When your hair strands turn brittle, your nutritionist or trichologist will often advise you to increase your consumption of protein-heavy foods or whey protein for hair loss. This is because 88-90% of each of your hair strands is made up of the protein keratin. In fact, protein makes up 20% of the human body. This is why it’s important to maintain a healthy protein intake through your diet for healthy hair growth.

What Happens When Your Protein Intake is Curtailed?

If your body doesn’t get enough protein, it will simply start rationing it. Your body will use what it does get for important functions like essential cell growth and repair and production of enzymes, hormones, and antibodies.

Since hair growth isn’t regarded as crucial to normal bodily function, it isn’t allocated any protein when the amount available is limited. This makes it vital to consume enough protein for hair growth. For starters, an easily available and affordable protein supplement for hair loss could be whey powder.

The growth cycle for your hair follicles alternates between the growing phase and a resting/shedding phase. If they don’t receive enough protein during the former, they enter the latter instead of growing. This is why when you have a protein deficiency, you might see higher than normal hair loss in addition to your follicles turning dry or brittle. 

Is a Lack Of Protein Behind Your Hair Loss?

Your whey protein intake might affect your keratin levels and hair loss, but it isn’t necessarily going to be the only factor causing hair loss in the event of a deficiency. Let’s have a look at other factors that commonly lead to hair loss.

  • Alopecia: Androgenetic alopecia, also known as male pattern baldness, is one of the biggest global culprits behind hair loss. It also happens to affect both men and women. Unfortunately, it’s also incredibly difficult to cure without dedicated medical attention. If you’re suffering from alopecia, an increase in protein intake for hair growth might not necessarily be effective.

    In this case, you’d be better off consulting a professional to chart out a treatment regime. Usually, these involve a regular application of topical substances like minoxidil or rogaine. There are also other physical factors like friction from tugging and tight hats to consider.
  • Psychological Causes: Another situation where boosting protein for hair growth might not do much is where the hair loss has been caused by psychological factors. Supplements like whey protein can’t reliably treat hair loss if it’s been caused by elevated stress levels.

    Factors like stress and depression call for an overall change in lifestyle and long-term support from professionals and family. Hair loss can, in fact, be reversed if treated properly in these cases.
  • Medication: Going over the recommended dosage of certain medications or even self-medicating can trigger hair loss as an adverse reaction in certain patients. An interesting example of this is vitamin A. Many people don’t know that taking too much of vitamin A can actually lead to increased shedding. Similarly, if you’re allergic to certain substances, no amount of protein will be beneficial for hair growth.

    Certain medication that has hormone-altering effects can also have implications for hair loss. Ironically, some believe that certain types of whey protein can actually trigger hair loss due to their ability to boost testosterone production, which in turn increases DHT levels. DHT is a hormone responsible for blocking new hair follicles – effectively causing hair loss.

hand placing pills into a box

Which Foods Provide the Right Protein for Hair Growth?

If you’ve been taking whey protein for muscle growth or even hair loss, chances are you’re well aware of the important role that a balanced diet plays for healthy hair. Let’s have a look at a few protein-rich foods for better hair growth


Eggs are one of the best sources of protein you’ll come across. Not only are they rich in protein, but they also provide biotin, which is essential for your follicles to produce keratin. Eggs also contain other nutrients for hair growth, like selenium and zinc.

Lean Meats

Chicken, turkey breast, and lean beef are all delicious additions to your diet and great sources of protein for hair growth. They also provide iron and vitamin B and are low in fat and calorie content. 


Fatty fish like salmon tend to be rich in protein as well as omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to increased hair volume. If you’re living in an area where salmon is expensive or tough to come across, consider taking up an omega-3 supplement to get those hair benefits anyway. 

salmon and vegetables on a plate


Nuts are a superfood for hair loss that even supplements like whey protein can’t replace. Almonds and peanuts are filled with protein, vitamins, and essential nutrients, in addition to being a delicious snack you can enjoy any time of the day. Lentils and grains like oats and quinoa are just as good and a big part of the diet in vegetarian cultures, precisely because they’re rich in protein.

Peanut Butter

Who doesn’t love a good PBJ? Peanut butter is both delicious and a protein-rich food excellent for hair growth. With a whopping 9 grams of protein in just a quarter cup of peanut butter, there’s not much out there that can beat this food for the balance of taste and protein that it offers.

What To Look Out For

These are just a few of the protein rich alternatives to whey powder that you can use to combat hair loss. To sum things up, here’s what you should look for when you’re filling up that pantry.

  • Biotin: Keep an eye out for superfoods like avocados and eggs that are rich in biotin, also known as vitamin B7. This crucial vitamin is in charge of regulating not just your hair, but also your skin, nails, and internal organs. This water-soluble vitamin is a fantastic way to strengthen your hair and should absolutely be on your shopping list.
  • Vitamin A: It’s easy to forget about scalp health with all the discourse around protein for hair growth and overall hair health. Neglecting your scalp is a sure-shot way to promote long-term hair fall. Foods rich in vitamin A increase the amount of sebum produced by your body, which in turn regulates scalp health.
  • Coconut oil: Considering this is a far cry from whey powder, coconut oil might seem like an unlikely contender for curing hair loss. Interestingly enough, this oil is responsible for binding that protein to your hair and ensuring healthier growth. Regularly massaging your scalp with coconut oil could prevent breakage at the roots and even stimulate blood flow in your scalp.

scoop of protein powder for hair growth

What Are Some Other Ways to Provide Protein for Hair Growth?

Protein Packs

These are applied externally to help moisturize and nourish the hair. Keratin treatments are a very common form of external application that seals the hair shafts with a coating of protein to eliminate frizz and add shine.

Whey Protein for Hair Loss

Whey is basically the liquid created as a by-product of cheese production. Whey protein is a mixture isolated from this liquid. It is a rich source of amino acids, or protein molecules, and is a good source of concentrated protein for hair growth.

The Bottom Line – Protein and Hair Fall

So what’s the verdict? When it comes down to it, you shouldn’t consider protein as the be-all and end-all for hair loss, even if you’re supplementing with high quality whey. The core idea here is that while a deficiency in protein can be terrible for hair growth, going over the recommended daily limit won’t give you longer or healthier hair. 

To ensure the best for your hair, your strategy going forward should be to maintain an unimpeachable lifestyle. That means incorporating a balanced diet that gets you crucial nutrients like vitamin B7 and vitamin A along with your daily allowance of protein. Additionally, make sure not to neglect your mental health, since we’ve seen how conditions like stress and depression can spiral into hair loss.

Protein For Hair Growth

Balanced protein consumption is absolutely crucial, whether you’re experiencing hair growth issues or not. Sometimes, however, even a balanced diet may not provide the full complement of nutrients your hair follicles need. 

You can always consider incorporating supplements along with whey protein into your diet to fight hair loss. Our own cherry-flavored Hair Enhancement gummies are packed with essential nutrients like biotin and vitamin B12 to help restore your crowning glory. Contact us at Howdy Handsome with any questions you might have.

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