Do energy drinks cause hair loss?
Energy drinks contain high levels of caffeine. Many people exhibit symptoms including palpitations, rapid heart beat, high blood pressure, nervousness, anxiety, and lack of sleep. Energy drink have been related to emergency room visits. But do energy drinks also cause hair loss?
This raises the question- What amount of daily caffeine will cause hair loss?
Lets compare coffee and energy drinks.
A simple cup of 5 ounce coffee contains about 75-100 mg. Energy drinks contain anywhere from 90 to 700 milligrams of caffeine.
However another major issue which concerns us 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.
"Energy drinks often contain additional amounts of caffeine through additives, including guarana, kola nut, yerba mate, and cocoa.6,7,14,25 Guarana (Paullinia cupana) is a plant that contains caffeine, theobromine (a chronotrope), and theophylline (an inotrope).7,8,14,39 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.7,14 Manufacturers are not required to list the caffeine content from these ingredients.7,14 Thus, the actual caffeine dose in a single serving may exceed that listed.9,29"
So if we look at a single bottle of an energy drink we may be consuming larger amounts of caffeine than what is listed.
And from my prior blog we discussed the amount of caffeine needed to support growth and the amount that would suppress or cause hair loss. Here is the recap.
Br J Dermatol. 2014 Nov;171(5):1031-43. doi: 10.1111/bjd.13114. Epub 2014 Oct 30.
Differential effects of caffeine on hair shaft elongation, matrix and outer root sheath keratinocyte proliferation, and transforming growth factor-β2/insulin-like growth factor-1-mediated regulation of the hair cycle in male and female human hair follicles in vitro.
Fischer TW1, Herczeg-Lisztes E, Funk W, Zillikens D, Bíró T, Paus R.
Caffeine enhanced hair shaft elongation, prolonged anagen duration and stimulated hair matrix keratinocyte proliferation. Female HFs showed higher sensitivity to caffeine than male HFs. Caffeine counteracted testosterone-enhanced TGF-β2 protein expression in male HFs.
Another study showed:
Caffeine was identified as a stimulator of human hair growth in vitro; a fact which may have important clinical impact in the management of AGA.
So what is the bottom line?
1-2 cups a day of coffee is great for your health and hair but drinking 400-800 mg a day will ruin your health and hair.
Our Hair Restoration clinic has seen many patients over the years especially college students and graduate students complain of hair loss after a healthy dose of energy drinks during the school semester.