Creatine is popular in the sports nutrition world because it can help athletes and bodybuilders gain muscle, improve strength, and recover quicker. If you spend any time looking up the potential side effects of creatine, you’ll likely find that a few people blame creatine for hair loss.
Is this true? Does creatine cause hair loss?
The short answer is no.
There is no solid scientific evidence to suggest that creatine causes hair loss. In fact, when taken correctly, creatine is a safe and effective supplement that can help provide faster results and boost your performance in the gym.
In this article, we’ll dig a little deeper into what the research says about creatine causing hair loss and why it’s nothing more than a myth. We’ll also explore the benefits of creatine and how it can help you train longer and recover faster.
- Hair loss stemming from creatine is a myth. There is no solid scientific proof linking creatine usage to hair loss or balding.
- Most hair loss, especially male-pattern baldness, stems from a genetic trait passed down from your parents.
- Creatine is one of the most widely studied supplements on the market. It aids in producing ATP— the muscles preferred energy source — to build lean muscle mass and improve strength and endurance.
THE CREATINE/HAIR LOSS MYTH
The association between creatine and hair loss stemmed from one small study from 2009 on 20 rugby players.
The players used a creatine supplement regimen that included a creatine loading phase of 25 grams of creatine for seven days, followed by 14 days of maintenance at a lower dose.
Researchers suggested that creatine supplementation may increase the conversion rate of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The study did not mention hair loss specifically.
DHT is a male hormone that is a derivative of testosterone. It can interfere with the normal hair growth cycle, shortening the hair and making it fall out easier.
The rest of the evidence behind men claiming that creatine can cause hair loss or hair thinning is strictly anecdotal. This means it comes from a person’s personal experience without factual evidence.
In fact, in 2021, an internationally renowned team of researchers reviewed common creatine misconceptions to further debunk creatinine myths. They examined around 500 peer-reviewed publications involving creatine supplementation.
Interestingly, no other studies have indicated that creatine supplementation increases DHT, hair loss, or balding.
So, what causes hair loss?
Unfortunately, in most cases, hair loss is genetically inherited. This means it is a trait passed down from your parents.
Variations in the AR (androgen receptor) gene can increase the activity of androgen receptors within hair follicles.
Studies estimate male pattern baldness affects up to 80% of males by the time they reach 80 years old.
Additionally, the enzyme (5-AR) that converts testosterone to DHT may be more active in people who experience hair loss.
Now that we’ve settled that debate once and for all let’s talk about creatine dietary supplements and their benefits.
WHAT IS CREATINE?
Creatine is a small tripeptide made up of three amino acids linked together. It’s naturally found in your skeletal muscle. Creatine helps your muscles produce energy during periods of high-intensity exercise and heavy lifting sessions.
Your kidneys, pancreas, and liver naturally produce creatine at a rate of 1-2 grams per day. You can also get creatine supplements or small amounts from certain foods like red meat and fish.
Although the body naturally produces creatine, it’s beneficial for athletes to supplement with creatine monohydrate. Simply increasing your creatine intake by 5 grams can aid in the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the body’s primary source of energy.
THE BENEFITS OF USING CREATINE SUPPLEMENTS
- Helps muscle cells produce ATP
- Improves athletic performance
- Supports muscle gain
- May improve brain function
- Increase muscle strength
HELPS MUSCLE CELLS PRODUCE ATP
When you perform high-intensity exercise, your body requires more ATP per second than your body can produce.
Creatine supplements increase phosphocreatine stores in your muscles. Phosphocreatine helps generate new ATP, which is broken down during exercise to produce energy.
Studies show that creatine supplementation of at least 3 grams per day can significantly increase your muscle stores.
The extra creatine stored in your muscles can be used for ATP production, leading to an increase in time to fatigue.
This is the main mechanism behind the many athletic benefits of taking creatine.
IMPROVES ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE
The role creatine plays in ATP production allows it to significantly improve athletic performance.
For example, one review found that creatine supplementation can increase athletic performance by as much as 15%.
Unlike some supplements on the market, it can help improve your athletic performance no matter what fitness level you’re at.
SUPPORTS MUSCLE GAIN
Creatine is well-known for its ability to help users gain lean muscle mass. It helps increase short-term and long-term muscle mass growth in several different ways.
First of all, it can increase the water content of your muscle cells, which makes your muscles appear fuller and larger. You’ll likely begin to notice this within just a few days or weeks of starting a creatine supplement.
It also can increase intramuscular insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), which stimulates muscle growth and mass.
Creatine can prevent muscle breakdown and help maintain muscle mass during exercise, leading to more significant muscle gains over time.
It can also heighten your capacity when you train, allowing you to lift heavier and perform more reps. Over time, this will lead to increased muscle mass.
INCREASES MUSCLE STRENGTH
Creatine is considered the best supplement on the market to increase muscle strength. It is thought to increase muscle strength by bolstering energy stores in the muscle and preventing lactic acid from building up.
One study over 6-weeks discovered that oral creatine supplementation led to greater increases in arm flexor muscular strength, upper arm muscle area, and fat-free mass compared to strength training alone.
Another study found that creatine supplementation led to significant improvements in maximum squat and bench press strength. Researchers also reported a 20% increase in testosterone levels among participants who ingested the creatine supplement compared to just 5% in those who did not take the supplement.
IMPROVES RECOVERY TIME
Training-induced muscle damage can lead to soreness, inflammation, and impaired muscle function.
Newer studies suggest consuming creatine can also directly improve recovery time after exercise-induced muscle damage occurs.
One study looked at fourteen untrained males. It examined whether creatine consumption before and after exercise-induced damage can improve recovery and markers of muscle damage. Researchers observed a significant enhancement of muscle function recovery in those who consumed the creatine supplement compared to those who did not.
Taking creatine supplements does not negatively affect healthy hair or make your hair fall out. While one small study linked creatine to increased DHT levels, the study did not mention hair loss.
Hair loss is often hereditary and passed down from family members.
Creatine is one of the most well-researched and popular supplements among athletes and bodybuilders. It aids in the production and regeneration of ATP, which sends quick energy to your muscles during heavy lifting or high-intensity exercise.
Our non-GMO Creatine Monohydrate is flavorless, odorless, and easily dissolves into your favorite beverage. Adding just two scoops of creatine to your workout routine will improve strength, power, muscular endurance, and lean muscle mass.