Creatine hair loss – a topic that has baffled many in the sports and fitness world!
- Does creatine cause hair loss?
- Will taking creatine make hairs fall off your head?
- Are you going to turn bald?
We very well understand the concern with your hair. After all, you don’t want to gain muscles and turn bald; that would make those photos miserable!
As you might know, many athletes, weight lifters, gym-goers, and sportsmen take creatine to increase energy, strength, and muscle mass.
Creatine and hair loss has been a subject of long debate, and we thought of providing our take on it.
So does creatine make our head resemble the moon surface?
Creatine Hair Loss: Is There A Relationship between Creatine and Falling Hair?
Creatine is said to cause hair fall as it increases dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in your blood.
DHT is an androgen and causes hair loss, especially in men. DHT can interact with hair follicles and make them fall off. People with DHT sensitivity may experience hair loss and poor quality of hair.
DHT is a byproduct of testosterone and can bind with your hair follicles in the head. Over time, the hair shrinks and stops growing.
But whether the hair falls or not depends on many factors like-
- DHT sensitivity
- Location of the hair on the scalp
- Genetic heritage
DHT has a lesser role to play in females. Genetic factors, estrogen levels, and other factors are responsible for hair loss in women. Creatine for women doesn’t have any relation to hair loss.
On the whole, the myth of can creatine cause hair fall doesn’t seem to hold much ground. Creatine may increase DHT, but there is no proof it leads to hair loss.
A lot of other reasons may be causing the hair to fall.
So creatine side effects exclude hair damage.
What Research Says
Is there any scientific evidence that says creatine is bad for your hair?
You may find a lot of articles and forums where people line creatine with hair loss.
But all of them rely on one single study conducted in 2009 with 20 young male rugby players.
The researchers divided the rugby players into two groups. One group got 25 grams per day of creatine monohydrate for 7 days during the loading phase. Then they received a maintenance dose of 5 grams per day for 14 days. The other group received a placebo.
The researchers found the creatine group to have elevated levels of DHT, around 56.1% during the loading phase. The DHT levels came down to 40.8% during the maintenance phase. The study, however, didn’t find any changes in testosterone levels.
How far are the results of this study valid?
Let’s consider a few facts-
- The DHT levels dropped to 40% after the loading phase. There was a reduction of 16% after cutting down the creatine dose, and the study went on for only 3 weeks. So it’s likely the DHT levels could have dropped further if we had further tests.
- Hormone levels can change drastically in 24 hours. The study doesn’t say if the researchers measured the DHT levels at the same time every day. This could also influence the findings.
- Other studies show that intense training can raise your DHT levels. So the increase in DHT might not be due to creatine alone.
- There are no direct studies linking creatine with hair loss.
- The researchers of the study didn’t observe any hair fall. They only recorded increased levels of DHT.
It looks like we all have made educated guesses till now. We have only one study as evidence, which is also questionable on many grounds.
People lose hair for a combination of many reasons, and DHT is only one of them.
Now, we said that DHT is a byproduct of testosterone, remember? So a rise in testosterone levels might lead to more DHT in your blood. But is that the case?
Does Creatine Increase Testosterone?
According to Examine.com, only two clinical trials exist that note a substantial increase in testosterone after taking creatine.
The participants of the studies took 20 grams of creatine per day for 6 and 7 days.
On the other hand, ten clinical trials noted no difference in testosterone levels after consuming creatine.
The studies use dosages of 3 to 25 grams per day from 6 days to 10 weeks. None of them found creatine to increase testosterone.
Moreover, five studies tested the effect of creatine on free testosterone. Now, free testosterone is what produces DHT. None of the studies noted any significant difference in testosterone levels.
So, does creatine increase testosterone?
We can safely say, no!
Now can creatine increase DHT without increasing free testosterone?
It may, but there is again, insufficient evidence to draw any conclusions. Creatine may increase DHT by increasing free testosterone even by a little bit.
You might not know, but even the slightest increase in free testosterone can lead to a high increase in DHT.
Also, creatine might facilitate the conversion of free testosterone to DHT by upregulating the enzyme responsible for it. But as we said, there is no evidence or research to make any conclusions. All we can do, at best, is making guesses.
Can Expired Creatine Cause Hair Loss: Is It Real
We have also heard another thing. Some people say creatine that is past expiry dates cause hair damage. However, does creatine expire?
After that, the creatine may slowly lose its potency. But that doesn’t mean it will lead to hair loss. So, this is also not a practical concern.
We will digress here a bit and clear another misconception. Many people think medicines become unsafe or toxic after they expire. However, that might not always be the case. Expiry dates mostly have to do with the potency of the drug. After the expiry date, the potency may start to wear off. As a result, the medicine may lose some of its effectiveness, but not become unsafe. Here’s a great article on medicines and what expiry dates mean by Harvard Health you can read.
Ultimately, can creatine cause hair loss?
No! That’s why we say don’t blame creatine for hair fall anymore! And for the last time, let’s put an end to the creatine hair loss myth. Creatine cause hair damage is a fake campaign!
if you are losing hair, you can try some cool home remedies suggested by Reader’s Digest, Canada. Even if that doesn’t solve the problem, consult a dermatologist.
If you have read till now, you must be convinced that creatine doesn’t make you lose your hair.
There is only one study on the topic, and no research has ever tested the direct effect of creatine on hair damage.
The study we are talking about also didn’t observe any hair loss, but only increased DHT levels.
Creatine may increase DHT (noted by only two clinical trials), but there is no evidence it leads to hair fall. Creatine also doesn’t increase your testosterone or free testosterone. At least research doesn’t point that direction.
So creatine hair loss is, at best, a myth. And we have done our bit to bust that myth. We can confidently say- consumption of creatine supplements doesn’t result in hair loss!
People only related creatine and hair loss based on false assumptions and misinformation.
Creatine only builds muscles and power up your workouts for maximum muscle gains.
Does creatine actually cause hair loss?
No studies show creatine to cause hair loss or make hair weak. So, all claims of creatine causing hair loss is not based on proof or evidence. You can use creatine without worrying over thinning hair.
Is there any real treatment for hair loss?
Hair loss is caused by a wide range of reasons, including certain health conditions. You can treat your hair loss by treating your underlying disease or health issue. Medicines approved for hair loss include Rogaine and Propecia. You can also go for a hair transplant if you have the money. However, first consult a dermatologist before you try anything.
What are the disadvantages of creatine?
Healthy people are likely to face any disadvantages from creatine. You may consider the initial stomach discomforts some people have. Persons with mental disorders like BPD may experience worsening symptoms from creatine. More research is needed to say anything conclusively.