Under normal circumstances, about 90% of a person’s hair is actively growing; the other 10% is in a resting phase, which ends when the follicle sheds the shaft and new hair grows in its place. The process is ongoing: every day, a person can lose anywhere from 50 to 100 hairs each day. However, people who suffer from illness, stress, or poor nutrition may lose more than that, causing them to have thin hair, receding hair lines, patches of thin hair or baldness, or baldness over their entire head. For some of these causes, not all hair loss can be stopped or reversed. At the same time, simply increasing the amount of protein a person consumes each day may help prevent or stop hair loss. Yes, hair loss and protein are related.
The Importance of Protein to Hair Growth
Because hair is made of protein, protein plays a key role in hair production. In order to prevent hair loss, people need to consume optimal amounts of protein each day. If a person does not consume enough protein, the body will react by conserving protein and slowing the growth of hair and fingernails. Studies have shown that after two to three months of protein deficiency, hair loss becomes noticeable, though hair growth does begin again after a person starts consuming healthy amounts of protein.
How Much Protein is “Healthy”?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, protein should comprise 10 to 35% of a person’s daily caloric intake. In other words, adults should consume about 46 to 56 grams of protein, depending on their caloric needs.
Sources of Protein
As with many vital nutrients, protein can be found in a variety of foods, including meat, eggs, dairy products, nuts, seeds, beans, soy products, and some fruits and vegetables. Generally, each ounce of beef, pork, fish, or poultry has around 7 to 8 grams of protein. Other sources that provide the same amount of protein include an egg, a tablespoon of peanut butter, ½ oz. of nuts or seeds, and ¼ cup of dried beans. To receive the full benefits of these proteins, and to capitalize on the other benefits of foods for your hair, it is important to choose from a variety of sources of proteins.
Talk to a Doctor
Protein deficiencies are not the only causes of hair loss. Other causes can include low levels of iron, thyroid disorders, hormonal imbalances, illness, and stress. To prevent or stop hair loss, and to reverse any hair loss that has occurred, you should speak with a medical professional who can address your specific needs.
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