Updated: Oct 12
TL;DR: Creatine's ability to boost testosterone levels is unproven.
Creatine is well-known for boosting physical performance. However, it's also been advertised as a testosterone booster on occasion. But is this actually backed up by any research?
In this article, I'll look into the research and see if creatine is able to increase testosterone levels.
Why Is Creatine Thought to Increase Testosterone?
Creatine helps you exercise harder and lift heavier weights by helping regenerate adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the main energy source for your cells.
This anabolic impact is indirect, since it is mediated by an increase in exercise intensity, however, this is still anabolic in nature, similarly to testosterone.
Creatine is often wrongfully thought of as a steroid, which is related to hormones (specifically testosterone), not only that, but creatine also increases dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
For these reasons, creatine is often thought of and claimed to increase testosterone.
In saying that, there is the possibility of an indirect effect on testosterone levels.
Lifting weights increases testosterone production for a short period of time, and we also know that creatine enables you to lift larger weights, so theoretically, creatine might potentially result in a higher rise in testosterone. (1, 2)
Three studies investigate this idea.
The first study consisted of 20 healthy young rugby players who were split into two groups. (3)
The creatine group received a one-week loading dosage (25 grams/day) followed by a two-week maintenance dose (5 grams/day). The testosterone levels of the individuals did not alter in either the placebo or the creatine groups.
However, at the conclusion of the trial, the creatine group had a substantial rise in dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a highly active androgen produced from testosterone that has been linked to hair loss.
This is the only study to date that has looked at creatine's impact on DHT.
Second & Third Study
The creatine group in each study showed a substantial rise in testosterone after ingesting 20 grams/day for 1 week, while the placebo group experienced no change. In the first trial, the rise was 0.57 ng/ml (57 ng/dl), while in the second, it was 1.5 ng/mL (150 ng/dl).
The hormone increases were statistically significant but modest in all three trials, keeping the individuals well within normal limits.
Ten additional studies with a total of 218 individuals investigated for a link between creatine and testosterone levels.
They ranged in duration from 6 to 10 weeks, with daily creatine dosages ranging from 3 to 25 grams (except for one study that used 4 pre-workout doses over 10 weeks). (6)
Creatine had no impact on testosterone levels, according to all of them.
9 of the 10 studies utilised creatine monohydrate, while the remanning study used creatine malate (0.07 grams/kg of body weight per day) on 19 young male runners for 6 weeks. (7)
There have been no studies conducted in males with low testosterone levels.
Nor has there been any studies conducted in females, but given the mostly negative findings of the male research, we may speculate that creatine supplementation has no effect on female testosterone levels.
Finally, in addition to the quantity of research, the durations of each study should be considered.
Studies that observed a rise in testosterone or DHT lasted 1-3 weeks, whereas those that did not see an increase lasted up to 12 weeks.
Longer studies aren't necessarily more trustworthy than shorter ones, but they do have more practical implications.
For example, a given rise in testosterone may have a substantial impact on muscle growth over several months but not over several days.
To summarise, creatine supplementation seemed to have a possible testosterone or DHT boosting impact in three studies, but no effect was found in another ten.
However, there is still a lack of conclusive research. Based on the majority of the results, there is likely no significant impact on testosterone levels, and if there is, it is likely a small change and indirect from supplementing with creatine itself.
This section contains links to research, studies, and sources of information for this article, as well as authors, contributors, etc. All sources, along with the article and facts, are subjected to a series of quality, reliability, and relevance checks.
Real Muscle primarily uses high-quality sources, such as peer-reviewed publications, to back up the information in our articles. To understand more about how we fact-check and keep our information accurate, dependable, and trustworthy, read more about us.
This evidence based analysis on if creatine can boost testosterone features 9 references, listed below.
1. Kraemer WJ, Ratamess NA. Hormonal responses and adaptations to resistance exercise and training. Sports Med. (2005) (Review) ✔
2. O'Leary CB, Hackney AC. Acute and chronic effects of resistance exercise on the testosterone and cortisol responses in obese males: a systematic review. Physiol Res. (2014) (Review) ✔
3. van der Merwe J, Brooks NE, Myburgh KH. Three weeks of creatine monohydrate supplementation affects dihydrotestosterone to testosterone ratio in college-aged rugby players. Clin J Sport Med. (2009, Sep) (Randomised Controlled Trial) ✔
4. D. Sheikholeslami Vatani, H. Faraji, R. Soori, M. Mogharnasi. The effects of creatine supplementation on performance and hormonal response in amateur swimmers. Science & Sports. (2011)
5. H. Arazi, F. Rahmaninia, K. Hosseini, A. Asadi. Effects of short term creatine supplementation and resistance exercises on resting hormonal and cardiovascular responses. Science & Sports. (2015)
6. Cook CJ, Crewther BT, Kilduff LP, Drawer S, Gaviglio CM. Skill execution and sleep deprivation: effects of acute caffeine or creatine supplementation - a randomized placebo-controlled trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. (2011, Feb 16). ✔
7. Tyka AK, Chwastowski M, Cison T, Palka T, Tyka A, Szygula Z, Pilch W, Strzala M, Cepero M. Effect of creatine malate supplementation on physical performance, body composition and selected hormone levels in spinters and long-distance runners. Acta Physiol Hung. (2015, Mar) (Comparative Study) ✔
8. Eijnde BO, Hespel P. Short-term creatine supplementation does not alter the hormonal response to resistance training. Med Sci Sports Exerc. (2001, Mar) (Clinical Trial) ✔
9. Cooke MB, Brabham B, Buford TW, Shelmadine BD, McPheeters M, Hudson GM, Stathis C, Greenwood M, Kreider R, Willoughby DS. Creatine supplementation post-exercise does not enhance training-induced adaptations in middle to older aged males. Eur J Appl Physiol. (2014, Jun) (Randomised Controlled Trial) ✔
✔ Citations with a tick indicate the information is from a trusted source.
The information provided in this article is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the guidance of a physician or other competent professional before following advice or taking any supplement. See our terms and conditions.