Working out and doing highly intensive exercises can often lead you to feel tired and exhausted for long periods of time. It’s annoying and can often disrupt your plans, but it is something that gets better over time.
However, you may want to search for a short cut to more muscle mass and higher energy levels. After asking around the gym or talking to your personal trainer, you may think you have found the answer – creatine supplements.
This is a popular supplement taken by a lot of fitness enthusiasts, but nothing is perfect. You have probably been warned that creatine can cause hair loss – but is that true? Or is that just a piece of misinformation spread around like gossip?
Today, we are going to be looking at creatine and seeing if it actually does cause hair loss. This way, you will have all the important information you need to make the decision to try out (or not try out) creatine supplements.
What is Creatine?
Creatine is an organic compound known for helping replace energy in the cells of the brain and muscles.
It helps fight fatigue, builds your endurance and reduces your recovery time after a workout. This makes creatine a famous supplement used by lots of athletes for extra support in their work out.
Not only is it great for helping out with your energy levels, creatine is also used by a lot of athletes to help build muscle mass.
This makes it ideal for rugby and football players, but also with those wanting to build their body, or do weight training. Creatine can help improve your workout performance and increase your strength.
Your body already creates creatine but at very low levels. This is why a lot of athletes and bodybuilders take creatine supplements – to increase their levels of creatine to improve their physical performance and build up their muscles.
It is great for performing high-performance exercises and high level endurance exercises, so those who are seeking a highly intense workout routine will sometimes turn to creatine supplements to help them through.
However, with all these positive effects of taking creatine supplements, are there any negative side effects you should be aware of before you start taking them?
Does Creatine Cause Hair Loss?
You would assume that because creatine is a natural supplement and that your body already makes it naturally, that it would not have any negative side effects – but this is not the case.
Having high amounts of creatine in your body can lead to side effects and some can even take years before showing. Such examples include problems with water retention, nausea, heat intolerance, muscle cramping – and yes, hair loss.
Taking creatine supplements can lead to hair loss and early balding.
This is because taking creatine not only increases the level of creatine in your body, but also the level of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is a hormone that is formed from testosterone, a hormone that plays a huge role when it comes to muscle formation and body hair.
When you take creatine, you are speeding up the process in which testosterone is converted to DHT. This means that you end up with more DHT in your system than normal.
Increased levels of DHT speeds up the cycle of each hair follicle, meaning that your hair can fall out. Then, the hair follicle rushes through the cycle of hair growth, leading to thinner and weaker strands of hair that leads to hair loss over time.
So although it is not the creatine itself that causes hair loss, creatine indirectly increases the levels of DHT in your body which is responsible for speeding up the hair follicles’ growth cycle and causing your hair to thin and fall out over time.
Can Hair Grow Back After Taking Creatine?
The way creatine supplements cause hair loss is not just through making your hair fall out once.
Because your hair growth cycle is sped up thanks to the higher levels of DHT you now have, your hair follicles are rushing through making new strands of hair once the previous ones have fallen out.
These new strands of hair are weaker and more brittle, meaning that they are likely to fall out on their own or break or be damaged.
So, to stop this hair loss process, you would have to stop taking your creatine supplements and wait for your hair to grow back naturally.
Because your DHT levels will eventually slow down and return to normal, so should your hair growth cycle. You should be able to grow back strong and healthy strands of hair, and recover from your hair loss.
If you stop taking creatine and your hair does not grow back, this is most likely because you have a genetic condition that is related to male hair loss – such as male pattern hair loss or androgenic alopecia.
The reason why your hair won’t grow back is because you would have eventually been affected by this condition and by taking creatine supplements, you have caused it to start happening earlier on in your life.
Once this condition starts, it cannot stop – and you will not be able to grow back your hair. You can try some forms of hair regrowth treatment but they are not guaranteed to fix the problem.
So – does creatine cause hair loss?
Yes, taking creatine supplements can lead to eventual hair thinning and loss. This is because while creatine has a lot of positive effects on your body, it also inadvertently increases your levels of DHT.
DHT will cause your hair follicles to grow and push out strands of hair faster and faster, eventually leading to thinner and weaker strands of hair that are more likely to fall out and break.
To stop this, you can stop taking your creatine supplements and wait for your hair to grow back naturally.
However, creatine supplements can also cause genetic conditions like male pattern hair loss to accelerate and start happening earlier in your life, and this makes growing your hair back far more difficult.
So if you are worried about losing your hair while taking creatine supplements, you should weigh up the positives with the negatives and search your family history for any pattern of hair-loss related genetic conditions to see if you are likely to have inherited one.
This way, you can finally decide if creatine supplements are for you. Good luck!