Does creatine cause baldness?

It is plausible. Creatine increases DHT and DHT is implicated in the pathology and a receding hair line. No direct studies have been conducted assessing the connection


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Creatine may increase the rate of balding in men with Male Pattern Baldness, although the data needs to be replicated a bit to be more conclusive. This may only practically apply to persons with a family history or already present receding hairlines, since there is a significant genetic component for hair loss in male youth.[1]

The reasoning for the above is through the androgen and testosterone metabolite, dihydrotestosterone. Through the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, testosterone converts into the more potent androgen, DHT[2][3] and this enzyme's results are noted in the scalp as well.[4][5] Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) seems to be a main player in male pattern baldness,[6] and higher circulating DHT levels are correlated with a higher rate of hair loss in those susceptible to the effects of DHT.

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is connected to hair loss in people genetically susceptable to hair loss (if it runs in the family); due to this, anything that increases DHT may cause suspicion for accelerating hair loss

Creatine supplementation has been implicated in increasing DHT in one study conducted on male rugby players (to varying levels of 40-56%, with the lower amount being with 5g daily usage), after three weeks of usage.[7] The documented response to this study[8] inquired mostly about methods, but found no statistical faults. Although this study was statistically sound, other studies that measured androgens are mixed both positively[9] and negatively[10] for testosterone.

The mechanisms as to why Creatine may increase DHT could be related to testosterone per se, but Creatine also increased the ratio of DHT:Testosterone; this is currently unexplained.

Creatine has been implicated once in increasing DHT. The study has not been replicated, and direct studies between creatine and hair loss have not been conducted

If we are to assume that creatine increases hair loss rates, then intervention with a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor can possibly attenuate the rate of hair loss. This has not been investigated either, but there is a significant amount of evidence backing the efficacy of the most common 5-alpha reductase inhibitor known as Finasteride (Propecia) for reducing the effects of androgens.

Tags: creatine, male, pattern, baldness, hair, bald, balding, DHT, testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, hair loss

  1. Rathnayake D, Sinclair R. Male androgenetic alopecia. Expert Opin Pharmacother. (2010)
  2. Wright AS, et al. Relative potency of testosterone and dihydrotestosterone in preventing atrophy and apoptosis in the prostate of the castrated rat. J Clin Invest. (1996)
  3. Bartsch G, Rittmaster RS, Klocker H. Dihydrotestosterone and the concept of 5alpha-reductase inhibition in human benign prostatic hyperplasia. World J Urol. (2002)
  4. Ryu HK, et al. Evaluation of androgens in the scalp hair and plasma of patients with male-pattern baldness before and after finasteride administration. Br J Dermatol. (2006)
  5. Dallob AL, et al. The effect of finasteride, a 5 alpha-reductase inhibitor, on scalp skin testosterone and dihydrotestosterone concentrations in patients with male pattern baldness. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. (1994)
  6. Bang HJ, et al. Comparative studies on level of androgens in hair and plasma with premature male-pattern baldness. J Dermatol Sci. (2004)
  7. 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)
  8. Green G. Creatine supplementation and DHT:T ratio in male rugby players. Clin J Sport Med. (2010)
  9. Volek JS, et al. The effects of creatine supplementation on muscular performance and body composition responses to short-term resistance training overreaching. Eur J Appl Physiol. (2004)
  10. Op 't Eijnde B, Hespel P. Short-term creatine supplementation does not alter the hormonal response to resistance training. Med Sci Sports Exerc. (2001)

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