Does Creatine Cause Hair Loss? Side Effects And Prevention

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Shruti Chavan, MBBS
By Arshiya Syeda

Creatine is a popular performance-enhancing supplement. Athletes use this supplement to get an instant burst of energy. However, some believe that Creatine causes hair loss. What is the truth? Keep reading to discover the association between Creatine and hair health, and if there is anything you should be worried about.

What Is Creatine?

Creatine is a molecule produced by amino acids. It is primarily found in the muscles and brain. The molecule aids the different chemical processes in our body, including providing energy for muscle contractions. It is formulated in the liver, kidney, and pancreas and is stored in the body’s muscles. The creatine in the muscles helps boost strength and energy for our daily activities (1).

Its performance-enhancing benefits have made creatine a favorite amongst sports professionals and athletes as a health supplement. It provides energy and strength for activities like high-intensity training, weight lifting, and running. Creatine supplements are also believed to help increase recovery time after exercise.

The supplement is safe for use for those with medications. However, those with underlying kidney problems should avoid creatine as it may cause or aggravate kidney damage (2).

Does Creatine Cause Hair Loss?

No scientific studies state that creatine causes hair loss. Most of the available evidence is purely anecdotal.

However, a 2009 study done on college rugby players showed an increase in the levels of a hormone (DHT, or dihydrotestosterone) after 3 weeks of creatine supplementation (3).

How does DHT factor into this context? Is it associated with hair loss? Let us explore in the following section.

How Does DHT Relate To Hair Loss?

DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, is a hormone responsible for developing androgenic characteristics in men (4). DHT helps in the development of traits like deep voice, body hair, and increased muscle mass and bone strength.

Increased levels of DHT in the body may cause hair loss if you have a genetic tendency towards baldness. The excess DHT in the body can freely flow through your bloodstream and link to the receptors in the scalp. Excess levels of DHT may lead to the miniaturization of the hair follicles and lead to hair loss. DHT imbalance in men could also cause androgenic alopecia (5)

Does The Hair Grow Back?

Regular intake of creatine may cause an imbalance of DHT in the body (3). Hair, once lost, may not grow back without a proper hair regrowth treatment.

Though studies are limited, creatine seems to indirectly cause hair loss. The hair loss is especially pronounced in those sensitive to DHT and have a genetic tendency towards hair loss. But how can you prevent the same?

How To Prevent Hair Loss Due To Creatine

Regular creatine intake, as we saw, could lead to DHT imbalance. This can cause the hair to become weak and prone to breakage. The best way to prevent this is by reducing your creatine intake.

Additionally, you can also massage your scalp regularly to boost blood circulation. Adequate rest also helps in this regard. Consult a dermatologist to identify the root cause. Your doctor may prescribe topical applications like peptides or minoxidil. Increasing the dietary intake of protein, minerals, and amino acids can also help.

If you smoke, you may want to quit that habit as well.

When To Consult A Doctor

Consult a doctor if you are experiencing severe hair loss for any reason. Conditions like a sudden loss of a large amount of hair or patchy hair loss require immediate medical attention.

Apart from causing potential hair loss, creatine has other possible adverse effects.

Side Effects Of Creatine

  • Weight Gain: Various studies have shown that oral intake of creatine can cause water retention in the body, resulting in temporary weight gain (6), (7). This water retention may interfere with an athlete’s ability to swim or run. Further, it may also lead to the dangers of dehydration in the body.
  • Kidney Damage: Those with pre-existing kidney issues may have a risk of kidney dysfunction with the use of creatine supplements (2).
  • Parkinson’s Disease: Research shows that intake of creatine along with caffeine results in a rapid progression of Parkinson’s disease (8). Hence, those at risk of Parkinson’s disease should refrain from taking caffeine and creatine together. They also are recommended to consult their doctor before taking creatine or caffeine.

Key Takeaways

  • Creatinine is a performance-boosting supplement that may result in hair loss.
  • While it boosts your strength, endurance, and recovery time after strenuous exercises, it might bring about certain hormonal changes leading to hair fall and loss.
  • In such cases, keeping your creatinine intake to a minimum and consulting a doctor can help get your hair back in its natural texture and volume.

To recap, creatine boosts energy and strength, which is why athletes take it as a supplement. While it is mostly safe, it should be avoided if you have kidney problems. No scientific data suggests that creatine causes hair loss directly. However, it may cause an increase in the DHT hormone, which is known to cause hair loss. While the studies done on creatine and its link to hair loss are limited, it is safe to suggest that if you notice hair fall after taking creatine, you may want to discontinue the supplement. Consult a doctor for a proper medical diagnosis and treatment options.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does creatine monohydrate or creatine hydrochloride cause hair loss?

There is no research proving that creatine monohydrate or creatine hydrochloride causes hair loss. But should you experience hair loss with any of the supplements, stop use, and consult your doctor.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Check out our editorial policy for further details.
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Arshiya Syeda is an editor at StyleCraze. Prior to that, she was a content writer and combined her writing and... more

Dr. Shruti Chavan

(MBBS)
Dr. Shruti Chavan is a consulting dermatologist at Dr.Sheth's Skin and Hair Clinic since 6 years. She is a co-committee... more

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