Creatine is a common supplement used in the world of weightlifting and athletes.
It gives the body more of a naturally produced chemical, creatine, which is stored in the muscles and leads to more ATP production to help you work out longer, and with more intensity, to help you potentially build more muscle.
While this all sounds great, if you scour the weightlifting forums out there, you may find a common repeated anecdote that supplementing with creating can cause hair loss. But, how true is this?
Below we will cover if there may be a potential scientific link to hair loss from using creatine, what more studies need to be done, and what you should do if you are experiencing hair loss.
The studies done on the link between hair loss and creatine use are slim. But if you do come across one, it is likely this 2009 study performed on 20 healthy male college-aged rugby players.
This study gave the men either 25gms of creatine or a placebo for a 7-day loading dose, followed by either a 5mg of creatine or a placebo maintenance dose for 14 days. After this, their testosterone and DHT levels were measured to see if there were any changes from baseline. The researchers found testosterone levels to stay the same in both groups, but that the DHT levels had significantly increased in the creatine group as compared to the placebo group.
These results suggest that there may be a connection between increased DHT levels and those taking creatine. This may be significant to the hair loss concerns since we know that dihydrotestosterone (DHT) plays a role in male pattern baldness, and that men who are genetically more sensitive to the effects of DHT may experience hair loss from its interaction with the hair follicles. At the very least, if you are very concerned about any potential hair effects, and you already know you are dealing with male pattern hair loss which has a big DHT component, you may want to steer away from creatine to play it safe as far as your hair goes.
What we do not know is if the elevated levels of DHT found in the above study were high enough to affect hair loss. Also, this is a very small scale study done on young healthy athletes over a very short period of time, so more expansive long-term studies need to be done before any conclusions are made about creatine and hair loss.
It is good to educate yourself on supplements and their potential side effects before you start on them, but be sure to take anecdotal or commentary-type information with a grain of salt.
There are likely many men who start taking workout supplements who were going to start experiencing hair loss anyway, and without any large-scale and well-constructed studies, you cannot know if there is a connection between creatine use and hair loss.
We can’t rule out hair loss as a potential side effect in some creatine users, but there is not enough evidence to rule it in either.
Having hair concerns or already dealing with hair loss issues doesn’t mean that you absolutely cannot use creatine if you want to. The evidence linking hair loss to creatine use is not currently available, and you can easily stop the supplement if you feel like it is not a good fit for you.
However, it is important to go ahead and treat any hair loss concerns as soon as you notice them. It is much easier to help slow and improve minor levels of hair loss as compared to extensive balding that has gone on for a while.
We mentioned above that DHT is a testosterone metabolite that can play a large role in male pattern hair loss (and may increase when you are using creatine). There are prescription medications called 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors available that help block the conversion of testosterone into this hair ravaging hormone, and can help reduce your hair losses while increasing hair growth in some men.
Here at Strut Health, we carry two 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors, Finasteride and Dutasteride, in both oral and topical formulations. If you are concerned about your hair loss and want to see if these prescription medications can help reduce your DHT levels and improve your hair, you can have a free questionnaire and image-based online consultation with our U.S. licensed doctors today. If you are a good candidate for treatment, your hair loss medication can be shipped to your front door with our free shipping.