I’m considering taking creatine to boost my muscle gaining. However, i’ve heard that creatine may lead to kidney
damage and muscle tear, which worries me. Do almost every bodybuilder inculding yourself take creatine? Is it safe?
Is it safer to have a on-off period while taking creatine? (ie. one month of taking creatine followed by a month
without creatine). Lastly, what do i need to look our for while purchasing creatine since there’re countless brands
available in the market?
Despite what rumours you have heard about creatine it is very safe to use and actually has numerous health benefits.
Your body needs creatine to for good health just like it needs vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc. Almost every
bodybuilder uses creatine because it works and it is good for you.
I personally use ProLab Pure Creatine Monohydrate. This is one of the best deals on creatine. You get 200 servings
for only $24. Works out to only 12 cents per serving.
You should download The Creatine Report. This is a free report that will answer all your creatine questions.
Creatine is similar to anabolic steroids. Myth. Steroids mimic testosterone and are banned in the Olympics and in professional sports. By contrast, the International Olympic Committee, professional sports leagues, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association do not prohibit creatine. (The NCAA won’t let colleges give it to athletes, though.)
Creatine can help you build muscle mass without hitting the gym. Myth. It shows some improvement in kids with muscular dystrophy, even if they’re not exercising, says Mark Tarnopolsky, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pediatrics and medicine and director of the neuromuscular and neurometabolic clinic at McMaster University Medical Center in Ontario. “[But] the best effect in healthy humans is seen when creatine is combined with resistance exercise training.”
Creatine causes gastrointestinal upset. True—but it’s rare. Tarnopolsky says his studies show 5 to 7 percent of people experience either stomach aches, diarrhea, or both. (More seriously, we spoke to expert Lou Schuler about whether Creatine Will Make You Crazy.)
Creatine will help you run a faster 5K. Myth. Creatine helps athletes with more fast-twitch muscle fibers (used to swing a baseball bat) more than athletes with more slow-twitch ones (used by marathon runners). “If you’re an endurance athlete, if you’re not doing something that involves the fast-twitch muscle fibers, you don’t need to be on creatine,” says orthopedic surgeon Tony Wanich, M.D., a sports medicine specialist at Montefiore Medical Center in New York.
If you do want to run a faster 5K, use this plan from Rachel Cosgrove, C.S.C.S. You’ll run only three days a week, but finish faster than ever before!
Creatine causes weight gain. Fact. (But that’s kind of the point.) It pulls H2O into your muscles, which causes water-weight gain and makes muscles look bigger initially. (You don’t actually gain muscle fibers until you work out.) “Creatine is a molecule that has a very strong attraction for water,” says Gordon Purser, Ph.D., a professor of chemistry at the University of Tulsa who studies creatine and has used it himself for the past decade. No two people will have the same results. “Weight gain of about 0.8 to 2.9 percent of body weight in the first few days of creatine supplementation occurs in about two-thirds of users,” says Christine Rosenbloom, Ph.D., R.D., sports dietitian for Georgia State University Athletics and editor in chief of Sports Nutrition: A Practice Manual for Professionals. What can you expect after the water weight gain? In a study of 20-year-olds taking creatine and doing weight training, Tarnopolsky found some gained two pounds of muscle but one even gained 17 pounds of it—with the same amount of supplement and the same training.
Creatine doesn’t work well for everyone. True. “One major factor with creatine is that some people have high levels in muscle naturally,” says Tarnopolsky. Meat and fish eaters are less likely to respond than vegans, who have low levels in their diet. Your muscle makeup matters, too. Most people have about 50 percent fast-twitch fibers (responsible for sprinting and jumping) and 50 percent slow-twitch fibers (responsible for endurance exercise), says Peter Adhihetty, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of applied physiology and kinesiology at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Those guys should respond well. But people with 70 percent fast-twitch and 30 percent slow-twitch muscle will see even more results, he says.
Creatine makes you look softer. True. There’s a reason bodybuilders stop using creatine a month or so before a competition. “As the creatine hydrates itself, it causes water to flow into the muscle. That extra water may increase the volume of the muscles, but it also makes them look mushy rather than defined,” says Purser. Your move: Take it during the fall, winter, and spring to build muscle. Go off it during the summer to show off your beach abs.
Do you have pounds of belly fat you want to lose? Check out The Lean Belly Prescription—the no-diet, no workout plan that’s better than running 5 miles a day!
Creatine users will lose muscle when they stop taking the supplement. Myth. Your muscles may look smaller because creatine adds water volume. “The real question is, ‘Will you maintain your strength and muscle mass, dry muscle mass, when you discontinue the use of creatine?’ ” says Purser. “The answer to that is absolutely yes. Once you have built the muscle, as long as you continue to lift, you will maintain it.”
You shouldn’t take too much creatine. Fact. “It is illogical to take more than 20 grams a day for a week max or seven grams a day for months,” says Tarnopolsky. “[There is] no evidence that this would do anything more in terms of loading the muscle, so why on earth would someone waste money and time and effort for unknown risks and zippo added benefit. Anything in the world—sugar, coffee, fat, protein, salt—taken in excess can lead to health issues.”
There have been numerous studies conducted on creatine supplementation, all of which have concluded long-term creatine use does not appear to have any negative side effects on the liver or kidneys.
There is no truth to the occasional rogue media stories claiming that creatine causes kidney stones or liver failure. Most of the concerns about the safety of creatine supplementation revolve around how well the kidneys are filtering blood.
Perhaps the confusion comes from elevated levels of creatinine (a marker used to diagnose kidney problems), which occurs following supplementation with creatine. However, this “false positive” is in no way harmful to your body. Moreover, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that chronic supplementation with the recommended creatine dose is detrimental to kidney function.3
Several studies have found no adverse effects of creatine supplementation on how well the kidneys filter blood.4,5 Additionally, there have been hundreds of studies looking at the overall safety of the supplement.
Since I don’t expect you to read through every article, here’s a quick review of the safety literature:
12 weeks of creatine supplementation has no effect on blood lipid profiles.6
Long-term creatine supplementation does not adversely affect markers of health in athletes.7,8
To date, studies have not found significant changes in renal, hepatic, cardiac, or muscle function with creatine supplementation.9
Okay, I think you get the point. The safety of creatine has been demonstrated over and over again, with some as long as five years.9 Bottom line: Creatine does not cause damage to the liver, kidneys, or any other organ for that matter.