Does Mass Gainer Cause Hair Loss?

A picture of Best Mass Gainer UK founder, personal trainer Andy Williams
Written By
Andy Williams
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One of the side effects of mass gainer that many people are worried about is hair loss. After all, if you’ve gone to the effort to improve your body, you probably don’t want to lose your hair

But are such concerns unfounded?

Well, like many things in science, the relation between hair loss and mass gainer usage depends on your genetics. Our bodies don’t all respond to a supplement in the exact same way, so let’s take a look at why, for some people, weight gainers may lead to accelerated hair loss.

Does Mass Gainer Cause Hair Loss?

A man looking at his hair in the mirror because he's worried about hair loss from weight gainer

For most people, mass gainers don’t cause hair loss because weight gainers are simply a combination of whey protein and carbohydrates, which are very normal foods.

Some research suggests that whey protein may accelerate hair loss in those who are already prone to male pattern baldness. [1]

This could be because, for some people, consumption of whey protein could increase their testosterone production a bit, which, in turn, could accelerate their hair loss.

But if you’re not prone to losing your hair, then it’s unlikely that whey protein will cause hair loss, meaning that mass gainers won’t cause hair loss for you, either.

How Can You Stop Hair Loss While Using Weight Gainers?

A big selection of mass gainer supplements

The most effective way to stop hair loss while using mass gainers is by ensuring that you choose a supplement that has been verified for quality and purity, and which is free of banned substances.

You see, some weight gainers and protein supplements contain traces of anabolic steroids. Besides being dangerous for your body, these steroids increase dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which can lead to androgenetic alopecia and hair loss. [2]

So, make sure to only buy mass gainers from reputable brands. And remember, if you can’t pronounce the ingredients on the back of the bag/tub, then they’re probably just unnecessary fillers.

Also, so that your body is generally healthy (which can only aid hair health and growth), don’t overconsume mass gainers because you still need to get your micronutrients, which are found in whole foods and not in bodybuilding supplements.

Protein Powder and Hair Loss

A tub of whey protein

Besides carbohydrates, whey protein is the primary ingredient in mass gainers, so let’s see how the consumption of protein powder can affect hair loss.

Interestingly, some research by Dr. Shapiro, a renowned dermatologist, suggests that when it comes to protein powder and hair loss, not all whey protein has the same effects. 

Whey protein isolate seems to aggravate hair loss in those who are genetically prone to it, whereas whey concentrate actually seems to improve hair health. [3

This is great news for mass gainer users because the vast majority of weight gainers use whey concentrate rather than whey isolate.

The catch is that the participants in this study consumed a whey concentrate shake that also contained vitamins, minerals, and herbs, whereas your typical protein powder is pretty much just whey protein and nothing else.

So, while sufficient protein is important for overall hair growth and health, you also need to consume a diet that’s rich in vitamins and minerals, such as niacin and zinc, if you want to your hair to be as healthy as possible.

Learn More About Mass Gainers:

Creatine and Hair Loss

A tub of creatine

Not all mass gainers have creatine. In fact, most don’t. But that said, most people who take weight gainers also use creatine, so let’s take a look at the association between creatine usage and hair loss.

Taking creatine can increase DHT production, which is really what leads to androgenetic alopecia. However, if you’re not genetically prone to hair loss, then this DHT increase is nothing to worry about because it almost certainly won’t cause any hair loss.

And besides, it’s unclear whether a small increase in DHT could actually lead to any measurable hair loss outcomes.

So, at worst, creatine could indirectly cause hair loss by way of increased DHT production, but only in those who are genetically prone to hair loss in the first place.

Overall, there’s currently no good evidence to support the theory that creatine consumption causes hair loss in men. [4]

Conclusion: Should You Worry About Hair Loss If You Drink Mass Gainers?

A row of mass gainers scoops

As we’ve seen, hair loss is mainly a result of a person’s genetics. So unless you have a hair loss gene, consuming a weight gainer isn’t going to make your hair thin or fall out.

However, for some people, the whey protein contained with mass gainers might increase their testosterone levels and DHT production, which could plausibly lead to hair loss if you’re genetically prone to it.

And just anecdotally, most gym-goers don’t start losing their hair after taking mass gainers or similar muscle-building supplements. 

In fact, many people who experience hair loss may not even work out at all or use any supplements, so your genetics really are in control of whether or not you’ll experience hair loss and to what degree.

References

  1. Shapiro, L. J., & Shapiro, D. B. (2017). Low anabolic profile in assessing a patient’s overall hair loss. In Springer eBooks (pp. 687–698). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-4-431-56547-5_72
  2. M, R. (2023, August 18). Do steroids cause hair loss? Wimpole Clinic. https://wimpoleclinic.com/blog/do-steroids-cause-hair-loss/
  3. https://www.drshapiroshairinstitute.com/clinical-study/shapiro_study_final_2010.pdf
  4. António, J., Candow, D. G., Forbes, S. C., Gualano, B., Jagim, A. R., Kreider, R. B., Rawson, E. S., Smith‐Ryan, A. E., VanDusseldorp, T. A., Willoughby, D. S., & Ziegenfuss, T. N. (2021). Common questions and misconceptions about creatine supplementation: what does the scientific evidence really show? Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 18(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-021-00412-w
A picture of Best Mass Gainer UK founder, personal trainer Andy Williams
Andy Williams
Andy Williams is a UK-based personal trainer and bodybuilder who coaches gym-goers of all levels using proven evidence-based techniques in strength training, nutrition, and supplementation. He’s tested over 70 different mass gainers for their ingredient quality and muscle-building effectiveness and regularly shares his findings in his mass gainer reviews.
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