Does Creatine Cause Hair Loss?
An athletic body, full head of hair and perfect skin are what the modern day perception of youthfulness is.
Many weightlifters, athletes, and people who go to the gym, take supplements to aid with strength, muscle gain and recovery.
Whether you are lifting weights to gains size, strength or just general fitness, there is no doubt you have heard about at least some of the supplements the fitness industry offers. Unfortunately many take these supplements and do not know the side effects of these supplements (one of the main ones being hair loss).
In this article, we are going to look at Creatine specifically. We will look at how creatine works in the body and whether or not it actually causes hair loss in men.
How does Creatine work?
Creatine is up there as one of the most popular supplements used by athletes in sports and at the gym. Unlike, other supplements, creatine has been scientifically proven to work.
Creatine works by forming phosphocreatine in the body. This is a protein like substance draws phosphate molecules to the muscle during intense workouts where they are readily available as a fast source of energy.
It also pumps water to the muscles making them look big and ‘pumped’ up. It is no wonder then why many athletes take it.
Creatine usually comes in powder form and is taken daily with water – anywhere from 1g to 30g a day. Natural sources of creatine can be found in foods like red meat and fish.
Does Creatine Cause Hair Loss?
Taking creatine is great for the gym. It increases memory, muscle energy and lowers cholesterol. Weightlifters love creatine because is allows them to not only perform more reps in the gym with the same weights they are used to, but it also adds muscle mass.
Unfortunately, studies have shown that people who supplement with creatine also show increased levels of DHT (Dihydrotestosterone).
Why is this bad?
As we have discussed in our hair loss treatment guide, DHT is the hormone that causes hair follicles to shrink and eventually shut down (commonly referred to as male pattern baldness).
So the short answer is: Yes, creatine does cause hair loss if you have pattern hair loss in your gene pool.
If you are genetically predisposed male pattern hair loss, then taking creatine is something you really have to think about and weigh up.
While many bodybuilders are quite happy to sacrifice their hair for muscles (hence why many take steroids), this is not necessarily the right choice for you.
If you have no genetic predisposition to hair loss (i.e. no hair loss in your family) you will be absolutely fine to take creatine.
How to limit hair loss from Creatine?
So you don’t want to lose your hair, but you still want to take creatine to get gains at the gym? The following are some ways to reduce or eliminate hair loss from creatine supplementation:
- Take less – most studies that show an increase in DHT from creatine supplementation was from men who were taking 20g to 25g per day. To stop such a large spike of DHT take a lower dose of 3g to 5g per day.
- Use a DHT blocker such as Saw Palmetto – Saw Palmetto is a 5-alphareductase inhibitor meaning it stops testosterone and 5-alphareductase enzymes combining to form DHT in the scalp. It is available in shampoos and as a supplement.
- Finasteride – This is an oral medication that is used to stop testosterone converting to DHT. It is incredibly effective but does not come without side effects (some which can be permanent).
So does creatine cause hair loss? The answer depends on your genetic makeup and whether you are predisposed to hair loss.
Many athletes are okay to sacrifice their hair for strength and muscle and that is okay. However, there are options available to reduce the effects of creatine and hair loss such as hair loss shampoos and natural DHT blockers.
At the end of the day it is your decision whether you choose to use creatine or not, you need to weigh up both the pros and the cons!