Does Drinking Whey Protein Causes Hair Loss?

Before taking whey protein powder you might wonder, does whey cause hair loss. It’s important to know if whey protein can cause hair loss due to substances in the milk protein. Learn more here!

Hair loss

Are you wondering, does whey cause hair loss? Around 5500 BC, Polish farmers noticed that a liquid separated from the goats’ milk curds. Today, products like whey supplements like protein powders have become popular dietary supplements. They’re used for different functions like pre/post-workout supplements. Whey protein is a complete protein, so it contains all the 9 essential amino acids (EAAs) that people must get from foods and supplements. While it’s a natural food, keep in mind that some people have milk allergies or lactose intolerance. This is due to different substances like enzymes and sugars that can trigger unwanted side-effects.

Whey protein usually doesn’t cause people any health issues. However, there are possible and risks to know about. It’s possible to cause some side-effects like thirst, nausea, and headaches. Since whey (liquid) and casein (curds) can trigger milk allergies you should also avoid whey supplements. In most cases, you won’t experience major issues although that might happen based on issues like other health conditions you have. It might seem odd that milk proteins could cause hair loss. That said, as always it’s important to take a close look to separate fact from fiction. This can help to clear up whether it could cause a bald spot.  

What Causes Hair Loss?

Small hair loss is normal including an average of 50 to 100 hairs per day. However, certain factors can trigger more hair loss that can lead to a receding hairline or bald head including:


This is due to sex hormones that can trigger hair loss. This type of hair loss is known as male pattern baldness and is common among men. That said, you can’t blame “bad genes” for hair loss if there are other factors like bad diet, cigarette smoking, and high stressors. It’s just worth noting that if your father and/or grandfather were bald there’s a greater chance you will be too.


Cancer cells attack healthy cells, which can produce results like tumors. If your body’s nutrients drop significantly it can also cause hair loss. You can also experience hair loss from treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy. These can be effective for treating cancer yet also cause side-effects like hair loss.

High Stress

This is another of the most common causes of hair loss. Stress is a part of life but the key is to deal with it effectively. High stressors cause effects like increases in cortisol hormones. Besides possible hair loss stress can also affect other body parts including:

  • Heart
  • Skin
  • Bones
  • Teeth
  • Muscles
  • Reproductive System

Prescription Meds

These contain strong chemicals that can be effective yet also trigger side-effects. So it’s important to check whether or not a new medicine you’ve been prescribed has certain side-effects like hair loss. In some cases, it might be worth the side-effect if it’s effective for boosting health.

Unhealthy Diet

Certain vitamins and minerals like Vitamin A/Bs/C/D/E and iron/zinc are all important for healthy hair. Besides preventing baldness you should make sure to get these vitamins for other body and brain functions. On the other hand, if you’re suffering from nutrient deficiency it can increase the chance you’ll deal with hair loss.

Does Whey Cause Hair Loss?

Whey protein supplements typically don’t cause any unwanted side-effects among people. However, there are some exceptions. Since whey is a milk protein you should avoid it if you have a milk allergy. This could cause various issues like bloating, nausea, LBM, and so on.

There are other possible side-effects you might experience when consuming whey protein including:

  • Thirst
  • Nausea
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Bloating
  • Lower appetite
  • Cramps
  • Loose Bowel Movement (LBM)

These symptoms can be caused by a wide range of issues so it’s important to observe whether you have multiple ones after consuming whey protein supplements. If that’s the case then there’s a greater chance you’re experiencing side-effects.  

If you’re a pregnant/breastfeeding woman it’s best to be on the safe side and avoid whey protein supplements. There isn’t a lot of research that shows it can cause various health problems. However, since it’s possible it’s better to stay on the side of caution and avoid whey protein powders and other products.

It might seem ironic that whey proteins might cause hair loss. That’s because it’s a complete protein and hair follicles need protein for good health. People often consume protein powders like whey protein since the muscles can absorb them faster than food.

Studies show that whey protein speeds up the hair loss process. That’s based on studies that it boosts testosterone levels when combined with strength training. This is greatly due to the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) in “whey protein isolate.” This has a big effect on increasing testosterone levels. It’s a good thing for building muscle mass but also might cause baldness. That’s because the male hormone affects body tissues like hair follicles.

A related issue is many athletes, weightlifters, and bodybuilders are consuming more whey protein than the amounts tested in studies on whey protein and hair loss. That means hair loss could be amped up more than in such research.

Whey Protein: Dosages and Alternatives

One of the key issues related to whey protein and workouts is how much you are consuming. The recommended dosage is usually 1 scoop (25g) or 2 scoops (50g). Since hair loss is linked to increased testosterone levels, you should also consider not consuming the supplement as a pre or post-workout supplement.

Another option is to ditch whey protein supplements and go with real food like milk, cheese, and yogurt. These options are healthier options anyway since they’re less processed than protein powders. Some good options include full-fat milk, cheddar cheese, and Greek yogurt. Another plus of this option is you’re getting both whey and casein proteins.

Yet another option is to go with non-dairy protein supplements including:

  • Beef
  • Egg
  • Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Seeds
  • Soy
  • Pea

These options provide the pre/post-workout benefits of whey minus the milk proteins. They’re also better options for vegetarians minus the beef protein powder. Another plus is you can also avoid the unwanted side effect after learning does whey cause hair loss.

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