|Poor guy! Must have taken too much creatine and treated his hair for muscle ;-) Ok, seriously, creatine may have helped a little that he was able to build this impressive physique, but the hair? Come on, seriously!?|
Never heard something like that? I suggest you trust my word, then; and in case you want "scientific evidence" head over to www.pubmed.com and type in "creatine D" it will offer you "creatine DHT" as one of the typical search phrases people are looking for.
Cock-and-bull - right?
It is true that there is a study that supports the concept of increased DHT levels in athletes (20 collegiate rugby players to be precise) in response to 21 days of creatine supplementation. The athletes who participated in the said trial came from a Rugby Institute situated near Stellenbosch University in South Africa. None of the subjects had taken any supplements with their normal diet for 6 weeks before the trial in the course of which all had been randomized to one of the following groups:
- creatine: 25g creatine + 25g glucose for 7 days; 5g crea + 25g glucose for 14 days
- placebo: 50g glucose for 7 days; 30g glucose for 14 days
|Instead of simply taking more you may rather want to "Super Charge Creatine W/ Baking Soda" | learn more|
|Figure 1: Serum DHT levels total (left) and expressed relative to baseline levels in control group (right); data calculated based on van der Merwe et al. 2009|
The high DHT levels observed in the study at hand, were only midrange
If that does not comfort you, maybe it will help, if I tell you that the reference range for adult men ranges from 0.8-3.4 nmol/L (NHS Pathology. 2013 - please note that these reference ranges vary from lab to lab, in ng/dL the upper limit usually is 85ng/dL, which is 2.93nmol/L). Accordingly, the total DHT level of the subjects in the van der Merwe study did not even scratch the 50% mark on the reference range, when they maxed out at the end of the 7-day loading phase.
With a meager 9% difference to the baseline levels in the control group and a total DHT level of 1.38nmol/L in the "low DHT" zone of the reference range, I wouldn't say it is necessary (from a mere safety perspective) to investigate, as Green suggested it in a 2010 letter to the editor, whether the creatine supplement that has been used in the study may have been contaminated with androgenic compounds (Green. 2010). To answer the question about the why, i.e. "Why did the DHT levels in the creatine group go up, while those in the control group remained the same?", it would yet in fact be nice to know if we were dealing with the side effects of androgenic compounds in the creatine supplement or the physiological effects of exercise, which has repeatedly been shown to be able to increase both intra-muscular and systemic DHT levels in men and rodent models (see the bottom line for selected references).
|Want to learn how to modulate your DHT levels naturally? Rice, safflower, sorghum & Co. can help! learn more|
And while I cannot tell you if this actually was the reason for the increase in DHT, I can tell you that the scientists assertion that what they observed was a "large increase in DHT rather than a marginal (possibly physiologically insignificant)" (van de Merwe. 2009) is (at best) warranted if we look at the intra-group effect. In view of the broad "normal" range and the low baseline DHT levels in the creatine group, this relevance of this relative increase is yet more than questionable.
And the increasing DHT:Testosterone ratio?
Even at the risk of sounding like a smart ass, I do not want to forgot to mention that the "oh so dangerous" increase in DHT/T levels the scientists emphasize in their conclusion was found to be associated with a reduced risk of hair loss (-35% risk reduction) in 315 male subjects who were stratified with regard to age, race, and case-control (Demark-Wahnefried. 1997).
This and similar observations which have been made by Nomura et al. (1988), Hsing (1993) Shaneyfelt (2000) with respect to the non-significant impact of high(er) serum DHT levels on the occurance of prostate cancer and, more importantly, the increased risk that comes with higher T:DHT ratios, I seriously doubt that you have to be concerned about either your superb head of hair or your hitherto still pain and cancer free prostate when you are downing your daily dose of 3-5g creatine monohydrate.
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- Buford T, Kreider R, Stout J, Greenwood M, Campbell B, Spano M, Ziegenfuss T, Lopez H, Landis J, Antonio J:International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation and exercise.J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2007;4.
- Cerhan JR, Torner JC, Lynch CF, Rubenstein LM, Lemke JH, Cohen MB, Lubaroff DM, Wallace RB. Association of smoking, body mass, and physical activity with risk of prostate cancer in the Iowa 65+ Rural Health Study (United States). Cancer Causes Control. 1997 Mar;8(2):229-38.
- Demark-Wahnefried W, Lesko SM, Conaway MR, Robertson CN, Clark RV, Lobaugh B,
Mathias BJ, Strigo TS, Paulson DF. Serum androgens: associations with prostate
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- Hickner R, Dyck D, Sklar J, Hatley H, Byrd P:Effect of 28 days of creatine ingestion on muscle metabolism and performance of a simulated cycling road race.J Int Soc Sports Nutr 2010;7:26.
- Hsing AW, Comstock GW. Serological precursors of cancer: serum hormones and risk of subsequent prostate cancer. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 1993 Jan-Feb;2(1):27-32.
- 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;19(5):399-404.
- Nomura A, Heilbrun LK, Stemmermann GN, Judd HL. Prediagnostic serum hormones and the risk of prostate cancer. Cancer Res. 1988 Jun 15;48(12):3515-7.
- Shaneyfelt T, Husein R, Bubley G, Mantzoros CS. Hormonal predictors of prostate cancer: a meta-analysis. J Clin Oncol. 2000 Feb;18(4):847-53.
- Van der Merwe J, Brooks NE, Myburgh KH. Three weeks of creatine monohydrate supplementation affects DHT to testosterone ratio in college-aged rugby players.Clin J Sports Med. 2009;19:399–404.
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