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Creatine and Hair Loss: All You Need To Know

Hair loss is undoubtedly one of the significant conditions that are famous in the lives of both genders regardless of age. While some hair loss causes can be an autoimmune defect (alopecia), others are hereditary and manifest as you age. Losing your hair can cause a lot of psychological conditions like stress, anxiety, and low self-esteem. Hence, many people seek different treatment options to manage and sometimes cover up bald spots. For instance, scalp micropigmentation for men has become to go-to solution for covering hair loss.

Many types of research and studies have found that there might be a link between creatine and hair loss. However, how this process occurs might be unknown to many. To learn more about how creatine cause hair loss, keep reading this article.

What Is Creatine?

Creatine is a popular organic compound known for facilitating the recycling of Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the brain and muscles. ATP is the cell’s energy currency; thus, creatine helps in replacing energy in the cells of the brain and muscle. This makes creatine a very famous and influential nutritional supplement, especially for athletes who use it for extra support. 

Many athletes such as basketball, soccer, rugby players, etc. take creatine. Aside from helping out with energy, creatine also helps build muscle mass, improving overall performance and strength. Also, many studies find that taking creatine can help prevent neurological disorders. 

What’s impressive about creatine is that the human body creates creatine but at low levels. Taking creatine supplements increases the amount in the system, leading to both positive and negative effects. One of which might be that creatine causes hair loss, but before we get to that, here are a few benefits of using creatine;

  • Creatine Increase The Energy Levels Of Muscle Cells: As mentioned before, creatine can increase energy levels in the muscle cell. Usually, phosphocreatine stores produce ATP as you work physically; however, the rate is slow. This can alter your performance; however, you have enough to produce energy for more extended periods with creatine.
  • Improves Muscle Mass: Aside from enhancing your performance by providing energy, creatine also alters muscle mass formation by increasing the rate. Also, it decreases the levels of myostatin, a hormone responsible for decreasing muscle mass.
  • Great For High-Intensity Exercise: High-performance exercises require strength and a high level of endurance to execute correctly. Aside from the fact that creatine helps with providing ATP, it can also improve different areas as you work out. With creatine, you can improve your strength, endurance, recovery, fatigue resistance, and brainpower. Research shows that creatine improves your performance by 15%.
  • Can Improve Parkinson’s Disease: Parkinson’s disease is caused by a decrease in dopamine levels, which results in tremors, speech impairments, loss of muscle function, or worse, brain cell death. Many studies have found that creatine might help with this disease after a test on mice with Parkinson’s showed a 90% increase in dopamine levels. However, the results are inconclusive.
  • May Fight Against Diabetes: Studies suggest that creatine reduces blood sugar and reduces it from entering the muscles. Thus, preventing diabetes, however, there are no conclusive results about this.
  • Alleviate Neurological Disease: One of the major causes of neurological defects is a depleted phosphocreatine in the brain. According to a study with controlled mice, creatine use increased the percentage from 26% to 72%. This could slow the progression of Ischemic stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and other neurological issues.
  • Improves Brain Function: Aside from neurological disorders, creatine is also great for improving the way your brain works. According to research, your brain requires a certain level of ATP to function correctly. With an improved concentration of creatine, there will be higher dopamine concentration and mitochondrial activity. This means improved memory, intelligence, and other benefits.

Creatine may also be beneficial for fatigue and the body’s overall performance.

Possible Side Effects Of Creatine

Even though creatine is a natural supplement, having high amounts in your system can cause specific side effects. You can take creatine orally in the prescribed doses; however, the long term effects can be detrimental.

Some of the side effects usually manifest after five years and can be any of the following;

  • Water retention
  • Hair loss
  • Muscle cramping
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Weight gain
  • Gastrointestinal pain
  • Dehydration
  • Hair loss
  • Heat Intolerance

These side effects are also dependent on your overall body function and underlying medical conditions. Some of the worse side effects can lead to the damage of major organs such as the kidneys, liver, or heart. 

What Is Dihydrotestosterone (DHT)?

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a hormone formed from testosterone, the male reproductive system’s primary sex hormone. Aside from its function as a sex hormone, testosterone always plays a massive role in forming muscle mass and body hair. This is why a significant number of men are hairier when compared to women.

Although DHT is formed from testosterone, it is a more potent hormone. Hence, most of the functions facilitated by testosterone can only occur after it is converted to DHT. However, how this is linked to many stages of male pattern baldness and other forms of hair loss is unknown to many people.

The Relationship Between Creatine & DHT

The relationship between taking creatine and the levels of DHT in the system has been linked to causing hair loss. Since testosterone needs to be converted to DHT before it can perform its functions properly, creatine increases this process. Essentially, when you take creatine supplements, the conversion of testosterone to DHT increases in the system.

The increased levels of DHT alter hair growth by speeding up the cycle of each hair follicles, which can cause hair loss. Hence, taking creatine cause hair loss in individuals over some time. It isn’t clear if the increase in DHT from taking creatine supplements can affect reproduction. 

Regardless of the relationship between high levels of DHT and hair loss, there are different options to manage hair loss effectively. A good example is scalp micropigmentation. Scalp micropigmentation is a non-surgical process explicitly designed to help people who suffer from hair loss. This process entails applying a natural pigment within the dermal layer of the scalp in the hair loss’s precise spot. Thus, depicting a natural shaved head and showing zero signs of hair loss.

Scalp micropigmentation has become very famous amongst people who suffer from hair loss.

Can Creatine Cause Hair Loss?

Yes, creatine causes hair loss. However, the process is indirect. Creatine supplements cause an increase in DHT levels, which alters the enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT. Thus, causing hair loss.

Ideally, hair follicles’ growth follows a cycle of growth, the resting phase, and the falling of hair follicles. The increased rate of DHT binding to hair follicles accelerates this hair growth phase. This leads to thinner and weaker hair strands, which leads to rapid hair loss. 

According to a medically reviewed study in 2009, a group of rugby players was placed on a higher concentration of creatine supplements. This was done for seven days and a maintenance period with a smaller concentration followed. The result showed a 50% rise in DHT levels for the first seven days and remained at 40% during the maintenance period. Although this study had nothing to do with hair loss, the rise in DHT levels is striking. Plus, if you are susceptible to hair loss due to hereditary genes, then high levels of DHT in your system might cause it to occur even faster.

Nevertheless, further research is required to ascertain if using creatine supplements alone can lead to hair loss. 

The increased levels of DHT alter hair growth by speeding up the cycle of each hair follicles, which can cause hair loss. Hence, taking creatine cause hair loss in individuals over some time. It isn’t clear if the increase in DHT from taking creatine supplements can affect reproduction. 

Regardless of the relationship between high levels of DHT and hair loss, there are different options to manage hair loss effectively. A good example is scalp micropigmentation. Scalp micropigmentation is a non-surgical process explicitly designed to help people who suffer from hair loss. This process entails applying a natural pigment within the dermal layer of the scalp in the hair loss’s precise spot. Thus, depicting a natural shaved head and showing zero signs of hair loss.

Scalp micropigmentation has become very famous amongst people who suffer from hair loss.

Conclusion

Creatine supplements are great for building muscle mass, improving performance, and alleviating different neurological disorders. However, it can lead to hair loss, as it increases DHT concentration in the system. Although the link between creatine and hair loss isn’t conclusive, it must be medically reviewed before taking any supplements with this component. Plus, be sure to always stick to the prescribed dosage, as a higher or lower amount can cause detrimental effects.

Also, be sure to speak with your doctor if you experience any hair loss and other side effects when you use creatine. Your doctor will be able to work with you to proffer the proper solution for your hair loss. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Bad Is Creatine For Your Hair?

There is no conclusive evidence to ascertain how bad creatine is for your hair. However, research shows that creatine can be linked to hair loss, as it increases DHT concentration in the system. DHT binds to the hair follicles, which leads to thinner and weak hair, or worse, causes you to go bald.

How Does Creatine Increase DHT?

Creatine increases DHT by converting testosterone to a more active form. DHT is a more active form of testosterone; the male reproductive hormone also responsible for hair growth. With an increase of DHT, creatine indirectly causes hair loss.

Which Supplements Can Cause Hair Loss?

Creatine supplements can cause hair loss. Different studies have also found that over-supplementation or prolonged use of nutrients like Vitamins A & E and Selenium can cause hair loss.

Regardless of these vitamins, creatine seems to be one of the major supplements that are linked to hair loss. This is especially so for athletes and bodybuilders who rely on it for muscle mass, improved performance, endurance, and energy.

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