Creatine is seriously amazing stuff. No really.
Every bodybuilder should without a doubt be using some form of creatine. Not only is it incredible for giving you that extra bit of fuel to keep on pumping out reps in the gym but it’s also excellent for increasing mass almost overnight by aiding water retention in the muscles.
On top of that, creatine can also boost your athletic performance and recent studies show that it even boosts your brain power.
But as though all of that were not enough, it turns out that creatine is also excellent for increasing testosterone and hypertrophy. Let’s take a look at how…
The Link Between Creatine and Testosterone
Creatine doesn’t just boost testosterone levels but at the same time helps to convert it into the more potent and bioavailable ‘DHT’ (dihydrotestosterone). DHT is in fact 3-10 times more potent than testosterone and is the strongest of all the androgens in the body.
So even if creatine didn’t do anything to raise testosterone levels, it would still be highly useful for aiding anabolism. But the fact is that it does also raise testosterone, which makes it a perfect storm for increasing anabolism and muscle growth.
One study in 2009 demonstrated that after 7 days of loading creatine, followed by 14 days of creatine maintenance (as most bodybuilders know, this is the way most manufacturers recommend using the product) testosterone increased just slightly and DHT increased by a large degree. Specifically, DHT increased by 56% immediately following the loading phase and then stayed at 40% above the baseline during and after the maintenance phase.
In another study, athletes were divided into three groups. One of these received a placebo, another received creatine and another received creatine mixed with beta alanine. It was found that the creatine group demonstrated increased testosterone levels and increased power output.
Yet another study also showed similarly good results from creatine supplementation. Here 17 men were asked to purposefully ‘overtrain’ in the gym and were then split into two groups. One received a placebo, the other received 0.3 grams of creatine. The result was that the creatine group was able to retain power output and free testosterone levels more effectively than the placebo group.
Many more studies have also demonstrated similar results with creatine supplementation leading to one inescapable conclusion: creatine raises both testosterone levels and DHT.
So how do you go about supplementing with creatine?
The good news is that it’s cheap and easy to come by. To use, you will normally have a loading phase where you use about 20 grams a day (for 5-7 days) and then follow this with a maintenance phase of 2-5 grams for around a month. This way you can ensure your body has enough of a supply of creatine without building levels up too high in the kidneys. There are other ways to take creatine however and really the best strategy will depend on your personal preferences and the product you use.
But whatever you do, just make sure that you are using a creatine supplement in one form or another.