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Does Creatine Cause Hair Loss?


A woman is looking at her hairline in the mirror, concerned about hair loss.

After publishing "10 Reasons Why You Might Want to Try Creatine: It's Not Just About Muscles!" I received a thoughtful question from a female reader and client: Could there be a link between creatine and hair loss? Up until that point, the most common question I'd encountered revolved around creatine's potential to cause puffiness from water retention. Personally, I've never experienced this side effect.


I recognize the significance of providing accurate health information, so I delved deep into the connection between creatine and hair loss. For full transparency, I've listed my references at the end of this post.


Creatine expressed in scientific form

But before we dive in, let's briefly review what creatine is.


Creatine is a naturally occurring compound found in our muscles, aiding them in energy production during workouts. Today, we're focusing on the supplemental form of creatine.


The notion that creatine could contribute to hair loss originates from a 2009 study involving young male rugby players. The study observed an increase in dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels following three weeks of creatine supplementation. DHT, derived from testosterone, impacts hair growth by binding to hair follicle receptors. High DHT levels can shorten the hair growth cycle, resulting in finer and shorter hairs, and possibly increased shedding.


However, it's essential to emphasize that this study only reported a minor increase in DHT levels. It didn't establish a direct link between creatine intake and hair loss. Much of the narrative connecting creatine to hair loss is based on personal accounts.


So, where do women stand in this discussion?


Does Creatine Cause Hair Loss In Women?

A pretty woman in a ponytail is doing a Cable Face Pull exercise in the weight room.

Since women generally have lower testosterone levels, their DHT levels are correspondingly low. The majority of studies examining creatine's effect on testosterone didn't observe significant hormonal changes. While it's prudent to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any supplement, current research suggests that women shouldn't be overly concerned about creatine and hair loss.


For men, it's a bit different. They produce DHT and testosterone continuously. Genetics can predispose some men to hair loss, especially if they possess specific gene variations that increase hair follicle sensitivity to DHT.


Let's also consider health conditions like PCOS in women, which can elevate hair loss risks due to increased androgen levels. Some women with PCOS deal with associated challenges like acne and hirsutism (unwanted hair growth in areas such as the face).


In conclusion, while concrete evidence linking creatine to hair loss is absent, it's always beneficial to stay informed. If you're genetically predisposed to hair loss, discussing with your doctor before taking creatine is advisable.


And a final reminder: If you're noticing significant hair loss, always consult a physician to determine its cause and the best course of action.

Someone is scooping out a scoop of Thorne Research's creatine monohydrate powder.

If you're uncertain about which brand of creatine to try, I've listed ConsumerLab's Top Picks below. It's crucial to remember that the supplement industry is not strictly regulated. Therefore, relying on third-party evaluations to ensure the product contents match their label claims is essential.

Here are some highly-rated options:

 

References:



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