The relationship between creatine supplementation and growth hormone levels has been a subject of research, though studies have shown varied results.
In this article, we'll explore the research and find out if creatine boosts growth hormone levels or not.
Studies on Creatine & Growth Hormone
Below are three studies we've examined for the effect of creatine supplementation and growth hormone levels.
1. Significant Stimulated Growth Hormone Release
A study by Schedel et al. (2000) found that acute ingestion of high doses of creatine in resting conditions significantly stimulated growth hormone secretion in healthy male subjects, suggesting an indirect anabolic property of creatine (Schedel et al., 2000).
2. 6 Week Creatine Supplementation Increases GH
Tyka et al. (2015) observed that six-week creatine malate supplementation combined with physical training in athletes led to a significant increase in growth hormone levels in sprinters.
This suggests a potential ergogenic effect of creatine, particularly in enhancing anaerobic exercise indices and morphological indices (Tyka et al., 2015).
3. No Significant Effect
Another study by Volek et al. (2004) examined the effects of creatine supplementation on body composition, performance, and resting hormone concentrations during resistance training.
While the study found various improvements in muscular performance and body composition, it reported that growth hormone levels and IGF-1 were not significantly affected (Volek et al., 2004).
Does Creatine Boost Growth Hormone?
While some studies indicate that creatine supplementation can stimulate growth hormone secretion, particularly under certain conditions like high-intensity physical training or acute high-dose ingestion, the overall evidence is not entirely consistent.
There may be a potential mechanism of action for increase growth hormone levels but it's not clear.
However, an increase in IGF-1 may be a more likely mechanism of creatines anabolic properties than growth hormone.
Studies on Creatine & IGF-1
Below are the studies we've analysed for an effect of creatine on IGF hormones.
1. 30% Increase of IGF-1 and 40% Increase of IGF-2
One study showed that creatine supplementation after 5 days increased resting muscle expression of IGF-1 by 30% and IGF-2 by 40%. (L. Deldicque et al)
2. IGF-1 Levels Not Affected
Another study showed that 17 men undergoing resistance training and overreaching who took creatine did not have changes in IGF or growth hormone levels. (J. Volek et al)
Although they still experienced improvements in muscular performance and body composition.
3. Increased Muscular IGF-1 Concentration
A study showed that 42 men and women who were resistance training experienced increases in intramuscular IGF-1 levels. (D. Burke et al)
4. Creatine Increases IGF-1 mRNA in Muscle Cells
In cell studies of C2C12 cells, creatine increases IGF-1 mRNA levels, partially mediating hypertrophy. (Magali Louis et al)
Although this doesn't exactly crossover into animal or human studies it suggests a potential for increases in IGF.
5. Creatine Up-Regulates IGF/AKT/mTOR
Another study showed that rats supplemented with creatine showed increases in IGF/AKT/mTOR protein expression, an anabolic pathway. (R. Ferretti et al)
However, interestingly a high-fat diet suppressed this activity.
Does Creatine Increase IGF?
The studies we've analysed suggest that creatine supplementation increases IGF-1 expression in muscles, but may not affect IGF-1 levels in some cases, such as during short-term resistance training overreaching or in response to a high-fat diet.
However, there is still not enough evidence to clearly say whether creatine increases IGF or not.
While there may be mechanisms and research to suggest an increase in growth hormone and IGF levels, there's not enough evidence to have a clear answer.