How would you look bald? That might not be a question most people consider every day, but if you're taking pre-workout regularly, there's a chance it could happen. There are a lot of rumors going around about supplements, but it’s difficult to know what to believe.

More people than ever are booking in to get scalp micropigmentation (literally a tattoo of hair on your scalp) to help cover their hair loss, and I'm sure you don't want that to happen to you.

In this guide, we'll answer the question "does pre-workout cause hair loss?" and help you to understand how supplements might be impacting your body.

The answer is no, there have been no scientific studies linking pre-workouts and hair loss, and as of 2023, no conclusive evidence has come out to show it impacts hair growth at all.

Pre-workout are designed as an aid to help improve your training performance. They are used as sports supplements for athletes and those lifting weights in the gym to help increase their endurance.

Taking them regularly before training can help you increase muscle mass and stimulate muscle growth across your body.

Pre-workout supplements typically contain protein to help with recovery, amino acids (particularly beta-alanine) to increase your endurance, nitric oxide to increase blood flow, and a stimulant to focus your mind. They may also contain creatine and DHEA, which have been shown to increase the energy going to your muscles. [1]

There’s always a bit of mystery surrounding pre-workout ingredients, which can lead to some speculation about what they actually do.

This, coupled with the fact that a lot of bodybuilders do end up bald, has left people asking, "does pre-workout cause hair loss?"

Does Pre-Workout Cause Hair Loss? – Garage Gym Pro

Pre-Workout Ingredients That May Cause Hair Loss

However, as the old saying goes, there's no smoke without fire, so why do some people believe a pre-workout supplement can cause hair loss, and why do so many fitness enthusiasts experience hair loss?

The answer is found within the specific ingredients within the pre-workout supplements. Protein and amino acids found in pre-workout supplements won't cause hair loss, and they actually contain some essential vitamins which can positively impact your hair follicles.

However, creatine and a substance called DHEA could have a negative impact.

DHEA isn’t found in all pre-workouts, but it is in some supplements and protein shakes. It's a hormone that is naturally found in the body and helps to produce other hormones, including testosterone. Creatine works similarly, so taking them both can increase testosterone levels.

More testosterone in your bloodstream can improve your performance, but it leads to an increase in a substance called DHT (or dihydrotestosterone). DHT is a male growth hormone found in both men and women.

DHT interferes with the hair's growth cycle and can shorten your hair and make it easier to fall out. It can also make it more difficult for new hair to grow, leading to greater hair loss over time.

Some people also argue that the stimulant contained within pre-workout can impact your hair. The larger amount of caffeine in pre-workout can put your body under stress and cause an increased heart rate and blood flow. The theory is that it impacts your scalp and contributes to baldness in men and women.

It all sounds pretty conclusive, but it isn’t. There isn’t much evidence that protein or other ingredients within pre-workout will cause hair loss.

In fact, DHT is a natural substance, and many people are genetically predisposed to produce more of it in their body. This is what causes male pattern baldness in men and hair loss for women.

There is still no scientific evidence that pre-workout supplements cause hair loss, but there is increasing evidence that they can accelerate hair loss. If you have a family history of baldness, particularly male pattern baldness, then you're more susceptible to DHT, and therefore pre-workout is more likely to affect you.

These potential pre-workout side effects can impact men and women, but only if you’re already likely to suffer from hair thinning or baldness.

It won’t cause the problem, but the DHT and creatine within your pre-workout could make it worse. However, if you're in optimal health and eating a healthy, balanced diet, then food supplements aren't going to make you bald.

pre-workout side effects hair loss

How To Reduce DHT While Taking Pre-Workouts

Symptoms Of Too Much DHT

Men naturally produce more DHT, and the most common signs of too much DHT are male pattern baldness and an enlarged prostate. Other signs include acne, increased sweating, high blood pressure, or a receding hairline on your head.

If you are worried about your DHT levels, you should consult a doctor who can help you with specialist treatment.

Reducing DHT Levels To Protect Your Hair

If you are worried about your DHT levels, it's worth remembering that it can be caused by many factors and isn’t primarily linked to a pre-workout supplement. Here are some steps you can take:

Reduce Your Supplement Intake

It’s worth checking what drugs and other supplements you’re taking and how they might impact your DHT levels. Protein is generally ok, but avoid anything which contains DHEA because that could risk increasing your hair loss.

Boost Your DHT Blockers

Your body naturally produces DHT blockers for when your levels get too high, but you can look for natural remedies and medications to boost your DHT blocker levels.

Spinach, kale, green tea, banana, and flax seeds will all help you produce DHT blockers, but your doctor can also give you specific treatment to help you.

Live A Healthy Lifestyle

The best way to combat DHT and protect your hair and scalp is to promote healthy habits in your life. Quit smoking, sleep regularly, reduce your stress, exercise regularly, and try to reduce your overall body fat.

You can also try to perform scalp exercises and massages to increase your blood flow to your head. People worry about bodybuilding supplements and protein powder, but the real key to keeping your hair is to make healthy choices.

Related Article - Does Pre-Workout Cause Acne? 

healthy guide food and weights

5 Things To Prevent Hair Loss While Working Out

Hair loss can sometimes be influenced by our workout habits. While exercise itself is good for your overall health and well-being, certain aspects of your routine could be indirectly contributing to hair shedding.

Here are five practical tips to keep in mind:

  1. Avoid Tight Hairstyles: Tight hairdos like ponytails or buns can cause traction alopecia, a condition that arises from ongoing tension at the hair roots, so loosen it up.
  2. Don't Wear Caps or Headgear: Wearing tight-fitting caps, bandanas, or headgear, may lead to friction and pull on the scalp, potentially inducing hair loss.
  3. Wash Your Hair After the Session: Sweat and dirt accumulated during your workout can clog the follicles if not washed out, hampering healthy hair growth and potentially exacerbating hair loss.
  4. Avoid Excessive Heat: Heat styling tools or blow-drying your hair after a sweaty workout can dry out and weaken your hair, making it more prone to breakage.
  5. Stay Hydrated: Lack of hydration can lead to dry, brittle hair that breaks and falls out easily, so it's crucial to drink enough water before, during, and after your workout.

What Pre-Workout Brands Don’t Cause Hair Loss for sure?

If you are serious about the gym but don’t want to lose your hair, then you need to find a pre-workout that doesn’t cause hair loss.

The key is to find a pre-workout brand without creatine or DHEA, so there's less risk of it causing your body to produce testosterone and DHT.

Some popular brands have been linked to hair loss, and many users have found that C4 pre-workout side effects include hair shedding.

However, there are several creatine-free brands on the market that are worth considering if you're worried about hair loss:

Just remember that there is no conclusive proof that supplements cause hair to disappear, so if you are losing your hair, then, unfortunately, it may be down to your genetics, not the brand.

nutrabio pre workout

Pre-Workout & Hair Loss FAQs

Will whey protein shakes stop your hair from growing?

There’s no evidence that any protein shakes will cause your hair to stop growing, and whey protein actually contains vitamins and minerals which are good for your hair while also helping you develop lean muscle. [2]

Does taking BCAAs cause hair loss?

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) have not been linked to loss of hair, and some studies have shown that they actually help hair loss medications work more effectively. [3]

Does DHEA cause hair loss or not?

Possible side effects of DHEA can include increased production of DHT, which has been linked to hair loss.

How fast does creatine cause hair loss?

Creatine has been shown to cause hair loss after about 2 months of use. If you stop taking it and don't have any genetic condition causing hair loss, your hair should grow without any specialist regrowth treatment.

Conclusion

Pre work out supplements are not all bad, and you can't believe everything you hear. Taking the right supplements can help you build strong muscles, increase your heart rate, so you burn more calories, and even lead to greater athletic performance.

There is no scientific evidence that links pre-workout and hair loss, but looking at the ingredients and what they do, it's likely that creatine and DHEA could accelerate the process if you're going to go bald anyway.

Hopefully, this guide has helped explain and debunk some of the myths around pre-workout and given you some practical advice on keeping your DHT levels in check.

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References: 

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3407788/
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5537849/
3. https://www.hshairclinic.co.uk/news/do-bcaas-cause-hair-loss

Miloš Lepotic

Miloš Lepotic

Meet Miloš, a certified sports nutritionist and self-taught supplement expert whose pharmacological background and nearly a decade of gym experience make him the perfect guide for optimizing your health and athletic performance through supplement reviews and practical advice rooted in factual, science-backed information.