Does Creatine Cause Hair Loss?
Creatine is a supplement popular with athletes and bodybuilders. This organic amino acid, found naturally in the muscles, helps supply energy to your muscles.
Creatine supplements are thought to help your muscles produce more energy, improving high-intensity physical performance and speeding up muscle growth. However, there is some discussion about whether creatine may or may not cause hair loss.
Keep reading to learn more about creatine, its benefits and side effects, and what the research says about its connection to hair loss.
What Is the Most Common Cause of Hair Loss?
Hair loss can be caused by many factors. However, the most common cause of hair loss is androgenic alopecia, a hereditary condition that occurs with aging. Also known as male-pattern baldness or female-pattern baldness, this type of balding develops gradually in patterns such as bald spots or a receding hairline.
There are also other causes of hair loss, such as:
- Hormonal changes
- Medical conditions
- Stressful events
- Radiation therapy
- Certain hairstyles and hair treatments
What Is Creatine Used For?
Creatine is a naturally occurring organic compound that helps the muscles produce energy during high-intensity exercise. Athletes and bodybuilders take creatine supplements not only to improve their performance but also to help them gain muscle and increase their strength.
What the Research Says About Creatine and Hair Loss
There isn’t much to indicate that creatine supplementation actually causes hair loss. In fact, much of the evidence for the link is anecdotal. This means that it comes from people’s personal testimony or experiences.
However, a small 2009 study of college-age rugby players found increased levels of a hormone associated with hair loss following 3 weeks of a creatine supplementation regimen. This hormone is called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is a metabolite of testosterone and can bind to androgen receptors in susceptible hair follicles in males. This can cause the follicles to shrink, leading to hair loss.
Because of the link between DHT to hair loss, this study led to the theory that creatine supplementation could cause hair loss.
However, this study had many flaws, such as:
- The sample size was small (20 participants).
- The study did not measure free testosterone (which the body uses to produce DHT), and the 16 participants who completed the study showed no increase in total testosterone.
- The increase found in DHT, and the DHT to testosterone ratio stayed within normal clinical limits.
- Intense resistance exercise on its own can also cause an increase in androgenic hormones.
According to the study mentioned above, there is insufficient evidence to prove if creatine causes hair loss or not.
Side Effects of Creatine
While it is a natural supplement, having high amounts of creatine in the body can cause specific side effects. Creatine can be taken orally in the prescribed doses without any risks. However, the long-term effects can be harmful.
Some of the side effects usually appear after five years. That is why it is recommended not to consume creatine for more than five consecutive years.
These side effects include the following:
- Possible hair loss
- Water retention
- Muscle cramps
- Weight gain
- Gastrointestinal pain
- Intolerance to heat
- Feeling dizzy
These side effects also depend on the general functioning of each individual and their underlying medical conditions. Some of the worst side effects can lead to damage to major organs like the kidneys, liver, or heart.
Get in touch
To prevent hair loss, Vancouver Laser invites you to come in for a consultation at any of our specialized centers. Our medical team will perform an exhaustive analysis of your case to assess your hair health and be able to treat the weakening of the follicle with hair treatments according to your needs.
Throughout these years, we have become experts in cutting-edge techniques such as LED Cap Therapy, platelet-rich plasma, and glutathione injection. Any of these treatments will be fully suited to your needs and will allow you to bring a definitive end to your alopecia.
We are known for providing a patient experience that is second to none, ensuring your comfort throughout the entire process and delivering expert guidance and aftercare. Book a consultation today or call us at 604.708.9891.