T Nation

Creatine and Hair Loss


#1

Hey guys,

I had read that by taking creatine it can increase DHT which contributes to male pattern baldness. I was just wondering if you guys have any experience with this or not. The men in my mom’s side of the family have balding but my dad’s side of the family have their full hair. I have always had a fear of losing my hair, and at 22 I’m hesitant to take creatine due to this but I would like to take it for the benefits it adds to training.

Thoughts?


#2

It seems to be all based off this one study that found creatine may increase hair loss via DHT increases. Do you have a receding hairline already? Do you have any brothers that are experiencing it? My understanding from this is that you will only lose hair if you were going to lose it anyways.


#3

[quote]Drice21 wrote:
It seems to be all based off this one study that found creatine may increase hair loss via DHT increases. Do you have a receding hairline already? Do you have any brothers that are experiencing it? My understanding from this is that you will only lose hair if you were going to lose it anyways.[/quote]
I don’t have any brothers due to being an only child unfortunately, but my hair line grows to a point, or a widow’s peek I guess some would refer it as. I don’t remember if I’ve always had it, or if it started when I got into high school, but I only noticed it when I would buzz my hair real short in high school.


#4

If I were you I would just take the creatine. There’s so much research about the benefits of taking it and so little research about hair loss. If you end up balding just learn to embrace it since it was coming anyways. I have a receding hairline courtesy of my father and I’ve just come to terms with it.


#5

If you were going bald you would notice some degree of recession from your hairline at the time of highschool until now already. It really only affects people who have (Male Pattern Baldness) MPB already triggered. Which means you may carry the gene for it and never go bald. However if the process hasn’t even started yet, you are fine in regards to creatine.

I mean if you have not noticed any significant changes to the crown of your head, or hairline since you were seventeen you are probably not going to be dealing with MPB in your lifetime either. It is an extremely SLOW process that starts to show in people’s late teens to early 20’s, it can always happen later too but it is not as common. DHT is a very a helpful androgen MPB effects aside.


#6

I’ve heard this anecdotally too but the fact is hard training, diet, and various supplements can also boost your T levels - which could in turn increase your DHT. If your scalp is sensitive to DHT then arguably you will loose your hair faster than, say, if you were an untrained average Joe. There are things you can do naturally to try and prolong your hair life if you are really concerned.

I personally never noticed hair loss until I was 30. By 33 it was becoming noticeable to others. You are 10 years younger so you may be fine for a while yet.


#7

Just an FYI if anyone is interested - Female creatine user here.

The possibility of hair loss scared me a bit. I have NOT noticed hair thinning in myself. When you think about how women naturally have androgen hormones, including DHT, but to a MUCH lesser extent than men, this probably isn’t surprising.

I’ve been searching and haven’t found ANY mention of hair loss as a side effect in women. Found a few female specific articles in places like Oxygen Mag, and Fitness RX for Women. There are fewer studies of women using creatine.

I did find a GREAT article if anyone is interested, “Creatine for Women” by Cassandra Forsythe and Jen Heath. It’s dated 2010, so not super recent, but it does talk about performance and muscle gains in women and cites some female specific studies.


#8

Look dude, if you’re gonna lose your hair, there aint a thing you can do about it. Is your mom’s dad bald? If so, you’re fucked. Learn to love the razor before you look like a comb-over asshat.

  • Young bald guy

#9

I dont see how creatine could have any effect on baldness.

I say take creatine and just expect to be bald. You will look great bald with a killer physique.


#10

I’ve never heard or read that creatine increases testosterone or DHT and don’t see a physiological mechanism by which it would. You can take propecia if it agrees with you. I take it and have not experienced gyno or observed any performance, sexual or other side effects. Free testosterone and other markers also remain high per bloodwork. Some have reported adverse effects. I’d be interested in hearing what some of the experts here think about minimizing DHT via medications like finasteride, given the controversy.


#11

[quote]Drice21 wrote:
It seems to be all based off this one study that found creatine may increase hair loss via DHT increases. Do you have a receding hairline already? Do you have any brothers that are experiencing it? My understanding from this is that you will only lose hair if you were going to lose it anyways.[/quote]

Right. Doing a little digging, it seems that claims that creatine increases DHT and might lead to baldness are based on a single study of South African rugby players. The findings are statistically significant but leave a lot to be desired. There was an initial 56% increase in DHT in a creatine group as compared to a control group during an initial 1 week loading phase. Total DHT level of the subjects during the loading phase still did not even reach the 50% mark of the normal DHT reference range for men. A maintenance phase followed the 7 day loading phase, during which time DHT levels in the creatine group promptly dropped tclose to that of the control group, which took a placebo. 1.38nmol/L vs. 1.26 nmol/L for creatine vs. placebo.

The study did NOT identify any physiological mechanism by which creatine (itself a non-hormonal substance) would increase DHT. Increased DHT levels in the creatine group could well be a secondary response to increased training loads and an ameliorative effect creatine elicts on androgen suppressible effects of overtraining. But even taking the study at face value, there is little reason to think that creatine would preferentially promote hair loss given that the levels of DHT in the creatine group quickly dropped to a level only marginally greater than the control group after the 7 day loading phase and stayed in the low range of normal DHT for the creatine group even during loading. There haven’t been any studies (observational or otherwise) I’m aware of that actually identified the outcome marker (baldness) to be higher in creatine users than non-users.


#13

I always found the impacts on immune system health more questionable with creatine, then the sped up process of MPB.


#14

lol, yes i have been taking creatine for years now on and off without any issues with balding! If you expect it then there atlas won’t be any surprises!


#15

If you are worried about it why bother? It isn’t a miracle supplement. Might as well keep your hair. IMO.