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April 20, 2013
By A. Lee, Featured Columnist and S. Callahan, Health Editor
As we have mentioned in another recent article on creatine, there is a
massive amount of creatine used in American colleges and probably
also among professional athletes. Creatine is big business. The best
estimates are that approximately $400 million annual sales in the US.
How does creatine affect sperm? Can creatine make a man infertile? Is
there a maximum dose of creatine beyond which a man can become
Your Sperm Already Has Creatine
Creatine is a naturally occurring organic acid that our bodies use to
produce energy. Cells within our bodies have high energy
requirements. Among the cells that burn the most energy are
spermatozoa --- your little fish. By the way, the other type of cells
which have high energy needs and which use the lion's share of your
creatine are muscle cells.
As a sperm matures, the level of an enzyme that uses creatine called
"creatine kynase" increases. Creatine kinase, as a 1998 study from
Cleveland Clinic Foundation's Department of Urology indicates, actually
indicates that a sperm has sufficiently matured to fertilize an egg.
Your sperm cells combine the amino acids glycine, L-arginine, and
L-methionine together with the enzyme creatine kinase to make
creatine. This naturally-produced creatine then is used to make ADP, a
form of energy used by every cell in your body but especially needed
by spermatozoa and muscle cells.
To date, there have been no scientific studies that indicate that
consuming excess creatine would in any way overload your sperm's
natural creatine needs. Excess creatine is simply delivered out of the
body as waste.
This overburdening of your body's waste disposal system does not
affect fertility although it may affect your liver and kidneys over the
long term. (Read more about creatine health effects.)
Does Creatine Make Men Sterile
To date, there have been no scientific studies which link creatine with
increased sterility in men.
The opposite, however, has been almost proved. That is, certain
substances that interfere with creatine kinase --- which of course is
needed to produce creatine --- can make a man infertile.
For example, it is now fairly well established that even low level
exposure to certain metals can reduce a man's creatine kinase levels so
low that he can be rendered infertile. Exposure to lead, mercury,
bismuth, silver, tin, bismuth and indium reduced creatine kinase levels
significantly, a 2011 study found. The 2011 study from Ahwaz
Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences in Iran discovered that men
exposed to these metals at concentrations above 60 mug ml-1 were
rendered infertile. The researchers noted in fact that the ability of
heavy metals to interfere with creatine kinase is probably "important
cause of infertility in men."
Is There a Maximum Amount of Creatine You Can Take to Avoid
Again, since there have been no scientific studies linking the
consumption of creatine with infertility at any level, there is no set
maximum limit or maximum cut-off that you should obey to avoid
affecting your sperm quality. By sperm quality, we mean either the total
sperm count or the total amount of viable sperm. Viable sperm are both
mobile and free of genetic defects. Creatine does not damage either
your total sperm count or the health/viablity of individual sperm.
On the other hand, what you mix creatine with can affect sperm
viability. In particular, you should never mix creatine with soy protein,
because soy protein has been linked with reduced sperm counts.
Related: Top 10 Creatine Side Effects-A Comprehensive View
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|Creatine naturally occurs in protein and fish. Creatine mixed with certain drinks
containing caffeine can be toxic.. Read more