How Creatine helps the body build muscle.
Creatine is a natural compound found mostly in your body’s skeletal muscle, but research shows that taking Creatine Monohydrate before high-intensity exercise increases your body’s Creatine stores. This unlocks more energy in your muscles and allows for longer and more effective exercise. The lead source of energy in your body is Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). When your store of ATP is used up while training, taking Creatine uses the replenished stores of Phosphocreatine to replenish ATP, lengthening your workout and providing other benefits.
Beyond athletic performance, Creatine has been used to treat many kinds of ailments, from heart disease to Parkinson’s. Unfortunately, it has been shown that an excess of Creatine will produce the hormone Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which blocks nutrients from follicles, causing hair loss. So, how worried should you be that Creatine could cause your hair to fall out?
What causes hair loss?
In males, the development of hair loss is relatively well understood. By interacting with hair follicles, Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) can induce hair loss. Whether a given hair is more or less likely to fall, because of DHT sensitivity or for other reasons, depends on its location (in male-pattern hair-loss, the crown and hairline thin first) and your genetic heritage.
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is an androgen hormone, a type of male sex hormone found in both men and women. About 10 percent of testosterone in all adults is converted to DHT with the help of an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase (5-AR).
It’s thought that DHT attaches to androgen receptors on the hair follicles. The DHT then causes hair follicles to shrink. As a result, the Anagen, or growing, phase of the hair growth cycle decreases in length while the Telogen, or resting, phase of the hair cycle is extended. The Anagen phase shorter over time, until eventually no hair grows past the scalp line. Additionally, the hair shaft becomes thinner as the hair follicle shrinks, so hair begins to thin and is more prone to breakage.
An increase in DHT due to an excess of Creatine is going to increase your propensity to lose your hair although the effects are not seen for many months as they affect the growth cycle of the hair follicle.
Overall, according to the current evidence available, creatine is safe to use as a supplement for most adults. However, since it may lead to increases in DHT levels, you may wish to avoid using creatine or talk to your doctor before using it if you’re predisposed to hair loss.