If you’re a bit of a gym rat, then you’re the sort of person who takes pride in your appearance. Looking good and feeling strong are the reasons you spend hours each week building muscle, after all. Amongst people who are into fitness and bodybuilding, creatine supplements have become incredibly popular for their ability to enhance muscle strength and power. But what if these supplements were damaging your good looks? Alongside their widespread use, concerns have arisen about potential side effects. With many individuals noticing changes in their hair while taking creatine, it’s crucial to address the question: are creatine supplements causing hair loss?
Keep reading to find out more!
What is Creatine?
In terms of its chemistry, creatine is similar to amino acids. These are vital compounds that play an important role in the building of proteins. Your body produces creatine in your liver and kidneys using the amino acids glycine and arginine. That process accounts for about fifty per cent of the creatine stored in your body. The other half comes from your food intake, particularly from foods like red meat, fish and animal milk.
Creatine is all about energy production, particularly during high-intensity exercise. That’s why supplements are commonly used by athletes and fitness enthusiasts to improve performance, increase muscle mass and aid in muscle recovery.
How Does it Work?
In simple terms, creatine increases the amount of a molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) present in your system. ATP supplies energy to the cells in your body. It is the fuel that powers all the body’s functions.
When you’re burning energy during intense activities like gym workouts, running or competitive sports, your body requires all the ATP it can get – and then a little more. Creatine supplements build up your body’s phosphocreatine stores which are then able to produce more ATP when you’re pushing yourself to the limit.
Links to Hair Loss?
One study has been cited repeatedly as showing evidence of a direct link between creatine and hair loss. Published in 2009, the study claimed that creatine supplementation could be responsible for converting testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the hormone behind the most common type of hair loss, androgenetic alopecia. A more recent study, however, concluded that ‘the majority of available evidence does not support a link between creatine supplementation and hair loss/baldness.’
Neither of these studies provides the definitive answer to the question of a creatine-hair loss link, however. The first was based on a very small sample of participants, while the second was too closely associated with the creatine supplement industry to be viewed as truly independent. The truth is, there is a lack of conclusive evidence either way. More research is required.
Of course, one cannot simply dismiss the anecdotal reports that suggest a possible connection between creatine use and hair loss, but it’s essential to consider that other factors may be the real culprit in some cases. Hair loss has various causes, including genetics, hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies and certain medical conditions.
It’s also the case that some individuals may experience temporary hair shedding due to the hormonal fluctuations associated with intense exercise or changes in dietary patterns. This shedding, known as telogen effluvium, is a common condition that typically resolves on its own within a few months.
In short, pinpointing the exact cause of hair loss can be challenging. It’s essential to consider the broader context of an individual’s health and lifestyle before rushing to the conclusion that creatine supplementation is to blame.
On a positive note, the benefits and safety profile of creatine supplementation have been well documented. Creatine has been extensively studied and is considered safe for short- and long-term use when taken within recommended dosage guidelines. That said, people with diabetes, kidney or liver disease, and pregnant or breastfeeding women should consult their doctor before starting on a creatine supplementation course.
Current scientific evidence does not establish a clear link between creatine supplementation and hair loss. While some individuals undoubtedly experience hair-related changes while taking creatine, it is crucial to consider that other potential factors may be contributing to the hair loss. Maintaining a balanced diet, managing stress levels and seeking professional advice can help address concerns and identify appropriate solutions.
Remember, everyone’s body is unique, and what works for one person may not have the same effects on another. If you have specific concerns about hair loss, it’s always best to consult with a hair expert. Vinci Hair can help with that. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our specialists to all new clients. Consultations can take place in person at one of our many clinics or over the phone using photographs. Get in touch through our website or social media pages to book your appointment today!