Does Creatine cause hair loss? A question that every bodybuilding enthusiast has in his mind, but never managed to get a satisfactory answer. With this article we have tried to throw some light on this ever debatable topic!
Creatine, as we all know, is one of the most commonly used supplements used by bodybuilders and athletes for enhancing their performance. When consumed on daily basis, creatine benefits can be attributed to the fact that it improves utilization of energy by muscles.
But, do we know that creatine is a type of amino acid, which occurs naturally in a human body? It has a very important role in supplying energy to the various organs, systems and muscle groups in the body. With the help of an enzyme called GATM, creatine is biosynthesized in the liver and the kidneys. Almost 95% of the creatine occurred in a human body is found in the skeleton, whereas the remaining 5% is stored in heart, brain, and testes. Creatine can also be used for treating different kinds of muscular disorders called dystrophies.
How Creatine Is Involved In The Body Processes
When creatine is present inside the muscle cells, it attracts water surrounding it thus enlarging the cell. This behavior triggers protein synthesis in the human body. Also, studies have shown that creatine supplies more energy to muscles by speeding up their metabolism and further increasing the formation of ATP (adenosine triphosphate, a vital compound used as a coenzyme in intracellular energy transfer). ATP is regarded as an essential byproduct of several bodily functions that include cellular respiration and fermentation. The increased metabolic activity then further speeds up the cellular respiration process, which improves the formation of ATP as well.
Image Source: www.livestrong.com
How Is Creatine Responsible For Hair Loss?
Creatine is a natural occurring acid required by the human body, but does that mean it is free from any kind of side effects? Not really! According to a study conducted by the Department of Physiological Sciences at Stellenbosch University, the excessive and long-term use of creatine monohydrate promotes the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). It is a hormone responsible for male pattern baldness, which is caused because of the suffocation it brings to a male hair follicle. This study has been further condemned by a number of studies published in various health and sports journals.
Although the hair follicle is also synthesized with DHT the excess use of it may block the absorption of natural nutrients. This further leads to thinning of hair shaft gradually as hair follicle will start shrinking in size before it will get deteriorated permanently.
Who All Are At Risk?
Although, hair loss or baldness related to DHT is caused because of genetic reasons. But, in some cases, it can be triggered by the use of creatine as a fitness supplement. As a fitness and bodybuilding supplement creatine may increase your muscles and enhance your performance, but if you have a history of baldness in the family then you must reconsider taking creatine as a bodybuilding supplement. Even if you have been taking creatine for some time and have now started noticing your thinning hairline, then stop consuming it with immediate effect and speak to your dermatologist at the earliest.
A person who is consuming creatine as a regular nutritional/fitness/bodybuilding supplement is likely to have a higher creatine level, which means more of the testosterone present int heir body will be converted into DHT.
Diet Over Creatine Supplements
If you have a family history of baldness or if you just do not wish to see your hairline receding then avoid taking creatine supplements. Instead focus on healthy meals, which are rich in natural nutrients like protein, vitamins, and minerals. However, if you still want creatine to be a part of your diet then eat red meat and certain types of fish, which are a good source of creatine. Also, when you cook these items the harmful compound that leads to hair loss gets destroyed eventually. Thus making these items safe for consumption.