Does creatine cause hair loss?
The idea that creatine might increase hair loss stems from a single randomized controlled trial (RCT) whose participants (20 healthy, young, male rugby players) saw a small but statistically significant increase in dihydrotestosterone DHT after supplementing with creatine for 21 days. When DHT, a potent metabolite of testosterone, binds to DHT receptors on the hair follicles of the scalp, those follicles may shrink and stop producing hair.
To date, this RCT is the only one to have tested creatine’s effects on DHT. However, a number of RCTs have examined creatine’s effects on testosterone. Out of 12 RCTs, two saw a significant increase in testosterone, but 10 saw no effect. Of those 12 RCTs, five also tested creatine’s effects on free testosterone, the form that gets converted into DHT, and all saw no significant increase.
A proposed mechanism behind creatine’s effect on testosterone
Theoretically, creatine could significantly increase DHT without increasing free testosterone. So while it’s technically possible that creatine might have some effect on hair loss, current evidence and mechanistic data indicate it’s quite unlikely.