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What is creatine?

Creatine is a supplement that occurs naturally and is used by athletes to increase muscle mass, strength and performance. It helps your muscles produce energy during high intensity exercise such as weight lifting. It is very similar to amino acids and can even be produced from them. The primary role of creatine is to increase phosphocreatine stores in your muscles which can be used to produce more ATP, which is the muscles main source for energy.

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Can creatine make me go bald?

Creatine can sometimes be a controversial supplement. I think there is a lot of myth and “bro-sceince” that surrounds creatine. For example, some have said that creatine causes aggression. Creatine has never been linked to any rise in testosterone levels which would probably lead to people being more aggressive so it is safe to rule that out. But let’s take a look at something that might have some merit to it. Can creatine cause hair loss?

There was a study done in 2009 at the Rugby Institute in South Africa that involved twenty college-aged rugby players. The study was randomized into two groups. Group one took a placebo while group two supplemented with creatine monohydrate. Group two look a loading dose of 25 grams per day for seven days and then a maintenance dose of 5 grams for fourteen days. After supplementing with creatine for three weeks, the group was found to have elevated blood levels of the androgen dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is an androgen that contributes to hair loss, especially in males. It is important to note that even though this study found raised levels of DHT, the levels were still in what is considered the normal range. The test also noted that there was no change in actual testosterone levels.

DHT is a metabolite of an androgen that you may be familiar with. That would be testosterone. DHT can bind to the receptors on the hair follicles of the scalp. This will cause the follicles to shrink and halt hair production over time. How this effects people varies from person to person based on their genetics. Hair loss typically occurs because of a combination of different factors including genetic factors as well.

Other Creatine Side Effects

Creatine may have some other side effects you should probably be aware of. These include stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, and muscle cramping. Most of these side effects can be caused by consuming too much creatine. As long as you are consuming the recommended amount, you will probably not have these issues. If you want to know more about how much creatine you should consume, you can read our article about creatine loading here. Also, because creatine causes muscles to draw water from the rest of your body, it is possible to experience cramping or become dehydrated. Just make sure you consume more water and you will not experience those side effects.

Bottom line

Other than this study, there are no other studies showing similar results. Based upon this one study, it is possible that creatine does increase DHT but does not increase any other androgens such as testosterone. The levels in which DHT was raised was still within the normal range. Since DHT is a metabolite of testosterone and all other studies have shown that creatine does not increase testosterone, then there is some doubt that creatine can actually increase DHT. If creatine does actually increase DHT, then it could contribute to hair loss. With that being said, there are many factors that can contribute to hair loss, including DHT. Just because DHT is increased, does not mean you will have hair loss.

So does creatine cause hair loss? Probably not. You may read some anecdotal experiences with creatine and hair loss but you must take these experiences with a grain of salt. Creatine is one of the most researched supplements and has many studies to prove its effectiveness. If you are serious about building muscle, we strongly recommend adding creatine to your supplement stack.

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Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Monohydrate
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For further reading on the studies mentioned in this article, check out this page on