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Is There a Connection between Creatine and Hair Loss?

By Jodee Redmond
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Creatine and hair loss are definitely related. Bodybuilders and serious athletes who use creatine as a supplement can expect to experience this side effect. Using creatine regularly causes Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels in the body to increase. Heightened levels of this naturally-occurring hormone lead to changes in the hair growth cycle and the condition of the follicles, which either interferes with normal growth patterns or the size of the hair follicles themselves.

The muscles of the body naturally contain a certain level of creatine. The food that a person eats is converted to creatine by the liver and kidneys. The creatine is made up of three amino acids, known as arginine, glycine and methionine. Creatine is used as fuel by the body when it has depleted the energy it gets from the food being consumed by an individual. Bodybuilders and others who want to increase their muscle mass may ingest creatine to help them get the nutrients they need to reach this goal, and they should be aware of the relationship between creatine and hair loss.

The issue with higher levels of creatine in the body is that it causes changes in the hair follicles. To have a healthy head of hair, the scalp must be able to provide nutrients to the follicles. The connection between hair loss and creatine means that higher than usual levels of DHT cause the follicles to shrink in size. As a result, the hair doesn’t receive the vitamins, minerals and proteins it needs for a healthy appearance. The hair may grow more slowly than usual due to this lack of nutrients or it may become brittle and break easily.

Creatine and hair loss are also connected in a different manner. When DHT levels are higher than usual, they can cause the hair follicles to become narrower over time. Narrow follicles restrict nutrients reaching the hair shaft, which eventually leads to fall out. Increased DHT levels also leads to a build-up of a waxy material at the base of the hair shaft, which attracts dirt and leads to blockage of the hair follicles. This waxy material leads to baldness in men and women.

The relationship between creatine and hair loss is well known among athletes. Some studies have noted that this side effect of creatine use can start presenting after using it for about one week. Anyone interested in using this product should carefully weigh the benefits against the inconvenience and change in appearance that hair loss will produce before deciding to use this supplement.

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Discussion Comments
By anon993895 — On Dec 27, 2015

There are some guys that claim it caused hair loss online. Looks pretty convincing, but not sure what to believe.

By literally45 — On Mar 29, 2013

@SarahGen-- Creatine doesn't cause hair loss, but it accelerates it because it encourages testosterone production. Testosterone is also the reason why steroids lead to hair loss. So, yes, they are definitely connected.

By SarahGen — On Mar 29, 2013

@alisha-- I'm a bodybuilder and I've only come across one study about creatine and hair loss and it was a short term study with a lot of shortcomings. I don't think it's right to conclude that creatine will cause hair loss based on one single study.

Bodybuilders are more likely to lose hair if they're using steroids. Men also start losing hair after a certain age based on genetics. So those who are experiencing hair loss while taking creatine supplements are probably experiencing it due to one of these other reasons.

For now, unless I see more studies with the same results, I believe there is a strong connection between creatine and hair loss.

By discographer — On Mar 28, 2013
I've just recently started lifting weights and my trainer recommended that I add some bulk creatine to my protein shake for better results. But he didn't mention the side effects of creatine. I had no idea until now that it can cause hair loss! I think I'm going to have to re-consider it.

After how long does hair loss begin when supplementing with creatine?

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