Creatine has a great reputation within the bodybuilding community. Mainly due to its ability to increase performance, strength, endurance and reduce fatigue. This means greater workouts, faster recovery times and quicker muscle gains. But there is another benefit of creatine that is rarely talked about. That is its ability to increase testosterone and DHT levels within men.
Creatine is produced by the body without digesting any food. Its produced in the liver and kidneys using the amino acids glycine and arginine. It is hard to consume a large amount of creatine via a food source. For example one of the best sources of creatine is wild caught fish which only contains an average of 1-2 grams per three ounce serving. Eating a high creatine rich diet can be fairly difficult and time consuming this is why creatine supplements have really taken of.
Is creatine safe?
According to studies supplementation with creatine has no long term effects on the kidneys or liver function in highly trained college athletes. It is important to know within these studies the minimum daily intake of creatine recommended was 5 to 6 grams a day (study).
Creatine is one of the most studied supplements. These studies have proven that creatine
- Increases strength output (study, study, study).
- Reduces fatigue (study, study, study, study).
- Promotes lean muscle mass (study, study, study,).
- Stimulates cellular hydration (study, study, study,).
Does creatine increase testosterone production?
There is a popular study with 33 male participants which was conducted to determine if creatine increases testosterone production. The 33 males were split into 3 groups.
- Group 1 was given just creatine
- Group 2 was given creatine and beta alanine
- Group 3 was given a placebo
The participants that took just the creatine experienced an average increase of testosterone levels up to 22%. No other major hormonal changes were experienced by the other groups (1).
The researchers were not 100% sure on how testosterone was increased by creatine consumption. But they have related it to the possibility that creatine could increase the ratio of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which is a stronger and more active hormone than testosterone.
In another study done in south Africa researches conducted studies on 20 college aged rugby players which lasted 9 weeks. At the end of the study the researcher were surprised that there was no increase in testosterone levels. But there was a major increase in DHT levels up to 56% after 7 days of consuming creatine and remained 40% above baseline after 2 weeks of consumption (study). The researchers stated:
“creatine supplementation may, in part act through an increased rate of testosterone to DHT.”
Studies do contradict each other whether creatine does increase testosterone levels or not. It is more plausible that creatine increase DHT levels in men which in effect may result in greater benefits for men as it is a more potent hormone than testosterone. This is done due to creatines ability to turn testosterone into a more active form “DHT’
Is it worth the try?
Creatine is one of the only performance supplements I recommend due to the fact there are endless clinical studies about its ability to increase performance, strength, reduce fatigue and improve endurance. And to make it even better creatine is very cheap you can purchase a year’s supply for around only $100 (supplement link). It is important to note even though it is proven to be safe that you should cycle off all supplements for a period of time every couple months.