Creatine is one of the most popular supplements among athletes of all ages. Just check this out:
- 44% of 12th-grade athletes have used creatine
- Almost half of all high school athletes use it
- Nearly 30% of D1 athletes use it regularly
Although no research indicates how many older athletes use creatine, we can guess it’s a similar story.
Creatine is cheap, legal, and, most importantly, effective. It can help you build muscle and strength, improve your performance, and speed up recovery.
But there’s one potential downside of creatine that has some guys out there worried: gynecomastia.
Gyno, often called “man boobs,” is a condition where men develop enlarged breasts. It can be caused by various things, including weight gain, hormonal imbalances, certain drugs, and medical conditions.
So, does creatine cause gynecomastia? Let’s take a closer look.
How Does Creatine Work?
Creatine is a molecule found naturally in your body, mostly in your muscles. It’s also found in small amounts in some foods, like meat and fish.
When you work out, your muscles use ATP (adenosine triphosphate) for energy. Creatine helps your body recycle ATP so you can keep going strong during workouts.
Supplementing with creatine can help increase your muscle stores of phosphocreatine, which can then be used to make ATP (energy) during exercise.
How Does Creatine Affect Your Body?
Creatine is one of the most well-researched supplements out there, and the vast majority of the research shows that it’s safe and effective.
Creatine has been shown to:
- Build muscle and strength
- Improve exercise performance
- Speed up recovery
- Even boost brain function
There are a few potential side effects of creatine, but they’re usually only seen in people who take too much or have some underlying medical condition.
The most common side effects of creatine are:
- Muscle cramping
- Weight gain
Does Creatine Mess With Your Hormones?
Creatine doesn’t seem to have any effect on your hormones. According to a study published in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise journal, short-term creatine supplementation has 0 effects on testosterone, LH (luteinizing hormone), and cortisol levels in men.
When taken in modernity, creatine won’t affect your body irregularly. But what about excessive amounts of creatine? What does that do?
Well, that’s where a lot of the concerns come from. Long-term, excessive creatine monohydrate use could potentially lead to a hormonal disbalance.
Can Creatine Cause Cysts?
In the past, certain people thought high doses of creatine might cause liver and kidney issues.
While there have been rare instances of acute fulminant liver failure caused by creatine, these cases are so few, and far between that they’re considered statistically irrelevant.
Recent research also suggests that creatine doesn’t cause any kidney issues in healthy people, even when taken in high doses.
However, if you have any pre-existing liver or kidney issues, you should consult a doctor before taking any supplements, including creatine.
Now, let’s move on to the main event: does creatine cause gynecomastia?
What is Gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is a condition where men develop enlarged breasts. You’ve probably heard it called “man boobs” before. It usually manifests in overweight people, but it can also be caused by hormonal imbalances, certain drugs, and medical conditions – but more on that later.
The condition can occur in one or both breasts and can range from a small amount of breast tissue to large, noticeable breasts. It can cause emotional distress and physical pain and make it difficult to find clothes that fit properly.
- Decreased self-esteem
- Avoidance of social situations
- Extreme self-consciousness
What Causes Gynecomastia?
A few things can cause gynecomastia, but the most common cause is an imbalance between estrogen and testosterone hormones.
You see, both men and women have estrogen in their bodies. It’s not just a “female hormone.” Men need estrogen to maintain their bone density, cognitive function, and cardiovascular health.
However, when the ratio of estrogen to testosterone is too high, it can lead to gynecomastia.
Other causes of gynecomastia include:
- Certain drugs, like anabolic steroids, some cancer treatments, and heartburn medications
- Medical conditions like liver failure, kidney failure, and hyperthyroidism.
- Obesity can cause an increase in the aromatase enzyme, leading to more estrogen production
Does Creatine Cause Gynecomastia?
Creatine does not cause gynecomastia. No matter how many forum posts you’ve read that claim otherwise, it’s not the case.
No evidence suggests that creatine causes gynecomastia or any other hormonal imbalance. Numerous plastic surgeons specializing in gynecomastia have found no link between creatine and the condition.
Creatine is a simple organic acid that helps provide the energy your muscles need to contract. It does not mess with your hormones or any other part of your body in a way that could lead to gynecomastia.
Does Creatine Make Gyno Worse?
The answer to this question is “no” as well. We mentioned earlier that estrogen production could be increased by obesity, and some people worry that creatine might worsen this.
However, creatine won’t make gynecomastia any worse. It might even help with weight loss, as it can increase lean muscle mass.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Triggers Gyno?
The most common trigger for gynecomastia is an imbalance between estrogen and testosterone. That can be caused by several things, including obesity, certain drugs, and medical conditions.
What Can Worsen Gyno?
Certain medications like antibiotics, antidepressants, chemotherapy, and cardiovascular medications can worsen the effects of gynecomastia.
Can Work Out Supplements Cause Gynecomastia?
Anabolic steroids, often used by athletes and bodybuilders, can cause gynecomastia. However, protein supplements, creatine, and other workout supplements will not cause the condition.
Which Drugs Can Cause Gynecomastia?
Certain illegal drugs like heroin and marijuana can also make gynecomastia worse.
Can You Get Gyno from Creatine: Final Verdict
Creatine does not cause gynecomastia, and it will not make the condition worse. If you’re taking creatine and develop gynecomastia, it’s most likely due to another factor, like an imbalance of hormones or certain medications.