Hair loss can be a nightmare for anyone to deal with, regardless of their age or sex. It can cause low self-esteem and increased stress levels. There are various compounds in human bodies that affect hair fall. One of them is creatine.
But does creatine cause hair loss? It’s perfectly natural to be worried about the potential side effects of taking contentious supplements. Let’s explore the effects of creatine on hair production based on the most current medical research.
What Is Creatine?
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Creatine is an organic compound that occurs naturally in muscle cells. It is responsible for maintaining a continuous supply of energy to your muscles to help improve your strength during resistance training. Creatine facilitates the recycling of adenosine triphosphate, which is crucial energy for the cells of your muscles and brain.
The chemical formula for creatine is C4H9N3O2. Creatine is similar in its molecular anatomy to amino acids. Your body produces it from the amino acids arginine and glycine.
Creatine is also available as a nutritional supplement that helps boost athletic performance. There are many brands of creatine powder to choose from. Studies have shown that when paired with exercise and resistance training, creatine makes a significant difference in enhancing muscle mass and performance.
It’s also been proven to help prevent neurotoxicity, neuromuscular disease, and neurological diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s by restoring the phosphocreatine connections in the brain.
Does Creatine Cause Hair Loss?
One of the frequently reported side-effects from long-term users of creatine has been hair loss. However, there hasn’t been enough research to establish any kind of direct relationship between creatine and hair production.
The idea that they share some correlation is more a result of testimonies, anecdotes, alternative media, as well as unqualified nutrition experts and naturalistic healers. Given all these stories, it’s perfectly normal to be skeptical about creatine. But let’s take a look at what the scientific research has indicated about creatine and hair loss.
Is There Scientific Evidence of Creatine Causing Hair Loss?
Most of the speculation around the potential harms of creatine in the medical community comes from a small 2009 study that was published in the Canadian Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine. This study included 20 college-aged rugby players as participants who experienced increased hair loss than usual following a 3-week regimen of creatine supplementation.
Since then, more research has been conducted to study the full extent of creatine’s effects on the body, and most studies have come to dispute the hair loss hypothesis.
A study published in the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition found no correlation between creatine supplementation and hair loss. It did, however, find that increased levels of Dihydrotestosterone or DHT, which is a hormone derived from testosterone, can shorten hair growth cycles, cause thinning, and weaken the hair structure.
But does creatine have anything to do with DHT levels? No. The rugby players from the 2009 study, despite experiencing hair loss, did not experience a boost in their overall testosterone levels due to creatine.
Thus, even though there is some speculation within the medical community, no study has found conclusive evidence of creatine causing baldness or hair loss in humans. But creatine may be indirectly responsible for hair loss by encouraging the conversion of testosterone to DHT.
How Much Creatine Causes Hair Loss?
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Creatine can increase the conversion of testosterone to DHT, which contributes to hair thinning. However, DHT is more prevalent in men who are genetically predisposed to baldness. So how much creatine could it take to cause hair loss really depends a lot on your genetics and other conditions.
It’s always best to consult a physician or a qualified nutrition expert before starting your journey with supplements. Remember to not overdo the recommended amount of supplements.
How To Stop Hair Loss Due to Creatine
Hair loss caused by creatine is highly unlikely. But if you’re committed to experiencing the benefits of creatine, you can take certain measures to further lower your chances of hair loss.
The first step is to take better care of your hair. Shampoo and clean your scalp regularly, drink plenty of fluids, and eat foods that are rich in protein, vitamins, and iron that are known to improve hair growth. Some of the best foods you can eat to promote hair growth are eggs, spinach, berries, fatty fish, and nuts.
You can also consult a nutrition expert to develop a proper diet and supplementation plan. Too much of anything is bad for you and the same can be said about creatine.
Possible Side Effects of Creatine
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The side effects of creatine will vary from person to person. The negative effects of creatine can be traced back to how much creatine they have consumed, their family history, medical conditions, or the medications they are simultaneously taking that can react adversely with creatine.
Here are some possible side effects of creatine:
#1. Liver damage
#2. Kidney damage
#3. Weight gain
#5. Muscle cramps
#6. Digestive problems
#9. Kidney stones
When To See a Doctor
If you are supplementing creatine and find yourself experiencing any of the symptoms given below, you should visit your doctor. It may be a sign of higher than healthy creatinine levels in the body.
#1. Fluid retention in the lower body
#2. Confusion or delirium
#4. Shortness of breath
#5. Chest pain
#6. Fatigue or weakness
#7. Lower quantity and/or frequency of urination than usual
1. Does Hair Grow Back After Creatine?
If you’ve experienced significant hair loss or thinning due to creatine, it’s because creatine acted as a catalyst to your genetic condition. In other words, all hair grows back unless you’re balding.
In case of rapid balding, you can opt for regrowth treatment or transplant.
2. Does Creatine Lead to Water Retention?
Creatine can lead to weight gain due to higher water retention. It’s either only temporary or lasts as long as you use creatine. However, as you build more lean muscle mass, the water weight will go away on its own.
3. Is Creatine an Anabolic Steroid?
Creatine is not an anabolic steroid; it’s safe to use for all healthy adults. However, even though there isn’t enough reliable information, it’s best for pregnant or lactating mothers to avoid creatine.