Oral creatine supplementation apparently raises DHT according to this study. This strongly implies that creatine *by itself,* could exacerbate hair loss in both genders.
Don’t run away from creatine just yet though. It has well established benefits for strength training, athletic performance, cognition, sarcopenia, cardiac function, dystrophies and depression.
What remains unclear is whether these DHT elevating effects would still hold in the presence of pharmaceutical or plant based anti-androgenic compounds (ie Critical Extract of Saw Palmetto, Finasteride, Super Bio-Curcumin, Theaflavins, Soy Isoflavones , Flax Lignans, Coconut Oil, etc) that have been shown to lower dht and and/or inhibit its binding to receptor sites.
Many on our hair loss treatment protocols in various forms have concurrently used oral creatine for health/athletic reasons, (we deal with A LOT of bodybuilders) and none to our knowledge have complained of excessive shedding as a result. In fact, there are several treatment compounds in the patent registry that use creatine in topical formulations, which may suggest differential effects on serum dht levels and hair follicle impact.
Having said that, if you are a creatine user and feel like you’re fighting a losing battle against hair loss, stop it for awhile, and see what happens. If you are a creatine user who is successfully dealing with hair loss via whatever anti-androgenic/anti-inflammatory means, then you are likely countering its apparent mild androgenic effects and given its multitude of health benefits, there is no reason to stop.
Clin J Sport Med. 2009 Sep; 19(5):399-404
Three weeks of creatine monohydrate supplementation affects
dihydrotestosterone to testosterone ratio in college-aged rugby players.
Van der Merwe J, Brooks NE, Myburgh KH
Department of Physiological Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa.
OBJECTIVE: This study investigated resting concentrations of selected androgens after 3 weeks of creatine supplementation in male rugby players. It was hypothesized that the ratio of dihydrotestosterone (DHT, a biologically more active androgen) to testosterone (T) would change with creatine supplementation.
DESIGN: Double-blind placebo-controlled crossover study with a 6-week washout period.
SETTING: Rugby Institute in South Africa.
PARTICIPANTS: College-aged rugby players (n = 20) volunteered for the study, which took place during the competitive season.
INTERVENTIONS: Subjects loaded with creatine (25 g/day creatine with 25 g/day glucose) or placebo (50 g/day glucose) for 7 days followed by 14 days of maintenance (5 g/day creatine with 25 g/day glucose or 30 g/day glucose placebo).
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Serum T and DHT were measured and ratio calculated at baseline and after 7 days and 21 days of creatine supplementation (or placebo). Body composition measurements were taken at each time point.
RESULTS: After 7 days of creatine loading, or a further 14 days of creatine maintenance dose, serum T levels did not change. However, levels of DHT increased by 56% after 7 days of creatine loading and remained 40% above baseline after 14 days maintenance (P < 0.001). The ratio of DHT:T also increased by 36% after 7 days creatine supplementation and remained elevated by 22% after the maintenance dose (P < 0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: Creatine supplementation may, in part, act through an increased rate of conversion of T to DHT. Further investigation is warranted as a result of the high frequency of individuals using creatine supplementation and the long-term safety of alterations in circulating androgen composition.
STATEMENT OF CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Although creatine is a widely used ergogenic aid, the mechanisms of action are incompletely understood, particularly in relation to dihydrotestosterone, and therefore the long-term clinical safety cannot be guaranteed.