Can Creatine Cause Hair Loss?

by Matt Wilson
Last Updated: 17/04/2021
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A most serious issue for men, and women who are forced to date them (not actually forced, we do not condone that behaviour). Male pattern baldness is bad in itself, and a lot of men have experienced it in some form.

The last thing you’d want to do is add to it by taking creatine. Having a hot bod may be awesome but having a full set of hair and a gut that you can lay your beer and pizza on is also pretty, pretty, pretty good (curb, Larry David, come on!).

Is there any truth or scientific evidence that connects hair loss (or maybe hair growth) to taking creatine? Is hair loss just an inevitable thing that comes with age (like wrinkles, or back pain) or is there more to it?

The easy answer that we can provide you with is to keep reading in order to find out more about hair loss, and creatine.

What Does the Research Say About Creatine and Hair Loss?

Creatine is a natural supplement used by humans (like you) to gain muscle mass faster. It’s most commonly found in red meat. 

There isn’t any specific research showing a direct connection between creatine and losing hair. So, that’s it? Right? Case closed. Well, not really.

A study from 2009, showed that taking creatine supplements can lead to an increase in DHT levels. DHT, what’s that? Only for the sake of this argument, and not to go too deeply into details, DHT is a hormone connected with hair loss [1]. 

The study, done on a small number of amateur rugby players has found that creatine supplementation (the study lasted 3 weeks) may be responsible for increased levels of DHT.  

The first part of the study consisted of rugby players taking a larger dose of creatine for a period of 7 days. This period is commonly known as the loading phase. Evidence collected in this study showed that the levels of DHT were higher by a whopping 50 per cent [2]. 

Taking creatine leads to an increase in levels of DHT, and DHT in itself may cause hair loss. Creatine is great for improving your muscle mass, but is it worth it if it may lead to hair loss? What should you do?

One answer would be to wait for more concrete research to show up! If you choose to take creatine be mindful of its side effects (if you like your hair follicles just the way they are, beautiful). 

You should also check the date on your product to make sure you are not using expired creatine.

If male pattern baldness runs in your family, you should go and see a doctor before making any decision about creatine supplements. 

Anecdotal Evidence Linking Creatine to Balding

We’ve talked about a study from 2009, and how it leads to increased levels of a hormone called DHT which may cause hair loss.  But, the main problem with this study is that none of the participants started losing their hair in the short amount of time the study lasted. 

So, even though dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and regular testosterone (both of those hormones are naturally found inside your body) are somewhat connected to hair loss [3], no research has shown direct evidence of cause and effect (when comes to exact reasons for hair loss).

Then where do all of those stories about creatine supplements and hair loss come from? 

You might have heard from your friends or family members about the time they or somebody they knew used a creatine supplement and then started losing hair. Unfortunately, this is where most of the evidence for hair loss and creatine comes from. 

I personally had a friend (he’s still alive, but we are no longer friends) who started losing hair at the age of 27 and decided to blame that hair loss on a creatine supplement that he was using. 

Around two weeks later, I met his father and that’s when I was able to get all the evidence I needed. His dad was completely bald and started balding at the age of 30. 

So, in my friend’s brilliant mind he had 3 more years of good hair follicles and the injustice that was done to him (hair loss, obviously)  was completely due to creatine and not in any way, shape or form connected with his genetics.

Male pattern baldness has profound effects on men, mostly on their confidence, but in this case, it also made my friend less intelligent, so let’s just add that to the list of side effects of creatine supplementation. 

To end this paragraph, I would just like to add that there is much that we don’t know about hair loss in general and the worst thing that one can do is to jump to conclusions without proper evidence. Scientific research is the key!  

Creatine and Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) Levels

Creatine is the most common supplement used by athletes and regular people alike. Due to its potential to improve muscle growth, give you an increase in energy as well as an overall increase in performance at the gym.

Knowing which is the best creatine supplement is not an easy task because there are many products on the market. The most common type of creatine in use today is creatine monohydrate.

Creatine increases the levels of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and ATP is the one responsible for transferring energy between the cells of your muscles.

During the loading phase of creatine supplementation (which usually lasts around one week), studies found that there is an increase of DHT inside your body (around 50 per cent). 

After the loading phase, comes the maintenance phase and during it using creatine leads to an increase of DHT levels in your body of about 20 per cent.

DHT may cause hair loss, but to make that claim as a factual and a scientific statement we need to get more research done on the subject at hand. 

To prove the link between creatine and hair loss we need to trust in our scientific community and give them enough time to prove that the pangolin is the one to blame, and not the bat (2020 baby!). 

Will Taking Creatine Cause Hair Loss?

Many people use creatine on a day to day basis. Creatine is one of the most used supplements in sports and is highly regarded with athletes as the best supplement to take for muscle growth and increased energy.

Muscles in your body respond well to creatine, but is that enough to push you to take creatine as a supplement? Are muscles more important than hair? Is hair loss a possible side effect of creatine intake?

Hair growth and hair loss research have not yet proven the link between creatine and losing your hair. 

What was proven is that, in some cases, creatine may influence the level of testosterone in your body. And one side effect of too much testosterone is that your hair follicles get smaller [4]. 

A spike of a hormone called DHT, for some people, causes hair loss. That is why it’s most important to get your doctor to approve any supplement that you decide to take. 

Many men, won’t have any problems whatsoever, but to combat possible negative side effects you should do your research and always check with your doctor because he just might share with you something that will save you from losing your hair.

New studies are published daily, and who better to inform you about them then the person whose job it is to do so.

People are also worried that creatine can cause weight gain. If you want to know more about this topic, take a look at this article.

The Bottom Line

Like with most things in life, there are always risks involved. You want to gain muscle mass faster? Then our advice to you would be to spend at least a day or two researching this topic. 

If you are using creatine, chances are you are using creatine monohydrate, which is the most popular type out there.

Look for some medically reviewed journals and talk with members of your family to see if you are prone to male pattern baldness before making any decisions about creatine.


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