Updated: Oct 12
Creatine can raise the levels of Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which can lead to scalp hair thinning and hair loss. It seems that creatine could have the potential to cause hair loss.
Creatine is very well studied and is recognised as safe to take with few adverse effects. However, some research has suggested that creatine could raise DHT levels.
DHT is a form of androgen steroid and a testosterone derivative. DHT can shrink hair follicles and decrease their life spans, resulting in hair thinning and hair loss.
What Is Creatine
Creatine is a compound that is found naturally within cells.
Muscle cells have higher creatine levels - they contain around 95% of the body's creatine, the brain, liver and kidneys contain the other 5%. (1)
It is very similar to amino acids; your body can also produce creatine from the amino acids glycine and arginine.
Taking creatine is very popular. Supplementation with creatine causes your body to store extra phosphocreatine.
Phosphocreatine is a form of stored energy, essential for creating the body's primary energy source, called ATP.
When the body has more ATP, you can perform better. Your bodies natural production of creatine is influenced by various factors, such as the following. (1)
Dietary creatine intake (more meat increases creatine).
Level of exercise.
Amount of muscle mass.
Levels of hormones like testosterone & IGF-1.
Several other processes happen while taking creatine, which can also lead to increased muscle mass and strength.
What Is Dihydrotestosterone (DHT)
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is an androgen steroid and hormone. It is a derivative of testosterone; the enzyme 5α-reductase catalyses the formation of DHT from testosterone.
An androgen is a sex hormone that contributes to developing male sex characteristics, such as body hair growth. DHT also has the effect of contributing to faster scalp hair loss.
Does Creatine Increase DHT?
This ratio continued to be elevated by ~22% on a maintenance dosage of creatine. (2)
By up-regulating the 5-reductase enzyme, creatine supplementation appears to promote the conversion of testosterone to DHT, hence raising levels of DHT. (2)
Does DHT Cause Hair Loss?
DHT seems to promote scalp hair loss in multiple ways.
Increased androgens like DHT can shrink hair follicles and shorten their life cycle, causing hair to grow thinner and fall out quicker.
DHT can also increase the time it takes for follicles to grow new hair when old hairs fall out.
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However, these effects vary in different people.
Some people are more or less sensitive to DHT's effects on hair loss due to variations of their androgen receptor (AR) genes.
Androgen receptors allow hormones such as testosterone and DHT to bind to them, usually resulting in ordinary hormonal activities.
But variations in the AR gene can increase some peoples androgen receptor sensitivity in their scalp hair follicles, making them more likely to experience hair loss.
Other people may have a reduced sensitivity to DHT on their scalp hair follicles, meaning they don't experience hair loss.
In some people, increased levels of DHT will promote scalp hair thinning and hair loss.
Does Creatine Cause Hair Loss?
Since DHT can promote hair loss, this raises the question of whether creatine supplementation encourages hair loss.
However, no research has specifically examined whether taking a creatine supplement results in hair loss.
We can predict that consuming creatine might accelerate hair loss because it raises DHT, but additional research is required to confirm this.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Does creatine increase DHT?
A: Research has suggested that creatine can increase DHT. One study found that supplementation with creatine can increase DHT levels by.
Q: Does creatine cause hair loss in teens?
A: Creatine increases the level of a hormone called DHT, this hormone can increase the likelihood of male pattern baldness and hair loss.
Q: Is hair loss from creatine permanent? A: Male pattern baldness usually worsens as you get older, after you stop taking creatine DHT should decrease, potentially stopping and reversing some of the hair loss. However, many people may need hair regrowth treatment to reverse hair loss.
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This evidence-based analysis of creatine and hair loss features 3 references, listed below.
1. Persky AM, Brazeau GA. Clinical pharmacology of the dietary supplement creatine monohydrate. Pharmacol Rev. (2001) (Review)
2. van der Merwe J, Brooks NE, Myburgh KH. Three weeks of creatine monohydrate supplementation affects dihydrotestosterone to testosterone ratio in college-aged rugby players. Clin J Sport Med. (2009) (Randomised Controlled Trial)
3. Chen X, Liu B, Li Y, et al. Dihydrotestosterone Regulates Hair Growth Through the Wnt/β-Catenin Pathway in C57BL/6 Mice and InVitro Organ Culture. Front Pharmacol. 2020;10:1528. Published (2020, Jan 23)
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