Creatine and Testosterone
What is Creatine?
Creatine is an organic compound located in the brain and muscle cells. Amino acids—the building blocks of proteins—specifically arginine, glycine, and methionine—make up creatine in the body. As a popular supplement for gym-goers, creatine helps to produce muscle growth through high-intensity workouts. Creatine can also be obtained by consuming red meat, seafood, milk, eggs, and supplements.
Creatine recycles our body’s energy and helps preserve and extend it during activity. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the high-energy molecule, is deconstructed into adenosine diphosphate (ADP), a lower-energy molecule. When the body lacks the ATP to sustain the muscle cells, the body will begin to slow down. Creatine comes in and regenerates ATP and supplies you with more endurance and increased muscle growth.
What Does Creatine Do?
Creatine supplements can promote strength, endurance, exercise performance, and muscle mass. Creatine supplementation—ingesting supplements to boost your creatine levels—is beneficial for increasing and enhancing physical and athletic performance.
While creatine does not directly increase testosterone levels, it does, however, boost DHT (dihydrotestosterone). Dihydrotestosterone, the derivative and active form of testosterone, is an androgen (sex hormone). Almost 10% of the testosterone produced by an adult each day is converted to dihydrotestosterone. Even though creatine is not known for increasing testosterone levels, with DHT being a derivative and the strongest form, studies show that DHT does play a part in muscle activity.
Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is recommended for patients looking to increase and maintain their testosterone at an average level. For someone looking to heighten their androgen performance even more, taking creatine supplements while on TRT is an endorsed alternative for patients.
Types of Creatine Supplements
Creatine supplements are made with various types of creatine. The types of creatine that are primarily used in supplements are:
- Creatine Monohydrate
- Creatine Ethyl Ester
- Creatine Hydrochloride (Creatine HCL)
- Buffered Creatine
- Liquid Creatine
- Creatine Magnesium Chelate
The most popular and recommended class of creatine is creatine monohydrate. Creatine monohydrate supplements come in different forms, such as micronized powders, capsules, liquids, tablets, and gels.
Micronized creatine, the standard form, is most known for its use with athletes and bodybuilders. Creatine supplementation is promoted to enhance musculoskeletal health, exercise performance, as well as energy, and endurance. Consuming creatine supplements is especially important for vegetarians with below-average creatine levels due to a lack of animal-based food consumption.
Side Effects of Creatine
Before starting on creatine supplementation, it’s important to research brands to find which is best suited for you and your body. Creatine supplements will not always affect you the way they affect someone else, therefore, it is crucial to do your research before consuming. Some of the potential side effects of creatine may include:
- Weight gain
- Increased anxiety
- High blood pressure
- Muscle strain or cramps
- Upset stomach
- Digestive issues
- Liver dysfunction
- Kidney damage
Taking creatine supplements is not advised if you have liver disease, high blood pressure, or kidney disease.
Is it Safe to Take Creatine?
Yes, taking creatine supplements has been well-studied and examined to be proven safe for daily intake. While it is generally safe to take creatine, it is essential to do your research before taking any supplements. Each and every brand uses different ingredients as well as different types of creatine. Everyone’s body will react differently than someone else’s and could produce dissimilar results. Creatine supplements are typically safe and recommended for those with little to no health concerns. Consult a medical professional before taking creatine supplements if you have liver disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, or a family history of such.
Benefits of Creatine Supplementation
The benefits of taking creatine supplements are worth implementing into your daily intake if you want to improve your physical health.
- Post-workout recovery
- Injury prevention
- Increased musculoskeletal health
- Improved brain function/performance
- Increased muscle growth
- Assists muscle cells in producing energy
- Increased energy levels
- Reduced fatigue
- May improve conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, ischemic stroke, epilepsy, brain or spinal cord injuries, and motor neuron disease.
Does Creatine Increase Testosterone?
Studies have shown that creatine supplementation increases dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a derivative of testosterone, impacting testosterone levels as well. Taking creatine supplements is a practical and beneficial way to boost testosterone levels naturally. Creatine supplements are one of the most well-known ergogenic reliefs that also have nutritional value.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of low testosterone levels, creatine supplementation in addition to testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), also referred to as hormone replacement therapy has been proven effective. Essentially, finding the type of creatine and supplement best suited for what you’re looking to accomplish in your health and body goals will make all the difference. In most cases, it can be challenging to receive results when taking supplements if you don’t have an end goal—or anything at that.
How Much Creatine Should I Take?
As recommended, you should take 3-5g of creatine daily to see results and reap the health benefits. If you’re not noticing the benefits of creatine after supplementing for some time, you may be able to increase your daily intake to 10g—depending on your body mass index (BMI).
Studies show that short and long-term supplementation (up to 30 g/day for 5 years) is safe and well-tolerated in healthy individuals and in a number of patient populations ranging from infants to the elderly. It is typically safe to take up to 30g of creatine a day, however, such high doses can often be overkill. When taking a supplement for the first time, it’s always best to play it safe and start with the recommended dose for the product. Especially if you are hesitant about any of its potential side effects, taking small doses can allow your body to adjust and react to the product.
*Unless otherwise stated, individual results may vary depending on many factors not all patients “feel” or achieve the same results.