consult with a dermatologist and dietician for a proper meal plan and follow the guidelines for healthy and nourished hair.
Treatment For The Hair Lost Due To Protein Deficiency
If you have already lost your precious locks due to protein deficiency, then there’s little you can do to reverse the loss immediately. But, adopting patience as a virtue, you can opt for cosmetic treatments to re-grow the lost hair and simultaneously work on consuming more protein to prevent any further loss –
- PRP – Platelet rich plasma is revolutionizing treatments for hair regrowth. Sought after by many, PRP can re-generate and activate dormant hair follicles to re-grow again. PRP is used to fill out bald spots and can help with hair thinning. Blood is drawn out of the patient and this extracted blood is placed in a USFDA approved machine (called centrifuge) that enriches the platelets and it is further activated by infusing growth rich proteins in them. The “platelet rich plasma” is then injected on the patient’s scalp. The results are visible within few weeks after the first few sessions itself.
- Minoxidil – A USFDA approved topical ointment that is highly recommend by dermatologists as an effective treatment to re-grow your hair. Minoixdil comes in two forms; 2% and 5 % versions. The medication comes in a liquid solution (with a dropper) or foam form, and it must be applied twice a day directly on the scalp (as directed by your trichologist) to encourage the dormant hair follicles to rejuvenate and grow again. Minoxidil is also used to fight against hair loss and hair thinning. Results vary from person to person, but significant changes are visible within 2 months of daily application
- Finesteride – Another USFDA approved drug for hair loss and hair thinning for men only. It works by decreasing the natural body hormone DHT that causes hair loss.
Best Protein Rich Diet For Healthy Hair Growth
Hair loss can be inevitable, and it does affect everyone, be it at adult or at post adult stage. And most cases we can ensure the hair loss is contained and prevented from getting worst. A healthy diet rich In all essential nutrients especially proteins can help us keep hair loss at bay. This will not just prevent hair loss and hair fall but help in growing stronger and healthy hair with a fuller scalp. Some protein rich foods that may help us prevent hair loss include –
1. Seeds – From sesame to flax, chia and hemp seeds, these tiny food items are bursting with Omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, fiber and of course protein. One tablespoon of hemp seeds gives you 5 grams of protein
2. Nuts – Almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts, peanuts are all packed with protein, iron, selenium, omega 3 and various other micronutrients that are needed for vibrant and bouncy hair. Just 1 cup of almond gives you 20 grams of protein. Talk to your dietician before eating nuts as a little goes a long way
3. Beans and lentils – Lentils (tur, masoor, urad and bengal gram) and beans (kidney, chickpea, white beans) provide anywhere between 10-20 grams of protein (for every 100grams). Beans and lentils also encourage stronger and healthier hair as it is full of iron, zinc, Vitamin B1, 2, 3, and 6.
4. Dairy – It’s true, a glass of milk can save your hair! Eating one cup of cottage cheese ensures your body gets 25 grams of protein. Try to include a form of dairy in every meal to increase your protein intake. Examples include milk, yogurt, cheese, paneer, buttermilk and cream.
5. Complex carbs – Don’t forget to include complex carbs in your diet. Complex carbs include rolled or steel cut oats, sweet and white potatoes, yams, whole grain wheat, brown rice and quinoa. A hot bowl of oats will boost your protein intake as it offers 5 grams of protein. Complex carbs are also packed with Vitamin B (the whole spectrum), fiber and zinc
6. Lean meat and eggs – Chicken, turkey, and lean cuts of beef (fat trimmed) are all excellent sources of protein. A 100 gram of chicken provides 30 grams of protein whereas 1 egg provides 6 grams of protein. Meat and eggs are very rich in biotin and iron which are crucial for healthy hair
7. Seafood – Salmon, tuna, cod not only contains high amounts of protein but they are also packed with Omega 3 and other essential fatty acids. Both nutrients are essential for hair growth and preventing dandruff. One tin of Tuna provides 25 grams of protein.
Healthy hair starts from the inside. Make sure you consume the required proteins in your daily diet, and follow a good hair care routine. Also visit your trichologist for any hair fall which is greater than normal, to treat them in time. The earlier you detect a problem the quicker it is to treat them effectively.