Creatine is a popular nutritional and sports supplement. You might have heard that utilizing creatine can result in hair loss, But is this real? While creatine itself may not directly lead to hair loss, it may impact the levels of a hormone that does.
There is not much to indicate that creatine supplements trigger hair loss. Much of the proof for the link is anecdotal. This means that it comes from people’s statements or experiences.
However, a 2009 study of college-age rugby players found increased hormone levels related to hair loss following three weeks of a creatine supplementation program. This hormonal agent is called dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
Creatine and DHT levels
DHT is a hormone derived from another hormone that you may recognize—testosterone. DHT is likewise more potent than testosterone. Hair follicles have their life process. A hair growth stage is followed by a resting phase, after which the hair falls out.
DHT can bind to hormone receptors in hair roots. This can lead to briefer hair growth cycles as well as hairs that are thinner and shorter. Because there is less hair growth, more hairs are falling out than are changed.
In addition, some people have a genetic predisposition to hair loss. Variations in a gene called AR can result in increased activity of the hormonal agent receptors discovered within hair roots.
Additionally, the enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT may be more active with hair loss.
How does creatine relate to hair loss?
The 2009 research players used a creatine supplement program that includes seven days of creatine loading, throughout which a greater level of the supplement was given. This was followed by an upkeep duration of lower levels of creatine.
The researchers discovered that DHT levels increased over 50%throughout the loading period and remained 40% over standard during the upkeep period. Levels of testosterone, on the other hand, did not change.
It is important to keep in mind that the researchers did not examine hair loss in the study participants. Therefore, we can only observe the effect on hormone levels here.
An increase in DHT levels was observed. Because DHT levels play a role in hair loss, this boost could put you at risk, particularly if you are genetically inclined to hair loss.
Overall, more research is needed on creatine’s effect on DHT levels. In particular, further research needs to be carried out to assess whether increases in DHT due to creatine supplementation promote hair loss.
What Is Creatine?
Creatine is among the most commonly used bodybuilding supplements. It is naturally occurring and can be found in animal items like red meat. However, it can be purchased as a supplement. Various studies have connected creatine to increased strength, improved muscle development, enhanced athletic performance, and faster recovery post-workout.
Creatine gives energy to your cells. It is naturally produced by your liver, pancreas, and kidneys. You can also get creatine through your diet plan by taking in red meat and fish. Creatine is saved in your skeletal muscles as phosphocreatine. This can be broken down later during exercise to be utilized as energy for contraction.
When you take creatine supplements, more creatine appears in your muscles. Due to this boost in creatine levels, your muscles may have the ability to create more energy.
Because of this, some people take creatine to increase their muscle mass and enhance athletic performance. Creatine supplements can be discovered in various kinds, consisting of powders, liquids, and tablets.
The most typical side effect of creatine supplementation is water retention leading to weight gain. However, other possible negative effects are muscle cramps, nausea, dizziness, stomach problems, dehydration, and heat intolerance. Creatine is not advised for individuals with kidney illness or those with kidney problems.
Surprisingly, the most reliable online sources for supplement and health research studies do not list hair loss as an adverse creatine effect.
The single piece of clinical literature potentially linking creatine to loss of hair was a 2009 research study published in the Medical Journal of Sports Medicine. The research study followed 20 rugby players as they supplemented with creatine for three weeks. Those in the research study took 25 grams of creatine a day (5 grams is the normal recommendation).
The researchers found that creatine may increase the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is thought to be the hormone behind male pattern baldness in men genetically predisposed to hair loss.
This study did not prove that creatine can trigger hair loss and even link the two. It did not mention any loss of hair. It was extremely small and minimal to an extremely narrow timespan.
Anecdotal evidence linking creatine to balding
Nevertheless, it is possible that creatine can interfere with hair growth or turnover, but there simply is no evidence to conclusively prove it. Since no one has proven it does not trigger hair loss, it cannot be dismissed, and there are numerous folks out there that swear it does.
Anecdotal remarks based on one or two experiences exist all over the internet. They are anecdotal, a story based on somebody’s individual experience. And the problem with these statements is there could be a lot more than two variables than just creatine and loss of hair that are involved. These men could have been predisposed to hair loss before starting the creatine. No one knows definitively.
A number of these anecdotal recommendations share recovery after supplements, indicating males who claim to experience thinning hair as an adverse effect of creatine supplements also claim they recover once they stop taking the supplement.
Side effects and safety
If you want to use creatine, you need to understand some prospective adverse effects and safety issues. They are as follows:
- Water Retention: Creatine can trigger water retention, which might likewise cause short-term weight gain. Issues have been raised that water retention might result in adverse medical conditions such as dehydration and cramps. However, research has not supported this conjecture.
On the contrary, a 2003 study in college football players discovered that creatine did not result in increased levels of cramping or injury. Additionally, a 2009 review found no evidence to support that creatine usage negatively impacted fluid balance or heat tolerance.
- Kidney Issues: There are likewise worries that creatine could damage the kidneys. However, a 2018 review found that creatine had no negative impacts on kidney function in healthy people. Nevertheless, if you have underlying kidney problems, you might want to consider avoiding creatine supplements.
Safe for Adults
Compared to other supplements, creatine has been thoroughly studied about ergogenic benefits. According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, creatine is safe to use when taken in appropriate dosages.
In addition, in a 2017 position declaration, the International Society of Sports Nutrition states that utilizing creatine within the proper standards is safe, reliable, and ethical.
Few studies are assessing the results of long-term creatine usage. Nevertheless, some older studies on professional athletes have shown that creatine’s long-lasting use does not adversely affect health.
How to Take Creatine
When taken as a supplement, the most researched and utilized form of the item is creatine monohydrate. It is readily available in other kinds, including creatine hydrochloride, creatine ethyl ester, buffered creatine, and creatine gluconate. Many users take the supplement intending to bulk up, so be sure to use it with high-intensity exercises like weight lifting and other muscle group-focused workouts that will get your heart rate up. Creatine can also be discovered in fish and other meats.
How Creatine Helps the Body Build Muscle
Creatine is a natural substance discovered mainly in your body’s skeletal muscle. Still, a study reveals that taking creatine monohydrate before a high-intensity workout increases your body’s creatine storage.
According to a review on creatine supplements, the typical quantity of creatine discovered in the muscles averages around 120 to 160 mmol/kg in a 70-kilogram or roughly 154-pound individual. This unlocks more energy in your muscles and permits more prolonged and more efficient exercise. The lead source of energy in your body is adenosine triphosphate (ATP). When your store of ATP is used up while training, taking creatine uses the renewed shops of phosphocreatine to restore ATP, lengthening your exercise and providing other advantages.
Natural remedies for hair loss
You can try natural treatments such as Acupuncture or Ayurvedic techniques to manage the level of DHT in the body and stabilize your Pitta dosha. Some natural options may be worth trying.
- Healthy diet: Ayurveda advises entire healthy foods over synthetic supplements. It thinks numerous food combinations exalt the benefits and neutralize the hazardous results of food products. Specific vegetables and fruits increase the production of DHT levels, so select foods that are abundant in vitamins, zinc, lycopene, and minerals to decrease the DHT levels.
You can consider a diet that consists of kale, mushrooms, beet greens, spinach, green peas, sweet corn, mangoes, tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, black pepper, carrots, watermelon, bananas, sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
eating healthy food.
- Ayurvedic Treatments: Ayurvedic treatments like oil massage, Nasya, and hair masks promote blood circulation in the scalp, making the hair follicles healthy. They can assist keep your hair and scalp nurtured and tidy while being effective strategies to stabilize Pitta dosha and manage the DHT level. You can try oils like Pumpkin Seed, Lavender, Rosemary, Tea Tree, and Saw Palmetto to massage your scalp. These are vital oils that can help stabilize your DHT levels.
- Ayurvedic Herbs: Herbs like Flax Seeds, Grapes Seeds, Kumari (Aloe Vera), Krishna Tila (Black Sesame), Brahmi (Bacopa Monnieri), Amla (Indian Gooseberry), and Fennel Seeds are abundant in nutrients and minerals that are essential for hair development.
These herbs also have residential or commercial properties similar to linoleic acid and oleic acid that assist control the level of DHT in the hair roots. They offer natural conditioning to the hair while preventing infection or swelling in the scalp.
- Yoga & breathing exercises: Yoga and pranayama increase blood circulation to the hair roots, which enables your hair and scalp to grow and breathe.
Apanasana, Sasangasana, Uttanpadasana, Pawanmuktasana, Vajrasana, Ustrasana are some yoga asanas that can promote hair growth and avoid loss of hair.
You can likewise do pranayama like Nadi Shodhan Pranayama, Kapalbhati Pranayama, and Bhastrika Pranayama, which reduces stress and supplies more oxygen to brain cells.
Rumors About Creatine’s Side Effects
So, does creatine cause hair loss? We will get right to it: No scientific study has ever conclusively found that creatine does cause hair loss. A 2009 study on only 20 rugby players had the athletes take 25g/day of creatine powder for one week, then 5g/day for two weeks, and compared their results with those who only took a placebo. Some tested had higher levels of DHT, a testosterone-related metabolite. A spike in DHT causes hair loss for some men, but those in this group did not specifically report it.
There has not been a specific study found on creatine’s possible link to DHT increases since, but researchers are pretty clear about creatine being a reasonably safe product to take.
Hair loss, including creatine hair loss, is typically a combination of many factors, and even genetics is not always the common denominator among those affected. A seasoned triathlete might complain that taking creatine monohydrate powder caused hair thinning, and then hair started to grow back after he switched to a different supplement. While that may have been his experience, it cannot necessarily be attributed as a creatine side effect.
Does Creatine Expire?
Like many supplements, creatine lasts for a certain length of time only. Most versions of it can last for around one year. But make sure to check labels, as all products have different expiration dates, and creatine does expire. If you make sure it is stored in a dry and cool area, you should safely use the product as part of your workout. Fortunately, because of its well-established role in the fitness world, creatine is relatively inexpensive.
Is creatine harmful?
As with any supplement, it is essential to be aware of potential side effects. But according to research, creatine should not have too many adverse side effects. Your hair, in particular, should not suffer when you take it. If hair loss is a concern for you, consider adding a hair wellness supplement to your regimen.
Adolescents should exercise caution when considering creatine supplementation. This is because studies on the safety of creatine supplementation in healthy adolescents are limited.
If you would like to start using creatine as a supplement but have questions or concerns, you should speak to your doctor first. Creatine supplementation does not directly lead to hair loss. But if you are experiencing hair loss, you should make an appointment with your doctor.
Many causes of hair loss are treatable. Your doctor will work closely with you to diagnose the cause of your hair loss and recommend a treatment that is right for you.
Research has not shown that creatine directly causes hair loss, but more research is needed in this area. One 2009 study did find that creatine supplementation is associated with an increase in a hormone called DHT, which can contribute to hair loss. Overall, according to the current evidence available, creatine is safe to use to supplement most adults. However, since it may lead to increases in DHT levels, you may wish to avoid using creatine or talk to your doctor before using it if you are predisposed to hair loss.