Top 5 Supplements That Cause Hair Loss (2023)

Top 5 Supplements That Cause Hair Loss (2019)

Is your hair falling out without any apparent reason?

Have you recently started taking a supplement? If the answer is yes – the problem might be right there.

For this reason – here are the top 6 supplements that cause hair loss.

If you’re currently taking one of these 5 – this might be the reason behind your shedding.


#1 – Protein Supplements

Top 5 Supplements That Cause Hair Loss (2019)

In case you’re a body builder or work out often – pay attention to the supplements you’re taking.

Especially if you care about your hair.

1. How They Affect Hair

Actually – it’s not the proteins that are dangerous. 

It’s the usual additives – especially 2 of them:

  • creatine
  • inorganic growth hormones

Now – how exactly can this 2 additives damage a body builder’s hair?

  1. Affect your hormonal balance.
  2. Increase your testosterone production. [1]
  3. Makes your hair thinner and more fragile.

Basically – a high level of testosterone leads to a high level of DHT (the hormone responsible for hair loss).

Once your levels of DHT are higher than normal, you are more likely to start losing your hair. [2]

In case you also have a family history of hair loss – chances get even higher.

2. Solutions

As I said – it’s not the proteins harming your hair. It’s the additives.

For this reason, here’s what you should do:

  • choose your supplement carefully
  • make sure it doesn’t have any growth hormones
  • try to avoid products containing creatine

If you manage to find a protein supplement based on natural ingredients, it’s even better.

So you don’t have to quit these supplements. Just try to find a better one.


#2 – Vitamin E Supplements

Top 5 Supplements That Cause Hair Loss (2019)

Surprisingly, a level that is too high in vitamin E can also affect your hair.

But is it that serious? Here’s the thing.

1. How They Affect Hair

First of all – there is very little data on an excessive level in vitamin E.

However, here’s what recent studies found:

  1. Too much vitamin E leads to serious side effects.
  2. It causes bleeding or anemia.
  3. Often times, it also weakens hairs and makes them thinner.

But here’s the interesting part:

  • If you have a diet rich in vitamin E, you’re safe
  • Only supplements cause these side effects

In other words – if you have a high level in vitamin E just because of your diet, you’re not in danger.

However – if you’re taking too many vitamin E pills, you’re at risk.

2. Solutions

Don’t take any supplement randomly.

Make sure you have your blood tests and take vitamin E only if a doctor recommends it.

In case your levels are normal and you still want to take it – get it from foods.

There are many foods rich in vitamin E – including:

  • nuts and seeds
  • vegetable oils
  • seafood


#3 – Selenium Supplements

Top 5 Supplements That Cause Hair Loss (2019)

Compared to other minerals – our body only needs a minimal quantity of selenium.

But even so, this small quantity is crucial.

1. How They Affect Hair

Selenium isn’t directly connected to hair.

It’s important for thyroid and immunity – but it doesn’t have any major benefit for hair.

But surprisingly – a level that is too high seems to affect the hair:

  • makes it more fragile and easier to break
  • causes shedding
  • decreases its growth speed

Scientists don’t know why exactly this happens.

So ironically, even though selenium doesn’t help hair – an excess can actually damage it. [3]

 2. Solutions

You should definitely stay away from selenium supplements (of any kind).

As I said – your body needs a very small dose, compared to other minerals.

So any pill containing selenium may be tricky.

Only take a selenium supplement if your doctor recommends it. Otherwise, avoid them as much as possible.


#4 – Zinc Supplements

Top 5 Supplements That Cause Hair Loss (2019)

Ironically – this mineral is essential for hair health.

A level that is too low can cause serious problems. But it seems like an excess is also dangerous.

1. How They Affect Hair

Zinc is extremely important for your body.

And in terms of hair – it also has some major benefits:

  • supports follicles health
  • involved in hair growth process
  • protects against oxidative stress

So obviously, a zinc deficiency would affect the hair.

But ironically – an excess is also dangerous, as it causes serious shedding and breakage.

Now – taking a regular dose of zinc shouldn’t raise your blood levels so high.

However, taking a high dose for more than 2-3 months can be really dangerous. [4]

2. Solutions

Zinc is helpful for hair – so you can use a supplement.

But here’s what you should do first:

  1. Make sure you know the regular dose.
  2. Choose a supplement that contains an average quantity.
  3. Don’t take it for more than 2-3 months.
  4. Ask your doctor’s advice (recommended).

Basically – try to avoid supplements containing over 30 mg of zinc. If your doctor recommends them – you can take them.

But otherwise, my advice is to stay away from them. If you don’t have a deficiency, they can be really dangerous.


#5 – Vitamin A Supplements

Top 5 Supplements That Cause Hair Loss (2019)

If there’s a vitamin responsible for hair loss – it’s surely vitamin A.

In fact – it’s one of the most common supplements that cause hair loss.

And I’m only speaking in terms of excess (there are many whose deficiency causes hair loss).

1. How They Affect Hair

A normal level of vitamin A supports hair health.

But here’s the interesting part:

  • a deficiency causes hair fragility
  • an excess causes shedding

So basically – either you’re under or above regular levels, your hair is going to suffer.

Now – how exactly can an excess affect your hair? It’s simple – it tricks hair follicles:

  1. They will reach the final stage of growth too fast.
  2. Hair starts falling out too quickly.
  3. New hairs aren’t ready to replace them yet.

So it’s all about how vitamin A works inside the follicles.

2. Solutions

Only take vitamin A supplements if you need that – that’s the #1 rule.

  1. Make sure you have some blood tests before starting any new treatment.
  2. Don’t take any pills randomly.
  3. Consult a doctor and if he recommends vitamin A pills – follow this advice.
  4. Otherwise, I wouldn’t recommend this kind of supplements.

If you still think you need it, add carrots to your diet. They’re the #1 source of vitamin A – and they will never cause an excess.


My Verdict – Can Supplements Cause Hair Loss?

Short answer: Definitely – it’s quite rare, but it can happen.

But here’s what you should keep in mind:

  1. Not every supplement can affect your hair. 
  2. Some vitamins/minerals need a very high level to cause shedding.
  3. In some people, even huge levels cause no effect on their hair.

However – taking a supplement for a long while can affect your hair. 

In fact, out of my top 5 – only 3 cause hair loss more often:

  • vitamin A
  • zinc
  • selenium

Protein and vitamin E shedding are more rare – because people don’t take them as often.

So here’s what I advise you:
  1. Always consult a doctor before starting any supplement (especially high doses).
  2. Also have some blood tests before.
  3. Check out the regular dose of the vitamin/mineral you want to take.
  4. Make sure you’re not taking more than the recommended dose.

If you’re already experiencing hair loss and you’re think it’s your supplement behind, make an appointment to your doctor.

You will probably be asked to have a blood test – which can tell for sure.

So next time you start taking a supplement – do your research before.


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9 thoughts on “Top 5 Supplements That Cause Hair Loss (2023)

  1. Hi Olly! My husband is a bit obsessed with gym, he’s working out several times a day and taking protein shakes. Recently ago he switched to another powder that he was recommended by a friend. It’s from Optimum Nutrition which is the brand he’s used before, but this powder seems to have an improved features. I can’t really tell you more, I don’t really know a lot about this. Anyway, he just got 1 bald spot at the back of his head, it’s about 1 inch. I’m just wondering if it could be because of the supplement he’s using? he doesn’t want to check up with a doctor, so I’m just worried about him.

    1. Hi Barbara. Shortly, I don’t really think it’s the supplement causing him the bald spot. I think it’s just a coincidence.

      Hair loss caused by some protein supplements is because of increased testosterone. Well, testosterone never causes bald spots. Instead, it just makes hair thinner and easier to break. So it rather affects the whole hair, not just a part.

      What your husband might have is a mild form of alopecia areata. That’s a pretty common cause of hair loss, and it has an auto-immune mechanism. But don’t worry – it’s not a severe condition. Your husband’s hair won’t fall out and he might not even get any bald spot ever. In most cases, hair grows back normally, so in a few months you won’t even see that bald spot anymore.

      However – it really depends from case to case. That’s why seeing a dermatologist would be really good, as he could have your husband some tests and see if he’s at risk of developing more bald spots. If he is, the doctor could prescribe him some treatment to avoid that.

      So at this point, that’s the best thing you guys could do. And don’t worry, the protein shakes have nothing to do with this – so he doesn’t have to give them up.

  2. Along with Folexin are you taking any other supplements? I feel I maybe taking too many supplements.
    I have a long list of supplements I take daily and would be happy to share with you. Any doctor I talk to doesn’t really believe in any form of vitamins except Vitamin C,Vitamin D 3 and Zinc all because of boosting the immunity systems to fight COVID 19.

    1. Hey Renae, I didn’t really take other supplements with Folexin because it contains several vitamins and minerals, so there was no point taking something else additionally. But are you referring to supplements for immunity or other issues? Or are you rather asking about other supplements/vitamins for hair?

  3. Olly, I am so glad I found your article on hair loss. I’ve been taking various vitamins and supplements for several years, recently however I noticed a lot of broken or loose hair in my comb every morning. I recently used a supplement for nail fungus, which did me little or no good at all, so I got a refund for the total cost and disposed of the info, and containers. No list of contents to reference. I hope to see some improvement within a short time, any comments? Ernie

    1. Hey Ernie, sorry to hear about your struggle. Do you think it’s that nail fungus supplement that made your hair fall out? Anti-fungus supplements don’t have this kind of side effects usually, but who knows. I personally think you should switch to a cream or a topical product, the effect is much better (since we’re talking about a more local problem on a pretty small spot, topical products work much better).

      Also, I’m not sure I understand from what you said – are you interested in going for a hair supplement and you want my recommendation? Sorry but I want to make sure I get your point correctly. 🙂

  4. Hi Olly,
    Really love your website. I started using Folexin based on your recommedation. It’s just close to 45 days, haven’t seen any major results yet but at least my hair doesn’t feel too thin either. Was comparing my results with your month 2 hair growth and wondering mine wasn’t similar to yours. I do take 1 selenium tablet a day and didn’t realize that may be the culprit, will try taking them on alternate days to see if it helps boost hair growth.

    Also, I saw this new hair product online (hyped as is typical) and wondering if you had any thoughts on this one. Seems to give good results in 2-8 weeks, as per the reviews.

    1. Hi Julie. Thanks a lot for your feedback on Folexin. 2 months is already early to tell and hair supplements don’t always work with the same intensity on everyone. But if you already notice that your hair is not as thin as before, that’s surely a progress. That was exactly the case with me – in the first 2 months, I didn’t notice a major growth, but I could see a big difference in terms of thickness, my hair was not as thin as before. So I think you’re on the good way.

      Regarding the product you told me about – I personally believe it’s a scam:
      – The pictures listed in that review are clearly fake (or at least not authentic). You can tell that by the big difference between the “before” and “after” photos and by the fact that they seem to be taken in the exact same position (which is not possible in reality). Also, if you look for similar photos in Google, I’m sure you will find plenty of them.
      – The official website of that product is missing. I tried clicking on it and I am redirected to an error page. Not sure if that’s just me or not, but I tried it several times and it’s the same.
      – The review itself is only giving out general info on the product, there’s no testing or personal results.
      – There’s no picture of the label or no info about the ingredients inside that supplement. How can one claim it works better than others if he doesn’t give out the ingredients? Pay attention to this aspect in every product, because it’s a great way to tell the difference between a potential scam and a legit product.

      So I personally don’t recommend you to try that product. Better stick with Folexin or with a similar supplement and see how that goes. Also – the selenium you take is surely not the responsible for your hair issues. It’s true that selenium can damage hair, but that’s mostly when it’s in excess. I don’t know what daily dose you’re taking, but I doubt it’s a huge one. Still, Folexin does contain some selenium, so your idea of spacing the selenium dosage in 2 days might be a good idea.

      Please keep me update on your progress and hopefully you will come back with great news!

  5. Dear Olly,

    Thank you sincerely for this very thorough and informative answer. Your list of accomplishments and areas of knowledge are interesting and impressive.

    I’m approaching 61 yrs old and I take a lot of biohacking type supplements and I’ve had great results. However, I had started taking creatine about a month ago and narrowed down that’s about when the thinning hair began…I was dreading trying to figure out what was causing (my very thick) hair to thin out.

    Thanks again,

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