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.