Creatine is probably one of the most common supplements used by bodybuilders for muscle building. Most of the rhetoric on its benefits were told through the grapevine, and alongside its relatively affordable prices, it is no wonder that creatine is widely adopted by gymsters.
But nobody should be putting anything into their body without weighing the benefits of risk. So we turned to some of the smartest minds in nutrition in order to answer all the questions about creatine.
What Is Creatine?
A human’s body actually makes its own creatine through your kidney and liver after protein consumption. Muscles then convert creatine into creatine phosphate, which is then generated into adenosine triphosphate (ATC), which the body uses for explosive exercises.
Supplement manufacturers have made creatine intake more efficient by providing a powdered, liquid or pill for easy consumption.
Also important: Creatine supplementation should be considered complementary to consuming protein, not a replacement. That is because creatine and protein work in different ways. In short, creatine leads to more strength during workout while protein leads to more muscle repair.
What Are The Effects of Creatine?
Creatine increases the body’s ability to produce energy rapidly. Because it exists naturally in a human’s body and helps to fuel the muscles, some take it as a supplement to boost performance in the gym.
The mechanism is straightforward: Energy enables a person to lift more weight, tear more muscle fiber, hence the body can repair and build bigger and stronger muscles.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus, creatine is rated as ‘possibly effective’ when it comes to improving muscle strength.
“There is a lot of mixed research on creatine’s ability to improve muscle strength,” the government website says. “However, analyses of this research show that creatine seems to modestly improve upper body strength and lower body strength in both younger and older adults.” Creatine has also been shown to improve athlete’s performance in rowing, soccer and jumping height.”
“You should feel good about your creatine supplementation,” says Michael Roussell. “Take 5 grams of creatine monohydrate with your workout shake to help you get bigger and stronger.”
Although some research has pointed to creatine’s efficacy for high-intensity, explosive exercises like sprinting, the overall results have been mixed.
What Are The Short-Term Effects of Creatine?
One thing is almost certain: If you take creatine, you will gain weight.
“Creatine is a quick way to add muscle, but not without some water weight too,” said Carolyn Brown, R.D., a nutrition counselor at Foodtrainers. “Most people gain between two and four pounds of water retention in the first week.”
But that water weight is good, Rousell points out: “Creatine’s going to pull more water into your muscles, making your muscles bigger and fuller.”
What Are The Long-Term Effects of Creatine?
After that initial retention period, subsequent gains are due to the increase in the workload you can handle, according to Paul Greenhaff, Ph.D., professor of muscle metabolism at the University of Nottingham in England.
Some guys think that if they take creatine and don’t work out, they will put on fat, but Roussell says it is not true.
“Creatine contains no calories, and has no impact on your fat metabolism,” he explains. “So taking creatine and not working out is just going to lead to nothing.”
What Are The Best Forms of Creatine?
Not all creatine supplements are made equal.
“If you are going to add a supplement in, make sure it is creatine monohydrate,” Brown said. “A lot of other supplements out there will have a lot of junk that you don’t need, and they will be much more expensive.”
Powder is the way to go. Studies show that liquid creatine and creatine ethyl ester (CEE) are unstable and break down in your blood system. Don’t bother with them.
Chad Kerksick, Ph.D., assistant professor of exercise physiology at the University of Oklahoma, recommends 100% pure creatine powder. Some companies add electrolytes and other ingredients, but tests indicate those do little to improve performance.
“Save money and buy creatine powder and [mix it with] fruit juice,” Kerksick says.
Fruit juice? That’s right – The sugar in the juice raises insulin levels, which helps increase creatine uptake into the muscle. Sports beverages work just fine too.
You need about 70 grams of simple sugars for every five grams of creatine, Greenhaff says. He suggests looking for a drink or supplement with 60 grams of carbs per 100 grams of product.
You will know the powder is of poor quality if it is hard to dissolve and there’s residue at the bottom of your glass after you drink it. You want the powder in your muscles, not in the glass. If this happens, try a different brand.
Will Creatine Mess With Kidneys, Blood Sugar, or Cause Muscular Dystrophy?
Don’t believe everything you read on Internet forums.
Researchers are constantly studying creatine for its effectiveness and safety. That’s why many trainers and health experts support the use of creatine: Studies indicate it is safe.
“Creatine is one of the most-researched sports supplements out there,” Kerksick says. “And there is no published literature to suggest it is unsafe.”
There have been anecdotal reports of kidney damage, blood sugar concerns, heart problems, muscle cramps and pulls, dehydration, and diarrhoea, in addition to other negative side effects. But the keyword is anecdotal.
“I am not saying people don’t experience cramps, but I don’t believe it can be very common,” Greenhaff says. “If there were any major adverse side effects, we would have seen them by now.”
Some of these conditions can be caused by consuming too much of certain vitamins, says Tod Cooperman, M.S., president of ConsumerLab.com. “Too much vitamin C can cause diarrhoea, and too much iron may lead to stomach problems,” he says.
To be safe, he recommends using creatine only if you are healthy and have no kidney problems. That is because your kidneys excrete creatinine, a breakdown product of creatine.
So There Are No Adverse Effects of Taking Creatine?
“I wouldn’t recommend doing anything that would show minimal improvement and possible risk,” says Jim King, M.D., president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. “Weigh the negatives and the benefits before you try it.”
Kids under age 18 should avoid creatine, King says. “Children are still in a growing phase, and we are not sure what impact creatine may have on muscles and bones as they grow,” he says. “I feel very strongly that middle and even high schoolers shouldn’t use it.”
Will Creatine Increase My Power, Strength and Body Mass?
Here is one thing all the experts can agree on: It is impossible to say as creatine has different effects on every individual.
Of course, a healthy diet is key to anyone’s muscle-building plan. “If your diet is junk, there is no point in adding creatine,” Kerksick says.
But if you were looking to get your creatine, pick MMX Creatine for the best outcome at an affordable price.
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Article Source & Reference: https://www.menshealth.com/nutrition/a19515624/creatine-side-effects-what-it-is-what-it-does/