Do energy drinks cause hair problems?
The concept sounds simple ! Get a burst of energy by drinking something out of a very colourful and lively looking can! As it happens most of the 'energy' comes from the two main ingredients sugar and caffeine.
The benefits of an energy drink sounds simple enough with more energy, alertness, wakefulness and productivity. Energy drinks also contain other energy ingredients such as taurine, B vitamins, ginseng, and glucuronolactone. These are believed to enhance the energy effect.
However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) also reported that energy drinks could cause public health problems mainly associated with the high caffeine content of the drinks, as well as the risks of combining them with alcohol. Potential risks associated with energy drink consumption include:
- caffeine overdose (which can lead to a number of symptoms, including palpitations, high blood pressure, nausea and vomiting, convulsions and, in some cases, even death)
- type 2 diabetes – as high consumption of caffeine reduces insulin sensitivity.
- poor dental health
So, the jury is out on how good these energy drinks are, which is ironic given their association with sportiness !
But do energy drinks also cause hair loss?
This raises the question - What amount of daily caffeine will cause hair loss. Let's compare coffee and energy drinks. A simple cup of 5-ounce coffee contains about 75-100 mg of caffeine. Energy drinks contain anywhere from 90 to 700 milligrams of caffeine!
However, there is another major issue which concerns with energy drinks. The label on the energy drink may list a certain amount of caffeine but there are additional amounts of caffeine through various other ingredients as noted in this NCBI study. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3065144/
"Energy drinks often contain additional amounts of caffeine through additives, including guarana, kola nut, yerba mate, and cocoa. Guarana (Paullinia cupana) is a plant that contains caffeine, theobromine (a chronotrope), and theophylline (an inotrope). Each gram of guarana can contain 40 to 80 mg of caffeine, and it has a potentially longer half-life because of interactions with other plant compounds. Manufacturers are not required to list the caffeine content from these ingredients. Thus, the actual caffeine dose in a single serving may exceed that listed."
So if we look at a single bottle of an energy drink we may be consuming larger amounts of caffeine than what is listed.
Studies have shown that caffeine has been identified as a stimulator of human hair growth - This study reveals the new growth-promoting effects of caffeine on human hair follicles in subjects of both sexes at different levels (molecular, cellular and organ) - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24836650
Caffeine has a positive effect on the hair follicle - the chemical causes hair cells to produce more ATP (ATP is the energy of our biological cells). The production of more ATP helps the hair follicle in its active growing phase, this results in the hair continuing to grow, rather than shrinking.
So, from the studies seen so far we know that caffeine is a good stimulant for hair growth. The challenge is too understand what is the right amount of caffeine to take without causing health issues and ultimately hair loss? To date there have not been any clinical trials looking directly into energy drinks and hair loss. However more importantly the findings of other studies into the effects of energy drinks on general health is more cause for concern !
Regularly consuming energy drinks, especially in excessive amounts, may contribute to obesity, cardiovascular issues and diabetes, among other issues. Hair loss can be caused by health issues and stress-related issues, including nutritional imbalances. Stress can also have a drying effect on the body, leading to weakened, dry hair that is more prone to breakage.
What is the bottom line?
1-2 cups a day of coffee is great for your health and hair but drinking 400-800 mg of caffeine a day will ruin your health and your hair.
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