For many of us, specially fitness models, who do not know what creatine is, below is a brief definition of creatine.
Creatine is a substance that can be found naturally in our muscle cells. It is also a source of energy that is very useful for our muscles. Creatine is composed naturally by our liver, kidneys, and pancreas. Creatine can also be obtained through your diet by eating red meat and fish.
Many scientists have claimed that around 95 percent of creatine in the human body is present in the skeletal muscle, while the remaining 5 percent is stored in the brain. About 1.5 to 2 percent of the body’s creatine storage is converted during physical activity to be an energy source for the contraction of muscles.
When you take creatine supplements, the level of creatine increases in your muscles. Due to this, your muscle generates more energy. Many people take creatine to increase their muscle mass and endurance. Creatine supplements can be available in many forms which include powders, liquids, and tablets.
Apart from so many benefits of creatine you might also have come across or might have read somewhere that consuming creatine can lead to creatine hair loss. But is it really true? Maybe! Maybe not! Let’s find out more about creatine and also what the research says about its connection with creatine hair loss.
What does the research have to say about the connection between creatine and hair loss?
Many types of research conducted stated that creatine itself might not directly lead to hair loss, however, it may disturb the levels of a hormone that does lead to creatine hair loss.
A study conducted discovered that consumption of creatine increases the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is said to be the hormone that is responsible for male baldness in men who are predisposed to creatine hair loss. DHT is a hormone that is evolved from another hormone known as testosterone. DHT is considered to be more influential than testosterone.
The relation of creatine with hair loss
There was a study conducted in 2009 on rugby players as they used a higher level of creatine supplements for seven days. This was followed later by a maintenance period of a lower level of creatine supplements.
It was discovered by the researchers that the levels of DHT had increased over 50 % during the loading period while the levels of DHT stayed 40 % over the baseline during the maintenance period. The levels of testosterone, however, remain unchanged. It was noted that the researchers did not observe any creatine hair loss in the participants. Hence, it is unlikely that consuming creatine supplementation itself causes creatine hair loss. Moreover, an increase in the DHT levels was observed in the participants. Since the DHT level plays a vital role in creatine hair loss, this raise in the DHT level might put you at risk, if you are particularly predisposed to creatine hair loss.
When should you see a doctor?
Creatine supplements do not directly lead to creatine hair loss, but if you are experiencing creatine hair loss then you should probably make an appointment with your doctor. Also, you should visit your doctor if you notice patchy creatine hair loss or if you lose large amounts of hair when washing or brushing your hair.
Many causes of creatine hair loss can be treated. Your doctor will closely examine you to diagnose the cause of your creatine hair loss and will recommend a treatment that is suitable for you. No need to panic in such a situation.
Benefits of creatine
Health benefits of creatine include:
1. Power up your performance
If you want to lift heavy loads, run faster, or jump higher then creatine can be your best buddy. Creatine helps the muscles produce and circulate adenosine triphosphate (ATP). An ATP is basically a compound that releases energy that is used for muscle contractions, especially during weightlifting, sprinting or resistance training. ATP adds fuels to your muscles only in short bursts. That is where creatine comes into the picture, as it supports the production and circulation of ATP which later the blasts of ATP fuelled energy.
2. Boosts your gains
Studies showed that consuming creatine while doing resistance training helps athletes gain some serious mass, as it plays a vital role in muscle protein synthesis, specifically in my of fibrils (the fibers composing your muscles). Blending creatine with carbohydrates may help your muscles absorb it better. You can try both the techniques for the best results.
3. Crank up capacity
Many studies showed that supplementing with creatine will help you boost your exercise capacity during an exhausting workout, especially during summers by helping your cells retaining water. Staying well hydrated helps you avoid muscle cramps and fatigue so that you can power those extra reps with great intensity.
While these are the benefits of taking creatine, you should always be drinking as much water as possible to keep up with the demands of your lifting. A reminder for you is that you should drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, but the more you sweat, the more water you should be consuming.
For a number of performance benefits, you should always make sure that you are taking
creatine effectively. Moderately get your muscles to optimal levels by taking at least three grams daily, for at least 4 weeks. The benefits will be the same regardless of what time of day you consume it as long as you keep up with the dosing and keep consistency all the time.
Frequently asked questions
If you are not lifting heavy weights, doing high exercises, or eating a vegetarian diet, then your body makes as much creatine as it is needed. Creatine is also naturally found in animal products, so your body can make enough of creatine as long as you have a well-balanced diet which mainly is animal-based products. Animal products like fish, beef, chicken help your body in producing the creatine it needs.
About 1 to 2 grams of creatine is created by your body naturally every day. To build muscles, you should take 20 g of creatine every day for a limited time, which should be followed by a 1 to 5 g of daily dose post that.
Some research suggested that using creatine for muscle growth may worsen creatine hair loss by increasing the level of di hydrotestosterone (DHT) which is a male hormone that is responsible for creatine hair loss in the blood. Although, there is slight evidence that has precisely measured creatine hair loss in different individuals who took creatine supplements.
Depending on whom you ask, the side effects of protein are listed below:
• Kidney damage
• Kidney stones
• Liver damage
• Weight gain
• Muscle cramps
• Digestive problems
Apart from the above side effects, some people falsely claim creatine to be an anabolic steroid that is not suitable for women or teenagers. They further state that creatine should be used by professionals’ athletes or bodybuilders only.
Despite so many side effects, the international society of sports nutrition regards creatine as
an extremely safe supplement. They further conclude creatine to be one of the most beneficial
sports supplements used by many fitness experts.
Any research hasn’t yet shown that the use of creatine directly causes creatine hair loss, but more research is definitely needed in this area. A 2009 study did recognize that the use of creatine is related to an increase in the hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which contributed to creatine hair loss.
Overall, as per the latest evidence, which is available, creatine is considered safe to be used as a supplement for most adults. Since the use of creatine may lead to an increase in DHT levels, you may wish to avoid consuming creatine or speak to your doctor prior to using it if you are predisposed to creatine hair loss