Thin Hair? Eat More Protein!

Hair PicIt is normal to lose some hair each day since hair loss is part of the normal growth cycle.  A normal rate of loss is 50 to 100 strands each day, so a loss of more than this range could signal health issues which must be investigated by a physician.  Common causes of hair loss include surgery, medications, illness or trauma and are often temporary.

However, I know that many people don’t suffer from excessive hair loss but simply lament the fact that they have thin, limp, lifeless hair.  For these people I always advise them to practice proper nutrition which supplies all the vitamins and minerals they may be lacking in.  I also advise them to avoid overstyling hair and to use hair treatments which replenish dry, brittle, and overprocessed hair.  But the number one most important recommendation I have is to EAT MORE PROTEIN!

When you consume insufficient amounts of protein, your body shifts hair growth into the resting phase which halts growth.  Basically, low protein intake equals starving your hair (not to mention your entire body).  I have had patients approach me for advice on what to do about their thin hair and I always tell them to crank up their protein intake.  Every patient who has heeded my advice has returned to me two to four months later ecstatic because they have noticed that their hair is growing faster, has become thicker and appears healthier.

Though I have always been blessed with a mane of thick, straight hair I also experienced a surge in hair growth right after I began competing four years ago.  In August of 2009 I went from ingesting about 70 grams of protein a day to a range of 120 to 170 grams per day.  Then in January of 2010 I did a stupid thing and shaved off too much hair from my neckline, leaving a one inch arc of shorn hair around the nape of my neck.  I figured I had to wait forever for it to grow out.  By July of 2010 the area I had mistakenly shaven had grown EIGHT INCHES.  That’s more than one inch per month, while a human’s average monthly hair growth is one-half inch.  It was amazing to me and proof of protein’s effects on cell growth.  Of course I did sort of feel like a freak of nature over this insanely rapid rate of hair growth!

My hair growth has stabilized somewhat since then and now grows at about an inch per month with a daily protein intake of 120 to 140 grams of protein per day.  My hair is thicker, shinier, and has become even more of a pain to deal with than ever before (and I have always had long hair).  The color has even deepened (with the exception of those evil gray hairs that lurk on the crown of my head) and I have developed more of a natural wave.

In summary, I attribute the health of my hair to the following:

  • High Protein Intake
  • Balanced diet
  • Biotin supplementation
  • Fish oil and flaxseed oil
  • CLA
  • Minimal heat styling (I always let my hair air-dry and only style it for photo shoots and competitions)
  • Regular conditioning treatments
  • Regular trims (now I have no choice but to get regular trims because my stylist layered my hair, which I LOVE)


Boost your protein intake and you will soon reap the rewards of thick, luscious hair!

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