Has your hair turned very brittle lately? If it has been falling out unusually, the reason could be your hair lacks the necessary protein.
"Hair strands are primarily made up of a compact protein called 'Keratin' . In a way, protein is the life for your hair cells as it is an essential component for the construction of new tissue and repairing damaged tissue, ’’ says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.
In this article, let’s talk about different kinds of protein treatments that can nourish and strengthen your hair.
How Do You Know If Your Hair Lacks Protein?
1. Wet one of your hair strands with water.
2. Now, stretch it gently and leave it at once.
3. If your hair strand springs back to its original length, then it has optimum protein component.
4. But, if your hair does not spring back or breaks while stretching, then you can consider that as protein deficiency.
Other signs of protein deficiency in your hair include:
1.High porosity 
2. Flat, stringy or limp hair
3. Dry and brittle hair with split ends
Does Protein Help Hair Growth?
Yes, keratin is a major component of your hair. Hence, it is the fundamental element that determines your healthy hair growth. The deficiency of protein weakens your hair and causes breakage.
Here is how protein benefits your hair:
1. Protein reduces your hair porosity. Porous hair is non-uniform with gaps, which makes it susceptible to hair damage. This is because different components like colors, pollutants, etc get absorbed into the gaps easily.
2. Adequate protein levels in your hair protect it from various side effects of chemicals that may be present in your hair dyes.
3. Protein ensures durability and fullness of your hair as it is the building block of your hair and very important in restoring damaged hair tissues.
4. Thick, shiny, and bouncy hair is all yours with necessary protein levels in your hair.
How Can I Add Protein To My Hair?
1. Ayurvedic Ways
According to Ayurveda, the balanced state of tridoshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha determines the health of your hair. When your diet lacks essential proteins for hair growth, it leads to the derangement of Vata dosha in your body. This, in turn, causes Vata-related hair problems like dry, brittle hair, split ends, hair breakage, and hair loss.
Here are some traditional Ayurvedic practices you can adopt, to provide your hair with adequate protein.
A. Ayurvedic Hair Oils
Massaging your scalp and hair with Ayurvedic oils is one of the proven ways to impart exceptional nourishment and conditioning to your hair. Ensure to massage your scalp with warm oil at least twice a week for stronger and healthier hair growth.
Make sure your oil has some of these highly effective Ayurvedic herbs with rich protein composition:
1. Amalaki (Indian Gooseberry)
2. Shatavari (Asparagus)
Aids in balancing Vata and Pitta doshas, while treating your hair loss caused by hormonal imbalances.
3. Vidarikand (Indian Kudzu)
Balances vitiated Vata and Pitta doshas while treating your hair thinning or alopecia efficiently.
4. Kapikachhu (Velvet beans)
Balances all the tri-doshas while helping you fight stress-related hair fall.
5. Gokshura (Puncture vine)
Balances all the tri-doshas and it is very useful in treating DHT hair loss.
B. Ayurvedic Hair Masks
1. Egg Mask
Take 2 eggs  and apply it thoroughly on your scalp and hair by giving a gentle massage. Let it settle down for an hour and wash it off with cold water. Further, you can use an Ayurvedic shampoo to get rid of the peculiar smell of eggs.
2. Shikakai-Gram Flour Mask
Mix equal quantities of shikakai powder and besan (gram flour). Add some water to form a fine paste. Apply this mask on your scalp and hair and leave it for an hour before rinsing. This is one of the best protein packs if you have dry hair.
3. Banana-Coconut Milk Mask
Blend one banana and a half cup of coconut milk into a pulpy paste. Apply this mask to your scalp and hair. Leave it for about 30 minutes before washing it off with cold water.
4. Egg-Yogurt Mask
Mix 2 eggs, ½ cup of yogurt, ½ cup of olive oil, and ½ cup of apple cider vinegar. Blend them well to form a creamy consistency. Now, apply this pack across your scalp and wrap your hair with an aluminum foil. Leave it for about 30 minutes before rinsing it off with cold water.
C. Ayurvedic Diet
Your body does not naturally produce the eight essential amino acids that are the building blocks of protein. Hence, these amino acids must be derived from your diet.
Ayurveda suggests a variety of protein-rich foods like legumes, lentils, quinoa, green peas, yogurt, milk, soy, cheese, chia seeds, hemp seeds, amaranth, spinach, guava, beans, pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashew nuts, etc., which can be consumed based on dosha levels in your body.
Among pulses, toor dal, urad dal and chana dal contain good amounts of protein, while skinless and split moong beans are known to be an excellent source of protein for all three doshas. Non-vegetarians can also include eggs, seafood, lean meat, poultry, and red meat in their diet regularly.
"It is recommended to ingest at least 120 gms of protein in a day through your diet,’’ says Dr. Zeel.
A recent survey revealed that on average about 80% of Indians experience protein deficiency. Among vegetarians, it is estimated that about 91% of people are protein deficient while among non-vegetarians, it is 85%.
2. Protein Treatments For Hair
A. Keratin Treatments
Keratin treatments are available at salons, while you can also find at-home keratin treatment kits from various brands available in the market. They involve external application of a keratin-based solution to your hair after thorough shampooing. This replenishes your hair with the required protein levels for a healthy and silky look.
Reconstructors are specially designed deep-conditioners, with a balance of both protein and moisture levels. They contain a high concentration of protein, which is essential in treating severely damaged hair due to hair styling, perming, and/or chemical treatments.
How Long Does Protein Hair Treatment Last?
In general, protein hair treatments may last for 3-12 months depending on your hair care after the treatment. However, if you put your through excessive heat for styling, the protein treatment can lose its effect.
Can Too Much Of A Protein Cause Hair Loss?
The disproportion between the protein and water content in your hair is what can lead to hair loss. Your hair needs balanced levels of protein and water for healthy growth.
Over proteinized hair repels water, which decreases the moisture content in your hair. Your hair loses elasticity with the excess protein deposit, while it becomes stiff and more susceptible to breakage.
Also, recent studies have revealed that a type of whey protein (whey protein isolate-WPI) and casein protein can aggravate untimely hair loss.
Whey protein isolate , which is present in protein-supplement shakes, has higher branch-chain amino acid levels. In turn, this leads to increased levels of testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is known to cause hair loss.
Please consult your doctor or Ayurvedic practitioner before administering any of the above-mentioned protein treatments for your hair.
The Last Word
Compared to chemical keratin treatments, Ayurvedic ways of adding protein to your hair stand out as great options. They not only nourish your hair from outside, but also aid in strengthening your hair shaft integrity from inside. Additionally, you need to ensure that your hair is supplied with enough protein from your diet every day.
At Vedix, we customize Ayurvedic hair care regimen with all the necessary ingredients based on your unique hair needs.Know Your Dosha Now
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