Hair Care

Creatine: A Guide to the Popular Pre-Workout Supplement

Creatine Supplement
What Is Creatine? Creatine itself is naturally formed (made) in the kidneys and liver from bodily processes involving amino acids – glycine, arginine, and methionine.  Creatine is primarily consumed through the meat (red meat, poultry, fish) or individually as a dietary supplement.  It helps fuel high endurance or intensity exercise or workouts.  When ATP is used up (during these activities), it is converted into ADP (adenosine diphosphate) and AMP (adenosine monophosphate). Creatine helps increase the overall amount of cellular phosphocreatine (this is what creatine exists in cells as) and this, in turn, helps speed up the process of recycling ADP back into ATP.  Creatine transfers a high-energy phosphate from creatine phosphate to ADP to essentially regenerate ATP. This means more energy and strength for workouts. Creatine not only appears to benefit strength during intense exercise or resistance training (helping to contribute to increased lean mass gain) but also appears to be of benefit for mental fatigue and cognitive function.  This may be especially true for those who are vegan or vegetarian and intake less through dietary means, given that these prerequisite amino acids are found in high concentrations in meat and seafood.  Creatine is one of the most clinically studied, safe, and peer-reviewed supplements available. There are well over five-hundred publications (according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine) regarding the various aspects of creatine supplementation, including its efficacy, safety, and tolerance of it.  Many people consider creatine to be a “natural anabolic,” which might be a tad confusing for some people, as creatine doesn’t have anything to do with anabolic steroids directly. Even Allmax Nutrition themselves proclaim creatine to be the most trusted natural anabolic.  What exactly does this all mean? Let us touch on anabolic steroids. Anabolic steroids are essentially a ‘synthetic’ version of androgenic hormones – most commonly testosterone, and are sometimes used with resistance training for the sole purpose of enhancing the speed of muscle mass gain and strength gain.  This increase comes from testosterone entering the muscle cells, binding with the “intracellular androgen receptor,” and increasing the expression of particular genes. This leads to increased ATP (adenosine triphosphate production).  Creatine, as a supplement, can increase the capacity of ATP as well as energy produced during resistance or strength training, and as such is often compared to synthetic hormones as a ‘natural anabolic.’  Therefore, we can say that creatine functions physiologically in a similar way to steroids (and can help performance in the same way), they are not the same in the way they do this, nor are they categorized in the same way because of this.  Anabolic steroids have a different chemical structure than creatine and are blatantly considered prescription drugs as regulated by the FDA.  So, while many companies or bodybuilders may refer to creatine as a “natural anabolic” – they might not be exactly correct, but they also aren’t explicitly lying.  Creatine and Hair Loss  A quick cursory search around the internet for creatine will probably garner hundreds of results of men worried about creatine causing baldness, hair loss, or accelerating male pattern baldness.  Is any of this true? Is there any validity to these second-hand stories? Creatine itself absolutely does not directly lead to hair loss. The science is clear on that, so we should establish that immediately.  Most men aren’t going to want to make the choice between being ripped and having a nice head of hair.  The primary connection between creatine, hair loss, and concern online – all really just comes down to a single fairly small study of Rugby players who were found to have increased conversion of testosterone to DHT (dihydrotestosterone).  This potentially shows that creatine may cause an elevation in a hormone (DHT) that can speed up the process of hair loss, but only in men predisposed to hair loss or male pattern baldness genetically.  The study does not explicitly link the two. In addition, the people in the study were taking quite a large serving size of 25g per day, compared to the recommended 5g. The size of the study is quite small as well, profiling only 20 volunteers.  What is the connection of DHT to balding? In men, DHT can bind to potentially susceptible androgen receptors in hair follicles and cause them to ‘shrink.’  Any anecdotal stories of men online may be men taking larger amounts of creatine long-term, who are at the same time genetically predisposed to hair loss or male pattern baldness.  Usually, these men also claim to recover any signs of thinning hair after stopping the creatine supplem ...

The main cause of hair loss in women and how to reverse it

Hair loss affects many women. 40% of women have visible hair loss by age 40 and 80% by the age of 60.  Under healthy conditions, this should not occur, at least not to a significant extent.  What often is not known or fully appreciated, is that hair loss, - is a symptom of other things that are happening,  both internally and externally. There may be several possible causes of hair loss. This can occur in women who have low blood cell count or low hemoglobin or iron. Iron is required to produce hemoglobin and when hemoglobin is low, fewer blood cells are needed to carry it around the body. Hemoglobin carries and brings oxygen to all areas of the body, including the scalp and oxygen is needed for the production of energy needed to regenerate, restore and repair structures such as hair.  Certain medications can also contribute to hair loss, these include cholesterol-lowering medication, certain blood pressure lowering medications, other heart medications, cortisone, anti-fungal, and chemotherapy medications are some examples. They too generally interfere with energy generation or nutrient delivery to the scalp. Fortunately, often, natural alternatives do exist and you can consult a naturopathic doctor to discuss your specific health challenges and needs. Ultimately, the main factor in hair growth is the direct action of thyroid hormones on hair-producing cells to stimulate the laying down of hair fibers to grow new hair. While many women are diagnosed with low thyroid function, also known as hypothyroidism, the current diagnostic methods used to diagnose this condition are not perfect and miss many people with low thyroid function. Moreover, there are various extents of low thyroid function and some aren’t “severe” enough to be diagnosed as such, but none the less, result in not having enough active thyroid hormone to perform its various functions, including the stimulation of hair growth.  The active thyroid hormone T3 is produced from the pre-cursor, T4, which is produced by the thyroid gland, located at the front of the neck. T4 is made from the amino acid tyrosine, which is provided from dietary protein. Tyrosine binds four atoms of iodine to form T4. It is then converted to T3 by an enzyme that is activated by the mineral selenium to form the final active form of the hormone, T3.  The main function of the thyroid hormone is to initiate the production of energy in every single cell. When thyroid function is low, symptoms related to a reduced capacity to perform its function develop. These symptoms include low energy levels, feeling cold, usually in the hands and the feet, tendency to gain weight and difficulty losing weight, sluggish digestion and bowel function, difficulty sleeping, low mood hair loss and, sometimes brittle nails and dry skin.  Being aware of these symptoms can be helpful at evaluating and identifying low thyroid function when blood test results are seen as normal. It is also important to know what can cause suboptimal or low thyroid function in order to address it constructively. The most obvious cause is the insufficient supply of iodine or selenium to form the thyroid hormones. The richest source of dietary iodine is seaweed or kelp. Other relatively good sources are cod, tuna, dairy, potatoes, and strawberries. The richest source of selenium is Brazil nuts (2 per day) as well as any fish, seafood, poultry and meat, eggs and spinach. Excessive intake of chloride or fluoride from drinking or shower water can interfere with the absorption of iodine.  Another significant cause of low thyroid function is excessive stress. The stress hormone cortisol interferes with the production of the thyroid hormone T3. While there are many causes for stress and various strategies to address each stressor, vitamins such as vitamin C, B6, niacinamide and magnesium as well as medicinal plants such as Rhodiola Rosea (see rhoziva), can decrease the stress hormones and help improve thyroid function.  Other causes of low thyroid function can be exposed to environmental toxins such as mercury, intake of gluten and substances that block iodine known as goitrogens, present in raw cruciferous vegetables (kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts). Cooking these vegetables removes the goitrogens.     Improving thyroid function can help improve healthy hair growth. Other, popular -supplements that can help are silica and biotin.  Silica is the second most abundant mineral on earth, found in rocks and hardy plants. It provides strength and longevity to hair fibers but doesn’t necessarily stimulate growth. Biotin is also known for its healthy hair and nail supporting properties. It is involved in the production of certain amino acids that are present in the hair fiber (made of the protein Keratin).  If you want to simplify, optimize and support faster healthy hair gro ...

Happy Mother's Day from Healthy Planet!

Mother’s Day is quickly approaching! This is the perfect opportunity to treat all the Mama's in your life and even yourself to a few sweet gifts to celebrate this beautiful day. Healthy Planet is currently running an INCREDIBLE Mother's Day Sale, full of pampering and practical products for all Mothers! I have narrowed down my top 4 favourite products that not only do I use, but would make the  perfect Health & Wellness gifts for the Mama's in your life this Mother’s Day!   Organika Collagen – Because healthy skin is always on trend. Collagen has many beautiful benefits that does our body so good - promotes skin health, boost muscle mass, improve ingestive health, burns fat, alleviate joint pains, promotes heart health, and improves cognitive health. Our bodies naturally produce collagen, however our ability to produce it decreases less and less as we age. This is why it is so important to either incorporate foods that contain collagen in our diet or supplement it with a product like, Organika Collagen. Because let’s be real, who doesn’t want beautiful skin? Skin Essence Facial in a Jar – Spoil the Mama's in your life with this multipurpose product. You can either use this as an exfoliator to scrub away dead skin or leave it on as a mask so that the product can absorb all the oils and impurities out of your skin. Either way, this product will leave your skin super soft, supple, nourished and will brighten your overall complexion!   Everyone Hand Soap Coconut Lavender – This is the best naturally smelling hand soap on the market. I really love that it is kind to our earth, cruelty free, gluten free, does not contain synthetic fragrance, and really does a wonderful job at cleansing and moisturizing the skin.   Andalou Naturals Body Lotion Lavender Thyme – You will not catch me without some sort of hand lotion in my diaper bag. With all the diaper changing and constantly washing my hands to avoid catching my toddler’s germs, it strips away my natural oils leaving my skin super dry and cracked. I love this hand lotion not only does it DELICIOUS but it also does a fab job at moisturizing and keeping the skin moisturized for a long period of time. If Lavender Thyme isn’t your jam, they also have a large selection of other scents as well!   Written by Healthy Planet Ambassador @lifestylebycp.  Follow Cherrie as she lives her best life spreading her vision of the Health and Wellness lifestyle with the help of Healthy Planet!