HAIR LOSS + CREATINE MONOHYDRATE
Investigated the effects of a one-week creatine loading period + two weeks of maintenance supplementation, on blood androgen levels in 18- to 19-year-old male rugby players. While this study (like previous ones) found no effect on testosterone, a significant increase in dihydrotestosterone (DHT), known to play a very direct role in male hair loss: Testosterone is converted to DHT by an enzyme called 5ɑ-reductase;
- When DHT binds to receptors on hair follicles, hair loss is promoted via miniaturization of the hair follicle.
In the study, subjects started the placebo protocol with a baseline DHT value of 1.26 nmol/L; DHT levels dropped to 1.09 by day 7, and to 1.06 by day 21. It was a crossover trial, so the exact same subjects also completed the creatine protocol. At the beginning of the creatine supplementation phase, baseline DHT was 0.98 nmol/L;
- It increased to 1.53 by day 7, and settled back to 1.38 by day 21. It’s important to note that values up to around 3.0-3.5 nmol/L are considered “normal,” and DHT levels in the creatine study were fairly unstable. For instance, the baseline differences between the treatments, which should (theoretically) be just about equal, differed by nearly 0.3 nmol/L, and DHT should have been reasonably stable throughout the placebo protocol, but dropped by 0.2 nmol/L. As such, it’s difficult to get too worked up about the findings in the creatine condition, in which a curiously low baseline value (0.98 nmol/L) increased dramatically at the one-week time point before settling back to 1.38 nmol/L, which is only 0.12 nmol/L higher than the baseline value during the placebo protocol.
It is also worth noting that both acute and chronic exercise increase male DHT levels, so in theory, a modest increase in DHT could potentially be attributed to a creatine-induced increase in training load. It’s unclear whether or not this magnitude of effect on DHT would have a measurable effect on the rate of hair loss in genetically predisposed individuals. There is certainly no reason to believe that creatine would cause hair loss in individuals who are not genetically predisposed to hair loss.