Ask the Doc: Does creatine cause hair loss?

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Does creatine cause hair loss?


There is no direct evidence showing creatine causes hair loss.

The myth that creatine supplementation causes hair loss probably comes from a three-week study of 20 South African rugby players in which hair loss wasn’t even measured. In the study, a small increase was observed in blood levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) during creatine supplementation.

There is a link between DHT and balding but it’s not as simple as higher blood DHT levels causing hair loss. Hair follicles go through cycles of hair growth, rest, and then shedding of hair. Hair loss occurs when the growth phase of this cycle gets shorter, and progressively thinner and shorter hairs grow until the follicle stops growing hair altogether. This shortening of the growth phase is stimulated by both testosterone and DHT, but DHT is around 10-times more potent than testosterone. The main source of DHT in the hair follicles is from cells in the follicle that convert testosterone to DHT. Levels of testosterone and DHT in the blood are not associated with hair loss.

From all we know about hair loss, testosterone and DHT actions, and the effects on the body of creatine, there’s not really any reason to suspect that creatine supplementation would cause hair loss.

A/Prof Tim Moss

Tim Moss

Biomedical research scientist

Associate Professor Tim Moss has PhD in physiology and more than 20 years’ experience as a biomedical research scientist. Tim stepped away from his successful academic career at the end of 2019, to apply his skills in turning complicated scientific and medical knowledge into information that all people can use to improve their health and wellbeing. Tim has written for and Scientific American’s Observations blog, which is far more interesting than his authorship of over 150 academic publications. He has studied science communication at the Alan Alda Centre for Communicating Science in New York, and at the Department of Biological Engineering Communication Lab at MIT in Boston.


Hair loss
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