Does Pre-Workout Cause Hair Loss? Revealing Myths & Facts

Recently updated on May 1st, 2024 at 05:03 pm

A lot of people worry that taking pre-workout supplements might lead to hair loss, stirring up quite the discussion among those looking to get fit. But, let’s set the record straight right from the get-go: the science we’ve got so far doesn’t actually link these fitness boosts directly to losing your hair. Let’s dive into this topic and separate fact from fiction, giving you the lowdown on what’s really going on with pre-workouts and your hair.

What Causes Hair Loss?

Hair loss can seem like a puzzle, but when you break it down, it’s mostly about your genes, a hormone called DHT, and how you live your life.

Imagine your family tree: if your relatives have had issues with losing hair, chances are, you might too. That’s genetics at play. Then there’s DHT – a hormone that can shrink your hair follicles until they can’t grow hair anymore. Pretty sneaky, right?

Now, let’s talk about life. Stress, not eating right, and even some workouts can add to hair loss.

Hair loss can also be caused by nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalances (PCOS, for example), infections, autoimmune disorders and even certain medications.

As for pre-workout supplements, some people think ingredients like caffeine or creatine might mess with your hair indirectly. They’re worried that these ingredients could change hormone levels or stress the body in a way that kicks off hair loss.

But, it’s not a straight line from sipping that pre-workout shake to finding hairs in your sink. The connection isn’t clear-cut, and there’s a lot more to the story of keeping your hair on your head​.

Common Ingredients in Pre-Workout Supplements

Diving into pre-workout supplements, you’ll find a cocktail of ingredients each promising to pump up your workout. Let’s break down the big players: caffeine, creatine, B-vitamins, and nitric oxide precursors, and see how they actually stack up in the hair health arena.


Caffeine is the go-to for keeping you alert and pushing through your workout. And your hair? Far from harming, studies have actually highlighted caffeine’s potential to fight off DHT, a hormone known for causing hair loss. It appears caffeine can help your hair grow thicker and resist falling out​.

However, a word of caution. While caffeine can indeed be beneficial for your hair by potentially blocking DHT—a hormone linked to hair loss—consuming it in excess may have the opposite effect.

Elevated caffeine levels can lead to an increase in cortisol, the body’s primary stress hormone. High cortisol levels can negatively affect hair growth, potentially leading to increased shedding and hair loss over time. So it’s really important to find a balance in caffeine consumption to enjoy its positive effects without triggering negative outcomes related to stress and hair health.


Creatine powers up your muscles, helping you go harder in your workouts. The buzz around it and hair loss seems overblown, though. Research hasn’t convincingly linked creatine with hormonal changes that would cause your hair to thin. It’s more about boosting your physical performance than affecting your hairline​.


B-Vitamins, like B7 (biotin) and B12, have a reputation for supporting hair health. True, lacking in these can lead to hair loss, but overdosing won’t give you Rapunzel-like strands. These vitamins are in pre-workouts for their energy-boosting benefits, not as a hair growth miracle​.

Nitric Oxide Precursors

Nitric Oxide Precursors, such as arginine and citrulline, are all about enhancing blood flow, which might indirectly benefit your scalp by improving nutrient delivery. They’re included in pre-workouts primarily for performance reasons, though, not with hair growth in mind.


Beta-alanine is popular in pre-workouts for its role in enhancing muscle endurance and reducing fatigue. This is achieved by raising carnosine levels in the muscles.

Carnosine is a molecule that helps control the acid buildup that occurs during vigorous exercise, which in turn delays the onset of muscle fatigue. Essentially, carnosine serves as a buffer against the acid that makes muscles tire, allowing for longer and more intense workout sessions.

While there’s no direct research linking beta-alanine to hair health, understanding its primary function clarifies that its inclusion in pre-workouts is strictly for performance benefits, not for affecting hair growth or loss.

Amino Acids

Amino acids, including branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), are the building blocks of protein and play a critical role in muscle repair and growth. They can also support overall body health, which indirectly benefits hair by ensuring the body has the nutrients it needs for all its functions, including hair production.

There’s limited evidence to suggest a direct connection between BCAAs and hair health, but their overall benefits to physical well-being can’t be ignored.

Plant Extracts

Many pre-workouts also contain various plant extracts, such as green tea extract or beetroot juice. These ingredients are rich in antioxidants and other health-promoting compounds. For example, the nitrates in beetroot juice enhance blood flow, potentially benefiting the scalp.

Green tea extract, on the other hand, contains catechins which have been studied for their role in reducing DHT, similarly to caffeine.

Although these ingredients are not included specifically for hair health, their overall benefits to the body may have positive side effects on hair growth and retention as well.

All in all, the common ingredients in pre-workout supplements, for the most part, shouldn’t be a major concern when it comes to hair loss. The evidence we have points to these ingredients being either beneficial or at least neutral for hair health.

However, it’s important to note the special case with caffeine. While it has its perks, caffeine is indirectly linked to hair loss due to its potential to raise cortisol levels in the body if consumed in high amounts over a long period. High cortisol can negatively impact hair health.

So, while navigating your pre-workout choices, a balanced approach to caffeine intake is advisable to enjoy its benefits without compromising your hair’s well-being.

Lifestyle and Health Factors

While we’ve found that pre-workouts aren’t directly causing hair loss, watching your caffeine intake is still wise. Beyond that, looking into your everyday habits and lifestyle can also play a big role in keeping your hair healthy.

Manage Stress: Stress isn’t just rough on your mind; it can also take a toll on your hair, leading to potential loss. Finding your go-to stress busters, whether that’s meditation, exercise, or hobbies, is crucial for keeping your hair in top shape.

Nutrition Counts: Your diet plays a starring role in hair health. A nutrient-rich diet filled with proteins, vitamins, and minerals gives your hair the foundation it needs to thrive. Incorporate a mix of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and nuts for the best results.

Hydration is Key: Keeping well-hydrated benefits not just your overall health but also your hair, helping it stay strong and resilient. Make sure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day.

Sleep Matters: Adequate sleep is essential for your body’s repair processes, including those that keep your hair looking its best. Ensuring you get enough rest can make a significant difference in your hair’s appearance and health.

Pre-Workout Alternatives and Natural Boosters

If you are worried about the potential side effects of pre-workout supplements, here are some healthier alternatives that can help you maintain your performance in the gym without the added worry:

Natural Energy Foods: Foods like bananas, oats, and peanut butter are not only nutritious but also packed with energy to fuel your workouts. They provide a steady release of energy, thanks to their natural sugars and complex carbohydrates, making them perfect pre-workout snacks.

Hydration and Performance: Drinking enough water is crucial for optimal physical performance. For a natural energy boost without the caffeine jolt, consider hydrating with coconut water or green tea. These offer hydration and a gentle increase in energy, supporting your workout with natural ingredients.

Exercise and Rest Balance: Sometimes, the best way to prepare for a workout isn’t what you consume but how you rest. Ensuring you get adequate sleep and manage recovery days effectively can significantly enhance your performance and energy levels during exercise.

Natural Supplements: Incorporating natural supplements into your diet, such as magnesium for muscle function, vitamin B12 for energy production, and iron for oxygen transport, can support your energy levels and recovery naturally. These supplements provide essential nutrients that support overall health and fitness, without the need for traditional pre-workout formulas.

When to Consult a Doctor

If you’re seeing more hair on your brush than usual or notice thinning patches, it might be time to talk to a doctor. Especially if these changes happen quickly or at a young age, it’s important to get checked out. Doctors can help figure out what’s going on, whether it’s related to nutrition, stress, genetics, or something else. Remember, catching things early can make a big difference in finding the right solution.


In wrapping up, it’s clear there’s no direct evidence that pre-workout supplements cause hair loss. The key is moderation, especially with ingredients like caffeine, to avoid potential side effects. A balanced approach to using supplements, combined with maintaining overall health, supports both your fitness goals and hair care. Remember, taking care of your body as a whole is the best strategy for both achieving your fitness objectives and keeping your hair healthy.