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.
Creatine monohydrate is a type of creatine that has many health benefits, even beyond athletic performance. It 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.
This may cause concern, but keep in mind that male pattern baldness is a genetic condition. It only happens to men that have inherited specific androgen receptors from their parents. While an increase in Dihydrotestosterone can hasten the hair loss process, it will only occur in men who are genetically predisposed to hair loss. While Dihydrotestosterone has been linked to hair loss, it is yet to be seen if creatine use affects this process in a noticeable way.
Your risk of accelerating hair loss, although small, directly correlates to the amount of creatine monohydrate that you consume. Fortunately, it takes extended exposure to the amino acid to make an impact on the body’s production of hair, beyond what is caused by natural hair loss. It’s doubtful that you’ll encounter side effects unless you have extended creatine exposure for more than a six-month period. While creatine is safe, be wary of taking large amounts, as it could have implications on your body’s ability to grow hair.
If you’re an adult, don’t take more than 25 grams of creatine monohydrate a day, and don’t consume it consistently. Although the supplement has been shown to cause hair loss, it’s only under extreme circumstances, and solely in men who are already genetically predisposed to the condition.
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