Creatine is an organic supplement used by athletes to enhance their workouts. It’s a naturally occurring amino acid that can be found in meat and fish but is also produced independently by the human body. A healthy diet provides all of the Creatine that the body needs, but it can be beneficial for athletes to take more. Excess Creatine can help build muscle quickly and speed up recovery, which makes it very attractive to weightlifters and athletes that need to increase in size. But, is there such a thing as Creatine hair loss or is Creatine bad for you in any other ways?
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.
You can find more reading from the study here - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19741313
The conclusion from the study showed that "Creatine is a widely used ergogenic aid, the mechanisms of action are incompletely understood, particularly in relation to dihydrotestosterone, and therefore the long-term clinical safety cannot be guaranteed."
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