Sometimes, when people go on a calorie-restricted diet, they might find themselves suffering from a small amount of hair loss. This is why it might be essential for you to take the amino acid supplied cysteine whenever you are fasting or on a low calorie diet.

Amino Acids and Your Hair

If you want hair that is thick, gorgeous and invulnerable to stress, environmental damage and the consequences of calorie deprivation then you might consider taking amino acid supplements. All in all, there are twenty essential amino acids that you must have adequate amounts of in order to stay healthy and active. Thankfully, all of them are available from vegan sources.

As you might remember being told in science class, amino acids are the building blocks of protein. The acids break down the food that we consume so that they can be rebuilt into the fibres that make up the tissues of the human body as well as stimulate the hormones in our body to produce energy and repair damaged cells.

Hair Growth And Low Calorie Diets

Hair is made completely of protein and in order for it to stay nourished and grow, it needs a consistent supply of amino acids. The amino acids that are most essential so that you can maintain beautiful locks are phenylalanine, valine, tryptophan, threonine, isoleucine, methionine, histidine and especially cysteine. These eight amino acids the ones most important to build protein for hair.

When it comes to protein, hair follicles are very needy. Hair follicles require a constant supply of amino acids in order to be able to sustain a nutrient rich bed for each hair and they require a lot of it as the cells in a follicle grow fast and divide quickly. If your hair follicles lack the required protein, vitamins and energy, the hair follicles may not be able to produce any fibres.

The Importance of Cysteine

The most important amino acid for growing hair is cysteine. This is because cysteine contains sulphur molecules. That is why when you burn a bit of your hair, the air smells a bit like sulphur. Sulphur is essential for ensuring that the bulb of each hair is firmly rooted in the scalp. Sulphur is also part of the keratin protein chain that interlace with each other to produce strong chemical bonds called bisulfide bonds. This is what gives hair, what is called “tensile strength”. The hair can be stretched a little before it breaks. This is just one reason why taking supplemental cysteine or consuming it can be so crucial during a low calorie diet.

Food Sources of Cysteine

Foods from animal sources such as cheese, milk, yogurt, fish, eggs, poultry and beef provide all the nutrients needed for hair growth and health, including cysteine. However, if you are on a low-calorie diet or trying to stick to a vegan then it might benefit you to know that oatmeal, sesame seeds, minimally processed soy foods, spirulina and wheat germ are good sources of the amino acid. Here at the Pinewood Health Institute we sell our own Alka Greens+ powdered drink that can help dieting individuals balance their amino acid profiles as well as receive adequate amounts of cysteine while dieting.

For more information or to book a consultation about our restorative healthy and active diet and weight loss programs visit the Pinewood Natural Health Centre website that has a list of full services and products at or call our Toronto Office at (416)-656- 8100. We also have an office in Pickering, Ontario at (905)-427-0057. You can also email us at and we would be happy to answer any question that you have about our holistic health services.

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