There is a lot of misinformation floating around in relation to health supplements, like Creatine. There are many holistic benefits of Creatine beyond fitness and the gym, but are there negative impacts or side-effects to be aware of? For example, is there any correlation or connection between Creatine and hair loss that users should be made aware of?
If you supplement with Creatine- or are considering it- here is what you need to know:
Creatine is an amino acid that is naturally made in the body’s pancreas, liver, and kidneys, but at a very low rate. You can also get Creatine from the food that you eat, red meats- like beef and lamb- and seafood are rich in this nutrient. Therefore, many people choose to buy Creatine supplements, commonly in powder or capsule form. The true benefit of Creatine is how it facilitates the recycling of ATP, or Adenosine Triphosphate, in your muscles as well as the brain.
Athletes use Creatine for its impact on athletic performance. With regular use, Creatine can improve muscle mass, strength, endurance, and recovery- so you feel less sore after a strenuous activity or training session.
Interestingly enough, some other uses for Creatine have little to nothing to do with athletic performance or exercise. For example, Creatine is often used to treat brain issues, congestive heart failure, and neuromuscular conditions. Creatine may also be used topically- like in a lotion or cream- to treat the effects of aging on the skin and, essentially, turn back the hands of time dermatologically.
Benefits of Taking Creatine
So, why would anyone want to take Creatine supplements in the first place? If you are familiar with training and supplementation, you know the reasons why! Creatine offers many holistic health and wellness advantages that extend far outside the gym or weight-room.
Consider this bounty of benefits when deciding if Creatine makes sense for you:
- Creatine increases the level of energy in your muscle cells. Creatine produces the energy that you need, speeding up the phosphocreatine stores’ production of ATP, enhancing your overall physical and mental performance.
- Creatine improves overall muscle mass in the body. Creatine increases the rate at which muscles are formed while decreasing levels of the hormone myostatin, which could actually lower your muscle mass.
- Creatine helps give you stamina for high-intensity exercise and workouts. With the increase in ATP, Creatine improves the body’s overall strength, endurance, recovery, energy, and even brain function. It has been studied and shown that Creatine can improve your performance by about 15%, on average.
- If you suffer from Parkinson’s Disease, Creatine may help with the symptoms and severity of the disease. Since Parkinson’s disease is caused by decreased dopamine levels, Creatine helps to recover and restore dopamine. This helps alleviate and lessen the tremors, speech impairments, loss of muscle control, and deterioration of brain cells that are symptoms of this disease. Studies have shown that Creatine can increase dopamine in mice with this condition by about 90%- but research is still relatively new.
- Do you live with diabetes? Creatine may reduce blood sugar, while also preventing it from entering muscle- all good news for anyone that is diabetic.
- It is surprising, but true: Creatine improves brain function and cognition. Additionally, Creatine can help with certain neurological conditions that can impact the brain. Creatine helps with concentration, memory, and overall intellect.
- Creatine may also help combat chronic fatigue. It can aid in recovery for the body following rigorous training, so it feels better, faster.
As with any health regimen, it is helpful to consult with your own providers before beginning new routines, like taking supplements. This ensures that there are no interactions with any medications that you currently take, as well as provides an opportunity to ask questions and learn more.
Potential Side- Effects of Creatine
The body makes Creatine naturally in the body at a rate of about a gram per day, which is why many choose to supplement. When taken as directed, most Creatine users experience little to nothing in terms of side-effects, but if you have high amounts of Creatine in your system by taking more than the recommended dosages or when taking for prolonged periods of five years or more- there are some effects that you may experience, including:
- Water retention
- Muscle cramps
- Weight gain
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Intolerance to heat
- Hair loss
Yes- Creatine can contribute to or cause hair loss. There are also some genetic factors and underlying medical conditions that can make you more susceptible to or likely to lose your hair, and Creatine could increase the potential. If you have questions regarding your risk-factors for hair loss, talk to your provider or physician to learn more.
Creatine and Hair Loss
So, can Creatine cause or contribute to premature hair loss? As a matter of fact, Creatine can cause hair loss- particularly if you use more than recommended of this supplement, or you take Creatine for a prolonged period of time, typically over five years. Creatine is less of a cause of hair loss than it is part of the process- as Creatine increases the level of an enzyme in the body that impacts hormones. DHT or Dihydrotestosterone is the enzyme responsible for hair loss when the levels are altered and is created from testosterone. The increased rate of DHT production leads to weak and brittle hair; weaker hair strands break down causing premature hair loss in those with higher levels of Creatine in their body.
Furthermore, you could also see a correlation between supplementing with Creatine and premature hair loss if you happen to also have genetic predispositions. That is, if your parents lost their hair early, you probably will too. High levels of DHT can increase the likelihood that you will also lose your hair if you decide to supplement with Creatine, particularly over a prolonged course of time. Consider your own genetic markers and family traits to determine if this is a concern to you when contemplating Creatine supplementation.
What can you do?
There are a few things that you can do if you are experiencing hair loss as a result of Creatine supplementation– or other reason. Everyone manages hair loss differently- and some methods could be more or less effective for you than others.
Many people turn to procedures like scalp micropigmentation; scalp micropigmentation is a non-surgical process that involves adding a natural coloring or pigment into the skin of the scalp. The dermal layer of the scalp can be shaded to appear cohesive and covered with hair.
Certainly, you have other hair restoration options, as well, including hair transplantation. The best approach to finding a solution for your hair loss is to speak first with your own provider or doctor, and then to a hair restoration professional to find out more.
It may be warranted that you discontinue supplementation during this time to mitigate hair loss- or to assess whether it has any impact on your hair loss.
Commonly Asked Questions About Creatine and Hair Loss
Does Creatine accelerate hair loss?
Creatine can accelerate hair loss among regular users as it increases the production of an enzyme and hormones that contribute to hair loss. Creatine is often used to optimize workouts and muscle gains; thus it also increases testosterone. Increased testosterone in men is linked to hair loss.
Can Taurine prevent you from losing your hair?
Taurine has been shown to improve the texture and density of hair, while also helping to curb hair loss. Talk to your provider about the pros and cons of supplementing with Taurine.
Is there a correlation between Creatine and hair loss?
Creatine increases the production of an enzyme that causes hormonal hair loss- so yes, there is a correlation. It would be unfair to say that Creatine solely causes premature hair loss among adults, but it can increase DHT production, which contributes to hair loss. Studies show a connection.
Does whey protein and Creatine cause hair loss?
Whey protein and Creatine can contribute to hair loss but are rarely the sole reason. Genetics can increase your susceptibility to premature hair loss, too. Whey protein and Creatine increase hormones in the body that cause hair loss- thus they may increase the chances of it occurring. Whey protein often gets blamed for side-effects like hair loss but has not been shown to contribute to this condition, clinically.
Do hair loss supplements work?
Whether or not hair supplements are effective, and work varies from person to person. There is no clinical data to support the efficacy of specific vitamins for hair growth or to prevent hair loss, but since hair health is impacted by holistic wellness, deficiencies in diet and nutrients can greatly affect your hair. Taking supplements is one way to improve the quality of your hair, and to facilitate hair growth.
You already know the many reasons why people choose to supplement with Creatine, including more muscle, more strength, and improved athletic performance. Now you also understand the correlation between Creatine and hair loss. Use Creatine products as directed and talk to your trainer, provider, or practitioner if you have questions, concerns, or would like to learn more.