bald man drinking energy drink

Wait, Do Energy Drinks Cause Hair Loss?

If it came down to your daily Red Bull and your hairline, which would you choose? Here's what the science says.

10-Second Takeaway

Energy drinks have a ton of sugar (we’re talking 37g per 12 oz), which can indirectly contribute to male pattern hair loss. Limiting your intake of sugar-filled beverages may be one way to slow or mitigate thinning and receding hair.

Sugar-filled beverages like energy drinks and soda are under investigation for being a potential cause of male hair loss, thanks to a recent 2023 study out of China (1). Because so many factors of male pattern hair loss are out of our control (hello, epigenetics), this small yet significant study may help tip the scales in favor of flowing locks. This article will dig into the current research and key takeaways for a happy, healthy head of hair.

About the Experts:

Dr. Ahmad Chaudhry, M.B.B.S., is an active physician and dermatology and hair loss expert working as a consultant Scandinavian Biolabs.

Dr. Hannah Kopelman is a dual clinical trained in hair loss from Columbia University and cutaneous oncology from Boston University.

Catherine Gervacio is a Registered Nutritionist-Dietitian and Certified Exercise Nutrition Coach with 5 years of experience in a clinical setup and over 10 years in the health and fitness industry.

Does Drinking Energy Drinks Lead to Hair Loss?

In short, yes. Researchers found that out of over 1000 men, those who drank sweetened beverages more than seven times a week were three times more likely to have male pattern hair loss than men who didn’t consume them.

So, men who drank one or more sugary drinks a day, including energy drinks, juice with added sugar (like orange juice), sweet milk, sweet tea or coffee, and soda, saw more hair loss than those who passed on sweet beverages altogether.

It’s long been understood that diet can play a beneficial role in hair health. Specifically, how a diet high in iron, zinc, vitamins A and C, and omega-3 fatty acids can foster lush locks (2). Now we know even more. More importantly, what not to do.

“This study provides some interesting initial evidence that high intake of sugary drinks may be linked to an increased risk of male pattern hair loss,” notes Dr. Chaudhry, M.B.B.S. of Scandinavian Biolabs.


Consuming energy drinks regularly can lead to hair loss, though the key study referenced lumps energy drinks as one of many types of high-sugar beverages which may contribute to male pattern baldness.

How Do Energy Drinks Impact My Hairline?

This initial study comes closer to proving that high daily sugar intake and hair loss go hand in hand. More research is needed to specify the mechanisms behind how. So, we asked around to find out more.

In talking to various medical professionals, they all largely agree that the main culprit is the high amounts of energy drink sugar, causing body-wide conditions that impact hair health. “Excessive sugar intake can lead to a variety of health issues, including insulin resistance, inflammation, and hormonal imbalances,” says Dr. Hannah Kopelman, a hair loss specialist.

Here’s how refined sugar is indirectly involved in hair loss:

  1. Insulin resistance leads to hormonal imbalances like elevated androgens. Androgens are hormones that can shrink hair follicles and shorten the hair growth cycle, leading to hair thinning and loss (3).
  2. Increased inflammation in the body may create a scalp environment unfavorable to healthy hair growth. Systemic inflammation can disrupt the hair growth cycle, pushing hair follicles into the telogen (resting) phase prematurely, leading to increased hair shedding (4).
  3. Spikes in blood glucose levels can activate something called the polyol pathway. This pathway can divert glucose to produce compounds that may damage hair follicles and impair their function over time (5).

How Many Energy Drinks Is It OK to Drink?

Diet and lifestyle just happen to be something we have control over when it comes to hair loss, so if you’re looking to nurture your hairline, consider evaluating your beverage choices. “I would say drinking more than one sugary drink per day may start to increase male pattern hair loss risk based on this data,” says Dr. Chaudhry.

“Each person has different caloric, health, and fitness needs. Also, individual sugar tolerance varies,” says Catherine Gervacio, registered dietician nutritionist with Live Fit. In general, aim to limit your daily intake of added sugar to less than 10 percent of your total calories. That’s about 50 grams (or 12.5 teaspoons) of added sugars per day (6). For reference, one 12 oz can of a common energy drink has about 37 grams of sugar (7). 

Some people drink so many energy drinks they begin to experience fatigue because of them—energy drink consumption can disturb sleep, making a person feel fatigued the following day, which leads them to drink more energy drinks.

To mitigate the risk even further, cut energy drinks from your diet altogether and stick to water and sugar-free drinks like unsweetened tea.

The Bottom Line

Recent research shows that sugary drinks, like energy drinks, are one potential cause of male pattern hair loss. Genetics, age, smoking, stress, underlying medical conditions, nutrient deficiencies, and certain medications can also have an effect. Consider taking a holistic approach to hair loss management by limiting your sugar intake, following a diet rich in essential nutrients, staying hydrated, and engaging in stress-relieving practices. 

  1. Shi, X (2023). The Association between Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Male Pattern Hair Loss in Young Men.
  2. Chandrashekar, B (2018). IADVL textbook of trichology.
  3. Bakry, O (2014). Androgenetic alopecia, metabolic syndrome, and insulin resistance: Is there any association? A case–control study.,_metabolic_syndrome,_and.6.aspx
  4. Peyravian, N (2020). The Inflammatory Aspect of Male and Female Pattern Hair Loss.
  5. Coogan, P (2019). Association of type 2 diabetes with central-scalp hair loss in a large cohort study of African American women.
  6. CDC. Get The Facts: Added Sugar.
  7. USDA. Beverages, Energy drink, RED BULL.