According to The Mayo Clinic, creatine monohydrate is commonly used by athletes as a performance-enhancing supplement that affects how your muscles utilize energy. The use of creatine monohydrate in supplemental form is associated with both positive results and negative side effects that weigh heavily on the amount ingested and length of time that it is consumed. Hair loss has been a negative side effect associated with taking large amounts of creatine monohydrate.
What is Creatine?
According to The University of Maryland, "Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid (protein building block) that's found in meat and fish, and also made by the human body in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas." The Mayo Clinic says your liver produces about 0.07 oz. of creatine each day and that a well-balanced diet usually provides adequate levels, without the need for supplements. According to the University of Michigan, 1-2 grams is the average amount of creatine that you consume daily and "It is concentrated primarily in muscle tissues, including the heart."
Creatine Monohydrate and Hair Loss
Creatine monohydrate is in the family of creatine-based amino acids that are responsible for the proper functioning of a host of bodily functions on both a muscular and cellular level. According to The University of Maryland, creatine monohydrates can help in a number of ways, such as improved fitness and athletic performance, as well treat such conditions as heart disease, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson's disease and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). In spite of the positive effects, it can interfere with hair growth and can even cause hair loss. According to The Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine studies have shown that creatine monohydrate increases the levels of Dihydrotestosterone in your body, an androgen synthesized in the hair follicles which can become a barrier between your hair and hair follicles receiving the nutrients necessary to promote and sustain hair growth, therefore resulting in hair loss.
The amount of creatine monohydrate you ingest and the length of time that you consume it is a major factor in it being a risk to your health and well being. According to The University of Maryland, most studies have found no significant side effects for creatine use that doesn't exceed a 6-month time period. The University of Maryland goes on to state that "creatine appears to be generally safe." However high doses have the potential for serious side effects and the possibility of impeding on your body's natural ability to produce creatine. According to The Mayo Clinic, adults 18 and older can safely consume up to 25 grams per day. High doses of creatine can also damage your kidneys and liver, as well as interfere with your insulin levels and blood sugar. Creatine use has also been linked to gastrointestinal problems and muscle cramps, tears and strains.
Foods High in Creatine Monohydrate
According to My Fit, creatine monohydrate "is regarded as the most natural form of creatine" and can be consumed from natural food sources that assist in the maintenance of adequate levels without the potential for harsh side effects. Creatine monohydrate can be found in fish and seafood such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, sashimi and sushi. It is also plentiful in lean red meats and poultry
It is always best to consult your doctor before starting any supplements, including creatine monohydrate.