Preventing Hair Loss While Taking Creatine

Are you an athlete who is currently taking the compound known as creatine? It is a very convenient substance to have to improve one’s physical and cognitive performance, which is why so many people take it. Creatine is a legal alternative to substances that allow an athlete to push their limits and perform their best. However, there are some health concerns about creatine, which mainly involves hair loss and hair thinning.

If you’ve ever taken or considered taking creatine supplementation, you may have heard about how the substance can lead to hair fall and hair loss. Thus, many people have feared that taking a creatine supplement may have significant consequences on one’s appearance. Fortunately, there are ways that this could be prevented and treated, which we are going to talk about in this article. We also need to talk about the spreading information about how creatine causes hair loss and analyze its legitimacy. But first, let’s discuss the compound itself. 

How Does Creatine Affect The Body?

creatine for bodybuilders
Photo credits; Kate Trysh

Creatine is actually a natural compound that can be found within our bodies. You can usually obtain creatine by consuming specific proteins, specifically those from fish and other types of meat. Higher amounts of creatine, especially if it is taken directly as opposed to relying on the protein of the meat that we eat, can improve our bodily functions. 

🗣️ Boosting body performance

Creatine can help with our cell’s energy-related functions, specifically with Adenosine triphosphate or ATP, which is essentially a cell’s battery. This means a cell can improve its functions much faster with more efficiency in energy use. 

In the case of one cell, this may seem minuscule as a boost in a single cell can’t possibly improve the body’s performance as a whole. However, if you take into account the various coordinated functions of combined boosted cells, this can allow you to perform better both physically and mentally.

🗣️ Athlete’s energizer

This compound is commonly used by athletes who require physical and mental awareness. It is especially prevalent in coordinated competitive sports that involve cooperating with others. Besides being a booster to an athlete’s performance, creatine is also used along with placebo medications to treat various mental conditions such as depression. 

Because of its energy-conserving effects, creatine can allow an athlete to train for more extended periods. The athlete can do this while preventing muscle cramps and fatigue. It is also the same case for mentally straining tasks. This is when creatine can serve as a form of energy source to avoid mental fatigue and burnout. Creatine has also been shown to keep people awake for more extended periods because more energy can be accessed by the brain. 

🗣️ Muscle growth

For bodybuilders, they may also use creatine to help aid in muscle growth. Creatine supplementation can promote growth hormones during strenuous physical activities. This can help muscles become more built easier and strengthen the skeletal muscle. Combined with the energy it provides, it will surely benefit those who go to the gym regularly to induce more muscle strength.

🗣️ Mood stabilizer

It was also seen that creatine use could boost a person’s mood by promoting the production of dopamine. There are even times when experts have stated that increased dopamine and creatine levels can also prevent diabetes. This is by inhibiting the entry of sugar molecules into our muscle cells. Creating is truly a performance-boosting substance; there is no doubt about that. 

Side Effects Of Taking Too Much Creatine

However, there are some detrimental side effects that you should be aware of before taking creatine:

🗣️ Dehydration

Creatine, as a dietary supplement, can cause water retention within our bodies, leading to dehydration. Strenuous activity and excessive sweating while training can also contribute to the loss of fluids and electrolytes. Every athlete knows that constant hydration is vital during training, especially if they are taking creatine. If you take the substance for other reasons, you should also remember to hydrate constantly.

🗣️ Sudden weight changes 

Creatine can also affect your digestion and metabolism. The effects can range from minor inconveniences such as bloating or changes in your bowel movement to sudden changes in weight. It depends on your metabolism, creatine can cause weight loss or weight gain abruptly.

🗣️ Long-term damage to vital organs 

Using creatine as a long-term supplement can negatively affect your liver and kidney. Creatine is an amino acid which is known to cause kidney stones. This is primarily due to the accumulation of the substance in the body, which the kidney attempts to remove. You may also damage the liver due to the high amounts of creatine in the body for extended periods.

Now that we have discussed the side effects, it begs the question: Is hair loss also one of these side effects?

Correlation Of Creatine And Hair

hairloss because of creatine
Photo credits: Kalhh

Creatine is not only known to promote the production of growth hormones, but it also increases the amount of Dihydrotestosterone or DHT in your body. DHT is a hormone that is processed from testosterone, which is the primary sex hormone in males. Basically, DHT is a more processed, more functional form of testosterone. This means the more you have of it, the more you will notice signs of what is considered biologically masculine, including excessive body hair.

🗣️ DHT fluctuations

The more of the DHT hormones you have, the more body hair you will notice. That is a good thing, right? Not necessarily, as more DHT can lead to hair loss. DHT works by promoting hair growth cycles. This means more DHT equals more growth cycles happening within a certain period of time. However, due to the fast cycles of hair growth, the hair that will be grown out of your follicles will not be processed correctly.

Imagine planting in a field of crops while attempting to speed up the process. Of course, the products will not be as big or thick as opposed to just waiting for them to grow fully. The same logic applies to hair follicles, but this time, the hair will start growing in thinner portions. This is due to the constant cycle it follows. Your hair follicles will operate at a degree where quantity is better than the quality of the hair, thus causing eventual thinning and hair loss.

🗣️ Does Creatine cause hair loss?

So the answer to the main question is yes; creatine does indirectly cause hair loss by increasing DHT production. For a few uses of creatine, the effects may not even be noticeable at all. However, long-term usage can eventually cause hair loss in several cases. 

How To Protect Yourself From Hair Loss While Taking Creatine

There are some methods that can limit or even prevent the effects of hair loss while taking creatine:

🗣️ Taking Biotin

Biotin should be one of your most effective choices when it comes to dealing with hair loss caused by creatine. It is able to suppress DHT from entering your hair follicles, thus promoting the natural hair growth cycle. You can obtain Biotin by eating organ meat, fish, egg yolk, certain nuts like walnuts, and some fruits like bananas. 

However, you have to make sure you have no allergies or conditions that don’t allow you to eat these. There are also supplements that contain a daily dosage of biotin that you can buy. However, this option may hurt your budget as some brands can sit at a high price. Just be sure that you take one that has approval from your local FDA.

🗣️ Light Therapy

Light therapy is one of the proven methods of blocking DHT and promoting hair growth. However, this therapy can become pricey, and it may not be suitable for everyone. It works by allowing the cells in your scalp to take in light and use that energy to speed up the regeneration process in your hair. 

🗣️ Finasteride

Another trusted supplement when it comes to inhibiting DHT is to prevent hair loss. However, the suppression of DHT may get too extreme to the point where the men who will take it may experience symptoms of low testosterone, such as the formation of male breasts (gynecomastia). It may also affect women, especially those who are pregnant, by suppressing the male hormones that their possibly male fetus needs. 

🗣️ Consulting Your Dermatologist

It is one of the most effective methods to prevent hair loss while taking creatine. Your dermatologist will be the one to know about your current dermal health status and what will be the most suitable approach for you to combat hair loss. It may be pricey at times, but it is the safest and most effective way as you will be able to work with a trained professional. 

Should You Take Creatine When You Have Alopecia?

If you have alopecia or hair loss right now, it is very important to decide the creatine. You may consult your dermatologist regarding this matter, as your condition will worsen because of creatine. The best approach is to find a way to treat your alopecia first, which may take a long, but it is the most effective way to prevent regression. But how about those who don’t have alopecia but are prone to getting the said condition? 

🗣️ Genetic-based

If your family tree has a history of alopecia or hair loss, then chances are you are also prone to the condition. You must consider following our tips listed above to combat the possible hair loss as much as possible. You will not always be a victim of alopecia just because some of your family members have it, as environmental factors will also play. 

🗣️ Hormonal-based

The thing is, some people have naturally high levels of DHT, which creatine can further elevate. So it is essential to see if you already have signs of high DHT, such as acne or thinning hair around your temples. However, the best thing to conclude this suspicion is to consult a dermatologist to find out how suitable you are for creatine. 

And if you’re in your late 40s, you can click this link to know if you are at risk of baldness.

Bottom Line 

Creatine is an ever-reliable compound and is currently one of the most used substances for athletic purposes. However, one must take precautions to prevent one of its detrimental side effects that may take away a part of what makes them themselves. 

Following these tips can allow you to prevent hair loss from taking creatine and prevent existing hair loss from worsening due to the compound. You must have a dermatologist regarding this matter as well, especially if you genuinely want to take extra steps for your hairline.