In this article, we’ve discussed if a mass gainer can cause hair loss and what other side effects you should be aware of before taking one.
Yes, some ingredients of mass gainers may cause hair loss due to their androgenic effects.
You will get the complete details of these ingredients and the methods to avoid this downside in the subsequent sections.
So, keep reading and get to know how you can have a healthy, bulky body without having to compromise your hair health.
Why does mass gainer cause hair loss? (the culprits behind)
Mass gainers speed up hair fall, especially in people genetically predisposed to pattern baldness and with a family history of baldness.
Usually, this effect is associated with high DHT levels in the blood.
DHT or dihydrotestosterone is a modified form of testosterone hormone, and the enzyme 5-alpha reductase is responsible for its production from the sex hormone.
DHT relates to mass gainers as growth-promoting ingredients common in most such products also promote T-to-DHT conversion, increasing DHT concentration in blood.
It is readily absorbed by skin and scalp cells, and hair roots are sensitive to this molecule. Resultantly, dermal follicles become weak, and your hair starts falling.
The following are two main gainer constituents involved in elevating DHT levels;
Creatine is a popular amino acid in the bodybuilding community, known for its growth promoting and vascularity effects. However, it also increases DHT blood concentration, eventually leading to increased hair fall.
A study on rugby players reported that creatine supplementation did not affect free testosterone levels but increased DHT to testosterone ratio in blood serum.
That’s not all, our Creatine statistics and facts have it that – men’s androgen levels are somewhat influenced by creatine, specifically by DHT, which may explain why some are concerned about creatine-induced hair loss. Although the majority of users won’t experience hair loss related to creatine, except those with severe genetic predispositions.
DHEA or Dehydroepiandrosterone is an endogenous compound that increases the power output of muscles and speeds up the fiber elongation process after resistance training.
However, it acts as a precursor for androgenic hormones like testosterone and estrogen. This molecule and its sulfur derivative (DHEA) are also known to increase the DHT to testosterone ratio.
A dermatological study conducted on 18 to 32-year-old males back in 1987 shows that people who experienced more hair loss had high DHEA and DHEAS in the blood.
What Can you do About Hair Loss from Weight Gainers?
Mass gainer ingredients induce hair fall, but that does not mean you have to compromise on your hair for the sake of an aggressive, bulky body.
To solve this problem, we are listing some useful tips to prevent hair damage from gainer shakes;
1. Consume DHT-lowering foods
As we discussed above, the formation of DHT is the cause of hair loss from mass gainers; you can minimize this effect if you consume foods that prevent the conversion of free testosterone to dihydrotestosterone.
Another way to restrict damage is to strengthen hair follicles to withstand DHT even at higher amounts.
Green tea effectively minimizes the risk of hair loss as EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) is infused from herbal products in tea.
Research has proven that EGCG affects mRNA expression and reduces DHA-sensitivity of hair follicles. Resultantly, DHA-mediated growth arrest and hair cell thinning are minimized.
Soy and Edamame beans are also a good option to limit hair damage and increase muscularity. These beans supply fiber and soy proteins which lower DHT levels.
Likewise, spicing your meals with turmeric will add color and antioxidant benefits and also help with hair loss.
It contains pigment curcumin that is scientifically known to inhibit androgen receptor (AR) pathways, limiting testosterone conversion to DHT.
Moreover, vegetables including kale, onion, asparagus, spinach, and fruits like apples, cherries, and citrus fruits can improve your hair health.
These foods are rich in flavonoids- a group of antioxidant metabolites that inhibit the activity of 5-alpha reductase, lowering DHT levels.
However, lowering testosterone is not a healthy way to prevent hair loss as it may lead to erectile dysfunction, decreased strength, and tiredness.
2. Eat Biotin-rich foods
Biotin or Vitamin B7 is an effective micronutrient that acts as a cofactor during keratin production in hair follicles. That is why many people with weak or thin hair are diagnosed with biotin deficiency.
Hence, you will often hear dermatologists recommending biotin supplements to their clients. You can take lab-prepared biotin capsules or increase the proportion of biotin-containing foods in your daily meals.
The most common sources of biotin are eggs, bananas, almonds, broccoli, and mushrooms.
Besides biotin, other micronutrients like iron, zinc, vitamin A, C, and D also prevent hair loss.
3. Consume Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are a good food source to avoid hair loss from mass gainers. These seeds contain many minerals (Phosphorous, Iron, Potassium, Copper, magnesium, manganese, and Zinc) and vitamins, especially vitamin K.
Iron and zinc supplementation nourish hair follicles and reduces hair fall.
Eating these seeds also helps you gain weight faster because they are high-calorie and protein-rich (7-gram protein in each 1-ounce serving).
Moreover, they contain a good amount of omega-6 fatty acids that fuel your muscles during workouts and help them grow faster and stronger.
Likewise, Pumpkin seed oil (PSO)is also known to suppress DHT effects. In a double-blind, randomized study, treatments with PSO increased hair growth by 40% compared to the placebo group.
4. Use Essential oils
Aromatherapy using essential oils is a fragrant solution for hair loss. Several different essential oils are beneficial for hair growth and strength.
Rosemary oil is top of the list.
Oiling with this aromatic potion has proven as effective as the popular hair fall medication minoxidil for reducing hair fall than
A 6-months randomized dermatological survey performed in 2015 compared this herbal extract with the minoxidil formulation. It reports that both tonics work well as both groups present similar hair growth. However, rosemary oil users experienced less scalp itch.
Besides that, peppermint and lavender oil also improve nutrient absorption by hair follicles, improving the thickness of hair and DHT endurance.
5. Stop taking mass gainer
If your family has a history of baldness and using mass gainer has made your hair fall problem worse, you should stop taking these shakes and look for more natural bulking options.
Add eggs, meat, lentils, beans, and dairy to your meals to supply high protein content.
Amino acids in natural proteins are not in concentrated or isolated forms as in supplements. Rather they are present conjugated in large peptide molecules.
Hence, these do not cause a dramatic increase in androgenic hormone levels leading to baldness. Plus, try to consume high-calorie foods to create the calorie surplus needed to increase weight.
An easy way to add healthy fatty acids and calorie-rich foods to your diet is to munch on cheese, nuts, and seeds.
6. Seek medical Guidance
If your hair is falling too much or you don’t see an improvement by using the hacks mentioned above, you should consult a medical official as soon as possible.
Sudden hair loss can be a symptom of a disease or nutritional deficiency.
So, discuss the matter with your physician and probe out the actual reason (which might not be merely mass gainer use).
Other Common Side effects of mass gainer
If you’re just about to start your bulking journey with a mass gainer, we think there’s more you should know about the possible side effects of mass gainers in addition to hair loss.
Abdominal discomfort and cramps are common complaints we hear from mass gainer users. There are multiple reasons for this issue. And lactose sensitivity and milk protein allergy induced by whey and casein components is the major cause of cramps.
Some people are also hypersensitive to gluten components common in mass gainers. Likewise, high glycemic maltodextrin compounds are blamed for this side effect.
Besides pain, many people also report bloating after taking gainer shakes. Possibly, taking a bulk of calories, carbs and fats is the reason behind this stuffy feeling.
Moreover, a high amount of creatine may also induce distended feelings due to increased water retention in muscles.
Due to increased carb content, gainers can suddenly boost glucose blood levels in pre-diabetic and diabetic people.
Skin breakout is another negative impact of mass gainers and protein powders. A high concentration of whey protein likely causes it.
A regular user regarded this demerit among the top 3 side effects of mass gainers as he told that acne covered all his back when he used gainers.
As he described, gut pain, fat gain, and acne are the worst effects of these powders.
The most feared risk associated with mass gainers is fat gain, as these products supply a huge amount of carbohydrates and fats.
If you overdose on these shakes by taking larger or multiple servings, you may easily build a lot of fat mass around your belly and other body parts.
For more details check out our full list of mass gainer’s side effects.
Bodybuilding supplements promise great bulking results, but they are also associated with certain side effects. Likewise, a negative outcome of mass gainers can be rapid hair loss.
Some growth-promoting ingredients like creatine and DHEA tend to increase the blood concentration of a testosterone derivative DHT.
In turn, DHT negatively impacts hair follicles, making hair thinner and weaker.
However, you can escape this misfortune by adding follicle-protective foods to your diet or aromatherapy. Other than that, you can quit taking your gaining supplement altogether and bulk on high-calorie natural foods.
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