Does creatine cause hair loss?
By Prof. Dr. Soner Tatlidede 2020-07-08
Does creatine cause hair loss? The possible relation between creatine and hair loss is a matter of concern for many men who consume or have consumed it as a food supplement to improve physical performance (especially if they practise sports that require great effort), since it's a key player in the metabolism of skeletal muscle. Creatine is also used in some treatments to strengthen hair.
But, does taking creatine cause hair loss? Actually, many people interested in hair transplant cost in Turkey also ask about the possible side effects of creatine, including hair loss. That's why in the following lines we want to provide a definitive answer to questions such as what is creatine, what is it used for, and what are its real side effects in hair, if any. Let´s begin!
What is creatine?
Creatine is an amino acid, which are organic compounds that constitute the basic components to make up proteins. It´s found in muscles, and since the 90s it has been used as dietary supplement for athletes, since it's believed that creatine can increase muscles strength and energy. However, in the last years the use of this substance has been surrounded by suspicions about its effects on hair, to the point that it has been called the "creatine hair loss myth".
We must note however that creatine is also used in hair treatments to restore hair fibres and increase its strength. In fact, it is a common belief that the function of creatine in hair is similar to that of keratin, being usual that products used to strengthen hair based on keratin, also contain a proportion of creatine to enhance its effects.
Does creatine increase DHT?
As for the possibility of a relation between creatine and alopecia, a study on creatine and hair loss published in 2009 analysed its effects on a group of 20 rugby players divided in two groups: one was given creatine supplements for 3 weeks, and the other was not. In the end, it was observed that the concentration of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) increased in the first group by 50%, therefore establishing a possible link between creatine and increase in DHT.
However, at the same time it was found that testosterone levels had not changed, so it was theorized that creatine could actually trigger the activation of the enzyme 5alpha-Reductase, which in fact is the one that transforms testosterone into DHT.
If we consider that normally alopecia is caused by the so-called male pattern baldness (of genetic origin), and that it occurs when a man produces DHT and his hair is genetically sensitive to this hormone, it is understood why one of creatine side effects could be hair loss. But, it is important to emphasize that although creatine seems to increase DHT production, only if there is a previous genetic predisposition DHT will damage follicles and cause hair loss.
In any case, we must underline that creatine consumption must be done under specialist's supervision, since its side effects are not limited to a theoretic hair loss, but also to problems in kidneys, weight gain, gastric disorders and diarrhoea, muscle cramps, or dehydration, among others. However, contrary to some beliefs, there is no scientific evidence about creatine causing cancer.
Can creatine cause hairloss?
Then, does creatine cause hair loss? Well, this 2009 study had a great impact in media; however, a detailed analysis leads to conclude that there is not enough evidence so that we can affirm that creatine causes hair loss. The study was carried on just a small group (20 people), all with similar characteristics, and although an increase in DHT levels was detected, we don´t really know how long does this effect last, nor if a possible hair loss caused by creatine would be permanent.
Therefore, we can conclude that as long as we do not have new scientific evidences, we cannot confirm that there is a relation: so (as far as we know) creatine does not cause hair loss. Yes, maybe there is a greater tendency to hair loss if there is a genetic predisposition to the DHT hormone; but until now, no evidence can confirm that hair loss caused by male pattern baldness can be significantly influenced by consumption of creatine.
The truth is that to properly answer the question "Does creatine cause hair loss?" we need further studies on the subject. Until then, if you finally have to resort to a hair transplant, we always recommend to choose a trustworthy clinic with all guarantees, like Clinicana: simply take a look at the reviews on hair transplant in Turkey, and find out why we are the best rated hair clinic in Istanbul. Ask for your free consultation now!