Does Creatine Cause Hair Loss?

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If you’re trying to build muscle, you may have considered using creatine supplements to bulk up. But does creatine cause hair loss? We’ll dig into the details, but the short answer is that we can’t be totally sure either way.

While some folks say creatine baldness is a real concern, scientific evidence suggests otherwise. In fact, the idea of creatine hair loss may stem from a single study that isn’t even conclusive. 

Below, we outline the research that helps answer this question: Does creatine make you lose your hair?

Can Creatine Cause Hair Loss? The Research 

It’s not entirely clear whether creatine causes hair loss. 

However, most of the worry about creatine and hair loss comes from one study, and the evidence even in that study is weak.

The 2009 study looked at college-aged rugby players who took a creatine supplement or a placebo for 21 days. 

Testosterone levels didn’t change for those who took creatine, but their DHT was up 56 percent by the seven-day mark and remained 40 percent higher than baseline levels after the full 21 days.

So now you may be wondering what exactly DHT is. Dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, is an androgen, which is a hormone. 

There’s a well-established link between increased levels of DHT and male pattern baldness. This happens because DHT can bind to androgen receptors in hair follicles, which causes the follicle to shrink. Eventually, this can cause your hair to fall out. 

Back to the study — based on the results, researchers concluded that creatine may increase the rate at which testosterone is converted into DHT.

So creatine might increase DHT, which might impact your hairline. However, this is far from concrete evidence. The study was small — involving only 20 participants — and didn’t find a direct link between creatine and hair loss.

And the evidence hasn’t gotten much stronger since then.

A 2021 review published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition looked at the evidence and concluded that the increased DHT levels in the rugby player study were well within normal clinical limits.

Plus, pre-supplementation DHT levels were 23 percent lower in those who took the creatine supplements than those who took the placebo. This may account for the significant difference in DHT levels between the two groups at the end of the experiment.

The 2021 review included 12 other studies on creatine and testosterone and concluded that the current evidence doesn’t indicate that creatine supplements increase testosterone or DHT or cause hair loss or baldness. 

So, does creatine increase DHT? Maybe. But, ultimately, there’s no real evidence hair loss is a side effect of creatine supplementation.

(RelatedDoes Minoxidil Work For a Receding Hairline?)

An Overview of Creatine

Your body naturally produces creatine. You can also get it through red meat and seafood and in supplement form as creatine monohydrate, creatine ethyl ester and buffered creatine.

It’s a popular supplement among bodybuilders and lovers of high-intensity exercise who use it to improve physical performance and muscle mass.

As a dietary supplement, creatine may help with: 

  • Muscle strength and power 

  • Athletic performance in areas like sprinting, rowing, jumping and soccer

  • Gains in fat-free body mass 

  • Post-exercise recovery 

  • Injury prevention 

One paper highlighted about 300 studies on creatine and its effects on physical performance. Of those studies, about 70 percent report statistically significant positive results like the above, and no studies link creatine to decreases in performance.

Creatine also has a good safety profile. However, people with pre-existing kidney issues should speak with a healthcare professional before taking the supplement. 

Potential side effects of creatine supplementation include: 

  • Weight gain from water retention 

  • Muscle cramps

  • Nausea

  • Dehydration

  • Diarrhea

What to Do If You Think You Have Creatine Hair Loss 

Does creatine make you lose your hair? There’s not much evidence that suggests a link between this popular supplement and baldness. 

So, if you’re experiencing hair loss or thinning, don’t throw out your creatine supplements just yet.  

Here’s how to address excess shedding.

Talk to a Healthcare Professional About Your Hair Loss Symptoms 

Speaking to a healthcare professional about your hair loss symptoms is a great place to start. 

Whether you’re experiencing sudden, rapid hair loss or gradual thinning, you may be able to encourage new healthy hair growth. 

A medical professional can run tests to determine the underlying cause and recommend hair loss treatments to help restore a fuller-looking hairline.

Eliminate Other Potential Hair Loss Causes

Hair loss can happen for a variety of reasons. 

Common causes of hair loss in men include:

  • Stress

  • Illnesses, such as a severe infection 

  • Autoimmune diseases like alopecia areata  

  • Medications like beta-blockers, retinoids or cancer treatments

  • Vitamin deficiencies, such as iron or zinc deficiencies

  • Hairstyles that tug on your scalp  

  • Genetics 

Since there are so many potential causes of hair loss, consider any medications you’re on or if you’re going through a stressful time in life before you blame your supplements. Also, take a look at your family — male pattern baldness is genetic, so a family history of baldness could be the reason for your receding hairline.

(RelatedDoes Topical Finasteride Work? What Should You Expect)

Consider Hair Loss Treatments 

Depending on the cause, your hair loss may be permanent or temporary. The good news is many types of hair loss are reversible.

Lifestyle changes may help with hair health. These include: 

  • Lowering stress levels 

  • Eating a healthy diet with enough nutrients and overall calories 

  • Quitting smoking 

  • Using gentle shampoo and moisturizing conditioner 

  • Avoiding hairstyles that pull on your scalp 

But if lifestyle changes aren’t enough, there are medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat hair loss, including: 

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, minoxidil can help with early hair loss — another reminder to speak to a healthcare provider as soon as you notice symptoms — but it won’t help those who are fully bald. 

This medication can promote the hair growth cycle and prevent further hair loss. But you need to be patient. It can take about six to 12 months to produce noticeable results. 

Finasteride can also help slow hair loss and stimulate new hair growth. But it’s not a quick fix, either. It can take roughly four months to see improvements, and it works best if you start taking it when you first notice hair loss. 

Lastly, if these medications don’t work, there are hair loss treatment options, such as: 

The Bottom Line on Creatine Hair Loss 

The final verdict on whether creatine causes hair loss is that there’s no definitive evidence creatine makes you lose hair. But there’s also no solid proof it doesn’t cause hair loss. 

Here’s what we know:

  • Evidence that creatine use could cause hair loss is thin. A single scientific study suggests creatine can increase DHT, the hormone linked to male pattern baldness. However, that study has limitations, including a very small participant pool.

  • Creatine is generally considered a safe supplement. It’s been shown to help with muscle strength, athletic performance and recovery.

  • Hair loss has many possible causes. Stress, a vitamin deficiency or genetics are all potential causes of hair loss. You might even be able to blame something else you’re taking before the gym with your creatine, like a pre-workout supplement.

If you notice signs of balding or hair thinning, get in touch with a healthcare professional. They can recommend treatment options to slow hair loss and promote hair growth. 

This article originally appeared on Hims.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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How Does Topirmate for Weight Loss Work?

How Does Topirmate for Weight Loss Work?

Topiramate, also sold under the brand name Topamax, is a drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for epilepsy and migraines. It’s also prescribed off-label for weight loss. But the combination of topiramate and phentermine, sold under the brand name Qsymia, is FDA-approved for weight management. 

Studies show topiramate causes a significant reduction in body weight. It’s unclear how exactly topiramate weight loss works, but we know that this medication can suppress your appetite and help you feel fuller for longer. 

Got questions? We’ve got answers. Keep reading to learn how topiramate works for weight loss, how long it takes to work and the side effects you should know about. 

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Topiramate is an antiepileptic agent. As the name suggests, it’s FDA-approved for epilepsy, as well as to prevent migraines. It’s also used as an adjunctive therapy — meaning it’s used with another, primary treatment — for those with mood disorders, eating disorders or alcohol use disorders. 

One of the side effects of this medication is weight loss, so topiramate is sometimes prescribed off-label to help people lose weight. For weight loss, topiramate is best used alongside diet and exercise changes. 

It’s also found in the drug Qsymia, which contains extended-release topiramate and phentermine and is FDA-approved for weight management. Qsymia is prescribed alongside a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity for those with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater or a BMI of 27 or greater with at least one weight-related comorbidity — like high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol. 

Studies on topiramate for weight loss are pretty positive. 

In a 2012 study, for example, 385 participants with obesity followed a lifestyle program and took either a placebo or topiramate for 24 weeks. Those on topiramate started on a daily dose of 16mg and gradually moved up to a daily dose of either 64mg, 96mg, 192mg or 384mg. 

At the end of the study, the placebo group had a mean weight loss of 2.6 percent. Those on topiramate lost more weight. And, for the most part, the higher the dose, the more weight they lost. 

Here’s what the results showed: 

  • Those taking 64mg had a mean weight loss of 5 percent 

  • Those taking 96mg had a mean weight loss of 4.8 percent

  • Those taking 192mg lost had a mean weight loss of 6.3 percent

  • Those taking 384mg lost had a mean weight loss of 6.3 percent 

While participants did experience side effects, most of these happened early in treatment, were dose-related and resolved by themselves. 

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So, we know topiramate can cause significant weight loss, but how exactly does this effect happen? Well, it’s not entirely clear. 

It’s believed that topiramate can reduce your calorie intake, decrease fat gain and lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels. It may do this by: 

  • Suppressing appetite

  • Causing you to feel full for longer after you eat

  • Reducing leptin, a hormone correlated with weight reduction 

  • Altering reward pathways to reduce binge eating 

  • Stimulating the enzyme lipoprotein lipase and increasing thermogenesis (the production of heat) and substrate oxidation (the breakdown of nutrients), both of which can lead to weight loss

In Qsymia, phentermine may suppress appetite and increase metabolism, too.

In simple terms, you may feel less hungry and more full, leading you to consume fewer calories, curb hunger and lose weight. But there may be other mechanisms at play. 

As well as aiding weight loss, topiramate can help those with type 2 diabetes improve their glycemic control, or better manage their blood sugar levels. 

2013 study looked at 69 participants who took either topiramate or a placebo for 32 weeks while following the same lifestyle changes. Those taking topiramate saw a more significant reduction in BMI, more weight loss and lower systolic blood pressure and HgA1c (a measure of blood sugar levels) than those taking the placebo. 

(RelatedWeight Loss Injections: Are They Safe?)

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There isn’t one best topiramate dosage for weight loss — because the drug is prescribed off-label for weight loss, there haven’t been official clinical trials on this topic. 

Studies suggest that higher doses, such as 192mg and 384mg, are more effective than lower doses, such as 64mg and 96mg. But higher doses also come with a higher risk of side effects. 

Your healthcare provider may start you on a low dose of topiramate and slowly increase it over several weeks. The maximum dose of Topamax for weight loss will be different for everyone. 

Daily doses for topiramate weight loss are lower than they would be for epilepsy or migraines. 

But we know the best dosages for Qsymia, the phentermine-topiramate combo. If you take Qsymia, the starting dose is 3.75mg of phentermine and 23mg of topiramate daily for 14 days. The dose then increases to 7.5mg of phentermine and 46mg of topiramate daily for 90 days. 

If you need a higher dose after 90 days, your provider can prescribe up to 11.25mg of phentermine and 69mg of topiramate daily for 14 days, followed by 15mg of phentermine and 92mg of topiramate daily from there. 

Phew, that’s a lot of numbers. But don’t worry, your provider will tell you your ideal Topamax or Qsymia dosage for weight loss, including your starting dose and when to increase it.

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Take topiramate as directed by your provider and the prescribing label. 

There aren’t clear guidelines for the best time to take Topamax for weight loss, but you can ask your provider if they have any recommendations for when you should take topiramate. 

If not, pick the time that suits you and will reduce the likelihood of forgetting a dose — for example, first thing in the morning, before you make breakfast. 

And speaking of breakfast, you can take Topamax with or without food. 

Topiramate is available in tablet form in 25mg, 50mg, 100mg and 200mg doses, and in sprinkle capsules in 15mg and 25mg doses. 

Sprinkle capsules can be swallowed whole — like a regular tablet — or opened and sprinkled (hence the name) onto a small amount of soft food and swallowed immediately, for those who have trouble swallowing tablets.

If you’re taking Qsymia, consider taking it in the morning, as it can cause trouble sleeping if taken in the evening. You should take Qsymia at the same time each day, and — just like topiramate — you can take it with or without food. 

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There’s no set time frame for topiramate to start working for weight loss, as it’s not designed to be a weight loss medication. Research shows some people begin to experience weight changes in their second week on the drug and continue losing weight the longer they take it. 

But weight loss is highly individual, so this may vary from person to person. You may also see results more quickly if you combine topiramate with other healthy habits, like regular exercise and a healthy, reduced-calorie diet full of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean meats.

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Common side effects of topiramate include: 

  • Weight loss — you probably knew this one

  • Paresthesia (skin tingling or numbness) 

  • Fatigue 

  • Dizziness 

  • Somnolence (drowsiness) 

  • Nervousness 

  • Psychomotor slowing (such as slowed thinking and movements) 

  • Memory problems 

  • Trouble concentrating or paying attention 

  • Cognitive problems 

  • Confusion 

  • Mood problems 

  • Anorexia 

  • Flushing 

  • Fever

  • Infection 

There are also some more serious side effects to watch out for. For example, antiepileptic drugs, including topiramate, can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior. Look out for unusual mood or behavior changes, worsening depression or thoughts about self-harm, and seek medical help immediately if you notice any changes. 

Adverse effects can also occur with Qsymia. Contact your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about side effects.

(RelatedWeight Loss Medications: Are They Effective?)

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You should avoid drinking alcohol while taking topiramate. The combination can cause sleepiness and dizziness. 

Depending on how you’re feeling, you might want to avoid driving and operating machinery. 

Certain side effects of topiramate —  like psychomotor slowing, confusion, trouble concentrating and dizziness — can make these activities more dangerous. 

If you’re feeling any of these effects, consider avoiding situations where this could put you or others in danger —  AKA leave the car at home and call an Uber. 

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There are a few groups of people who shouldn’t take topiramate, while others may need a different dose than usual.

Let your healthcare provider know if you:

  • Are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, or if you become pregnant while on topiramate 

  • Are breastfeeding

  • Take any prescription drugs or over-the-counter vitamins or supplements 

  • Have kidney problems, including kidney stones

  • Have liver problems 

  • Have osteoporosis (weak or brittle bones) 

  • Have eye problems like glaucoma

  • Have depression or mood problems 

  • Have a history of metabolic acidosis (too much acid in the blood) 

  • Have lung or breathing problems 

  • Have diarrhea 

  • Have a growth problem  

  • Are on a ketogenic diet (high-fat, low-carb) 

If you take it during pregnancy, topiramate can cause your baby to develop a cleft lip or cleft palate. A healthcare professional can help you weigh whether the benefits of taking topiramate outweigh the risks in this case.

You shouldn’t take topiramate if you’re taking a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor — a class of medications used to treat conditions like glaucoma, altitude sickness and congestive heart failure. 

You should also avoid topiramate if you’re on any medications that can cause metabolic acidosis. In addition, topiramate itself can cause metabolic acidosis, and this affects what other drugs you can take. Metformin — the diabetes drug sometimes used for weight reduction — shouldn’t be used in those with metabolic acidosis, for example. 

Hypothermia and hyperammonemia — when your levels of ammonia are too high — have also been reported in those taking topiramate and valproic acid, a drug for certain types of seizures, mania and bipolar disorder. 

A healthcare professional may prescribe a different dose than usual if you’re undergoing hemodialysis or have kidney impairment, especially if you’re 65 or older. 

Word of warning: Topiramate may decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills. It can also increase breakthrough bleeding or spotting, especially at doses greater than 200mg a day. Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need a different form of contraception while taking topiramate. 

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Topamax and weight loss could be a match made in heaven, but it’s not for everyone. And it’s not designed as a quick fix. The drug may be prescribed alongside diet and exercise changes to help you reach your weight loss goals.

Here are the key facts: 

  • Topiramate could help you lose weight. Research shows it can promote weight loss, reduce BMI and improve blood sugar control. It can act as an appetite suppressant and help you feel fuller for longer, although it’s not exactly clear how.

  • It’s not FDA-approved for weight loss. Topiramate weight loss is shown in studies, but it’s not approved as a weight loss drug on its own. It’s designed as an anticonvulsant for epilepsy and migraine prevention and prescribed off-label for weight loss. Qsymia, which contains topiramate, is FDA-approved for weight loss. 

  • Topiramate side effects exist. And they go beyond weight loss. Look out for fatigue, dizziness and mood changes, and contact a healthcare professional if you notice anything off. 

Speak to a healthcare provider to determine if topiramate is right for you. 

If not, or if you’re still exploring your options, don’t worry. Topiramate isn’t the only way to lose weight. In addition to lifestyle changes, there are other weight loss pills, weight loss injections and drug-free interventions available. You can learn more about the weight loss treatments out there.

This article originally appeared on Forhers.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org

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