Creatine is a popular dietary supplement used by many athletes and bodybuilders to increase muscle strength and improve athletic performance. However, it’s rumored that creatine causes hair loss, and some people have even reported experiencing hair loss while taking creatine.
In this article, we will explore the potential link between creatine and hair loss and what you can do to minimize your risk.
Does Creatine Cause Hair Loss?
Creatine is not known to directly cause hair loss, but it could potentially contribute to the problem if you are already predisposed to hair loss or have an underlying medical condition that affects hair growth.
First, it is important to understand that hair loss can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, hormonal changes, and certain medical conditions. However, one potential mechanism by which creatine could contribute to hair loss is through its impact on hormone levels.
In one study, creatine was been found to increase levels of DHT (dihydrotestosterone), a hormone that is known to cause hair loss in men. DHT is an androgen, a male sex hormone that is present in both men and women. It plays a role in the development of male characteristics such as body hair and muscle mass.
However, when DHT levels are too high, it can cause hair loss by shrinking the hair follicles in the scalp. This can lead to a shorter growth phase and a shorter life span for hair follicles, resulting in less hair growth overall.
Creatine and DHT: The Clinical Study
The reason for the association between creatine and hair loss is because of a 2009 study conducted in South Africa. During the study a group of rugby players between the ages of 18 and 30 took creatine daily for three weeks. Researchers observed a statistically significant increase in participants’ levels of DHT. (1)
However, researchers reviewing the most popular misconceptions about creatine for the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that none of the study’s participants had experienced hair loss from taking the supplement. (2)
Additionally, the participants who began the study had baseline DHT levels that were already 23% lower than those in the placebo group – so even though their DHT levels increased, they still fell within normal the normal range at the study’s conclusion. Researchers noted that a statistically significant increase in DHT was not necessarily physiologically meaningful.
Other Ways Creatine Could Contribute To Hair Loss
Another potential mechanism by which creatine could contribute to hair loss is through its impact on blood flow. Creatine can cause an increase in blood flow to the muscles, which can also cause an increase in blood flow to the scalp.
This increased blood flow can lead to increased hair growth, but it can also lead to increased hair loss if the hair follicles are not able to handle the increased blood flow.
It is also important to note that creatine can cause dehydration as well, which can lead to hair loss. When the body is dehydrated, it can’t produce enough oil to keep the hair and scalp moisturized. This can lead to dryness and breakage, which can cause hair loss.
While creatine may be a contributing factor in hair loss, it is not the only cause. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional if you are experiencing sudden hair loss, as there may be other underlying medical conditions or lifestyle factors that are contributing to the problem.
In conclusion, the current research does not indicate that creatine causes hair loss or raises DHT levels, but it could potentially contribute to the problem if you are already predisposed to hair loss or have an underlying medical condition that affects hair growth.
If you are experiencing sudden hair loss, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause and to make an informed decision about whether or not to take creatine.
Mark McIntyre is the founder of MaleHealthReview.com and acts as it’s chief contributor. He is a fitness trainer and avid mountain biker who also enjoys camping, hiking and fishing. Besides managing Male Health Review, Mark is also a guest columnist for several blogs related to men’s health. More about this author…