What is creatine?
Creatine is one of the most widely researched bodybuilding supplements. It is found naturally in animal products such as red meat but can be purchased at almost any supplement store. Several studies have linked creatine to increased strength, muscle, and athletic performance, as well as improved post-recovery workouts. But what is the relation between creatine and hair loss? Does creatine cause hair loss?
There are many varieties of creatine on the market, but creatine monohydrate is considered the least expensive and, if not more effective, than others. The most common side effect of creatine supplementation is water retention, but other possible side effects include muscle cramps, nausea, dizziness, stomach problems, dehydration, and heat intolerance.
Creatine is not recommended for people with kidney disease or people with kidney problems. Interestingly, the most respected online sources for supplements and health research do not list hair loss as a creatine side effect.
Does creatine cause hair loss?
Only one RCT has associated creatine supplementation with an increase in DHT. The study was conducted in 20 healthy young male rugby players, randomized into two groups: one group took a placebo, while the other took a loading dose (25 g / day) for 7 days supplemented with creatine monohydrate. This was done in order to know the relation between creatine and hair loss.
Done, then a maintenance dose of 5 g / day for 14 days was given. Changes in testosterone did not differ significantly between the two groups, but DHT was significantly increased at day 7 (0.44 ng / mL above baseline, therefore 56.1%) and day 21 (0.12 ng / mL above baseline, therefore 40.8%).
A published response to this study mostly inquired about the methods but no statistical defects were found. Note that this study tested its creatine for 25 different possible adulterants, such as stimulants and androgen steroids. No one was detected, ruling out the possibility that the changes in DHT were due to illegal contamination.
To date, this is the only RCT testing creatine effect on DHT. However, several studies have tested the effects of creatine on testosterone. A significant increase in testosterone was observed in only two RCTs when supplemented with 20 grams of creatine per day over 6 days [15 and 7 days].
Effect of Creatine on testosterone
No effect of creatine on testosterone has been found in ten RCTs. These RCTs have a duration ranging from 6 days to 10 weeks and creatine monohydrate doses range from 3 to 25 g / day.
An RCT that used creatinine malt saw no effect on testosterone levels. Importantly, five of these RCTs specifically tested the effects of creatine on free testosterone, which converts to the form DHT. All did not see any significant increase. You must have got your answer regarding does creatine cause hair loss.
Source – Healthline
Is it possible for creatine to increase DHT without an increase in testosterone, as reported in one study?
Actually, yes, in at least two ways. First, creatine can non-significantly increase free testosterone, yet increase DHT (i.e., a small increase in free testosterone, the base content of DHT, can cause a much greater increase in DHT). Second, creatine can upregulate 5-alpha-reductase, which converts enzyme-free testosterone into DHT. One or both of the hypotheses may be true. Not either. Current evidence does not allow us to take a stand.
Before we conclude, we have to mention three cavities. First, these studies were conducted in all healthy young men, and all but one among athletes or other trained individuals.
Second, in a study that looked at DHT and noted an increase, DHT remained well within the normal range; Therefore even if creatine increases DHT, it may not cause the maximum loss of hair. Third, and most important: the effect of creatine supplementation on hair loss has not been directly studied, so we can all make educated guesses.
Also read – Pros and cons of laser hair removal
What the research says about creatine and hair loss
There is not much to indicate that creatine supplementation actually causes hair loss. In fact, a lot of the evidence for Link is anecdotal. This means that it comes from people’s personal testimony or experiences.
However, the source of a small 2009 study in college rugby players revealed an increased hormone level that is associated with hair loss after 3 weeks of creatine supplementation. This hormone is called dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
When to see a doctor?
Creatine supplementation does not lead directly to hair loss, as discussed above. But if you are experiencing hair loss, then you should contact your doctor.
Also, you should see your doctor if you experience sudden, hair fall or a large amount of hair loss while brushing or washing.
Many causes of hair loss are curable. Your doctor will work closely with you to find out the cause of your hair loss and recommend the right treatment for you.
Summary of creatine hair loss
Creatine can affect DHT levels, which are known to play a role in hair loss in men who are well-adapted to the condition. However, the single study linking creatine and DHT was not without drawbacks, namely, its size and the obscene amount of creatine the participants were carrying. Also, nowhere in the study does it mention hair loss.
There are many anecdotal stories online where men claim to have thinning hair while taking creatine. The problem with these stories – there are almost many people who claim that they did not experience such problems.
Creatine is known as a safe supplement that can aid in muscle growth and strength. The evidence for possibly linking it to hair loss is thin, at best, and there is a good chance that you can take the recommended amount and experience nothing but the most common side effect: water retention. If hair loss is indeed a concern then you can address it.