Creatine, Is It For Me?

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I’m sure most of you have heard of the supplement Creatine. Have you ever wondered what the substance is, what it does, or even considered using it? Fortunately there’s a fair amount of research done on creatine, and creatine supplementation. Most of you probably know it as a product that the local nutrition store tries to push onto you if you’re trying to build some muscle or you’ve seen advertisements in muscle magazines, but there’s more to know about creatine than what marketers make it out to be.

 

Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid that’s found in meat and fish and also naturally produced by the human body as well. The substance is  stored in your muscle cells as phosphocreatine and is used for short term energy production in glycolysis.

 

Is it for me?

 

This is a question that will depend on different factors. Firstly, not everyone responds to creatine supplementation. Athletes with high concentration of muscle creatine will likely see little to no response to supplementation. Secondly, supplementation does not benefit activities that exceed 30 seconds for the reason that creatine is part of the stored energy system that allows you to have sudden bursts to do activities such as lifting or sprinting. So if you're a distance runner or cyclist, then this doesn't really help you at all.

 

Risks & Side Effects?

 

Creatine is generally safe as a supplement though in high dosages creatine supplementation can cause serious side effects such as kidney damage. Another potential risk from taking creatine in high dosages is that the body adapts to the high level creatine stores and loses the ability to produce natural creatine on its own.

 

It’s advised that creatine is not to be taken with caffeine, diuretics, and other medications because of the increased risk of damage to the kidneys. It’s best to consult medical professionals if creatine supplementation if you are on medications.

 

Side effects of creatine supplementation include the following:

 

  • Weight gain

  • Muscle cramps

  • Muscle strains and pulls

  • Stomach upset

  • Diarrhea

  • Dizziness

  • High blood pressure

  • Liver dysfunction

  • Kidney damage

 

Final Thoughts

 

From all the reading of done and having been on this supplement myself I’d have to say it’s generally a safe product. All I’d have to say is to avoid getting trapped into buying the fancy creatine “matrixes” or “stacks” by the meathead at your local nutrition shop. You’ll want to get just the plain Jane creatine monohydrate powder, it’ll save you tons of money. The other word of advice I’d offer is to ignore the directions on the container of your product, I’ve found that the manufactures tend to suggest higher dosages than what’s recommended based on research.  Other than that it really comes down to what your goals are and  why you’re supplementing. As mentioned previously, there’s no benefit to using the product if you’re planning on improving your long distance goals, but if you’re looking to get that extra edge for that extra burst in power, or to help you get that extra rep in, then this is something that might help you. For more information on dosages and  information on creatine itself check out the links below:

 

http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/creatine/background/hrb-20059125

 

https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/creatine

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