Many people question whether creatine causes hair loss. Could this product, so widely used by hypertrophy seekers, cause baldness? People have many doubts about the side effects of various supplements used in weight training.
It is known that some can increase the level of cardiac activity, others cause extreme sweating. But, something that afflicts many men, whether experienced bodybuilders or beginners in high-performance exercise practices is whether Creatine causes hair loss.
For this reason, in this article, we go deeply into this topic to satisfy all your doubts. After all, it is not difficult to find in the forum of many sites specialized in bodybuilding the doubt about whether Creatine is really causing, or aggravating, baldness. Therefore, we invite you to read the article carefully!
HOW DOES CREATINE WORK?
Creatine works by mimicking the action of the natural substance on the muscle. By ingesting it as a supplement, we force the body to use that surplus that did not exist before.
Creatine improves muscle strength by up to 10%. It was observed that this effect is greater in weight lifting gymnasts and because their muscles work in that direction.
For other modalities, the data is more dispersed and smaller. Experts estimate that muscle strength in the pectorals increases up to 5% with consumption and the corresponding exercise. For lower limbs, the increase would be 8%.
Its use has been investigated in many sports and exercises. Studies were also carried out to find out if creatine was able to increase intellectual capacity. Overall, the results showed some degree of decreased mental fatigue, but no increase in capacity in that area.
Creatine causes hair loss? Scientific studies
Much of the knowledge we have today about most of the advances in science is based on scientific studies.
These studies, published in the form of articles, may now offer a review on a topic, always seeking to establish debates between the ideas of various authors.
At other times, they serve to present new and original data about something with little information.
Experts obtain this data through several experimental studies that they conduct, from the basis of a hypothesis to be tested.
Thus, we build our knowledge. In the area of bodybuilding, there are several studies on supplements and their effects.
Where did the story come from that Creatine causes hair loss?
Exactly from a scientific study.
An article, published in 2009, that closely followed 20 Rugby players who took Creatine pointed out that this supplement affected the level of DHT in the body.
This study is called, in the free translation into Portuguese: “3 weeks of creatine monohydrate supplementation affects dihydrotestosterone in the testosterone ratio in college age rugby players”.
The experiment was conducted as follows:
The first group consume creatine – 25 grams / day in the first week and 5 grams / day in the following two weeks;
The second group used only placebo.
It is important to emphasize that the study in question is of the double blind type, that is, neither the researcher nor the players knew who was taking what.
This is done in order to avoid bias in both, which may compromise the final result.
What was proved in this sample is that the first group demonstrated an increase in the level of DHT in the order of 56% in the first week – the saturation period. This number dropped to 40% in the following two weeks, where maintenance was only done. But let us now understand the relationship between DHT and hair loss.
DHT and Baldness
Creatine causes hair loss is the type of information that “scares” anyone who wants to start supplementation.
However, our proposal is to clarify this fact. So let’s understand what DHT is.
DHT, also known as dihydrotestosterone, is nothing more than a steroid and androgenic hormone (that is, it is associated with more prevalent characteristics in males).
People use creatine widely in sports, especially in gym exercises to gain muscle mass. But many who use it have raised doubts about the possibility of causing hair loss.
Creatine is, in essence, an amino acid. That is, it is the raw material with which the human body can form proteins. In its natural state, it is found in the body’s muscle tissue and actively participates in contraction, intervening in energy processes.
Michel Chevreul discovered amino acids in 1882. Obviously, his discovery had nothing to do with commercial use, which started much later, exploding in the 1990s. In those years, people started to be postulate that ingested creatine could increase the amount of creatine within the muscle.
Experience has shown that, in a way, there is an effect of creatine on muscle mass. In addition, it is possibly capable of increasing muscle strength, albeit progressively and not magically.
In sports, its use has become extremely popular. Countries with high volumes of substance use can sell millions of pounds in one year. Among athletes, several surveys recorded up to 40% frequency of use.
THE POSSIBLE MECHANISM BY WHICH CREATINE CAUSES HAIR LOSS
If we maintain the physiology of how creatine would be able to cause hair loss, we would find the explanation in testosterone. This assuming that the majority of baldness is androgenic alopecia, that is, it occurs in men because of the hormone in question.
In a man’s body, testosterone converts to dihydrotestosterone and weakens hair follicles. Not in all men, but in those who are born with a genetic predisposition for baldness. Dihydrotestosterone does not have the same effect.
Therefore, by increasing muscle strength, creatine would cause hair loss, stimulating increased production of dihydrotestosterone. Once again we emphasize, only in those individuals with sensitive genetics.
WHY CAN’T WE CONCLUDE THAT CREATINE CAUSES HAIR LOSS?
We cannot conclusively conclude that creatine causes hair loss. The study that updated the doubt does not meet all the requirements to consider it definitive. Of its methodology, it has only twenty participants.
In addition, differences in the concentration of dihydro-testosterone between consumers and non-creatine users must be significant to give effect. In the study, the difference was only 0.30 nanomoles. This is an insignificant amount.
On the other hand, rigorous scientific studies consider multiple variables. In the one that generated the doubt about creatine, we do not know if the effect would be only in rugby players or in other sports, because we do not know the specific and specific training that the subjects performed.
In conclusion, it is more accurate to say that creatine does not cause hair loss alone and in isolation, but it could do so in genetically predisposed individuals. These individuals would be men with a congenital predisposition to baldness. Even so, it is difficult to know if they would not suffer from alopecia because of their genetics, regardless of creatine consumption.