Creatine Controversies: The Truths, Myths and More Facts about This Popular Muscle Powder
The supplement market is filled with a lot of stuff that claims to effectively build muscle mass. Mass gainers and bodybuilders know their onions when it comes to bodybuilding. It is no surprise when you find a couple of gym-goers or athletes talking about the most competent supplement that helps in gaining muscle mass without any side effects. And it turns out to be Creatine.
There are endless articles, researches, studies you can find online as well as in other journals that provides information of the core benefits of creatine. And there are others too, containing a whole lot of crap that if you’re a newbie to supplement usage, it would be hard for you to draw the line between what’s right or wrong.
But we’ll help clear up that part of the confusion first. At least by debunking a lot of crazy myths surrounding this subject, you’ll know where to stand.
So, What Are The Facts?
Creatine is a naturally occurring nitrogenous substance that is normally found in our muscles. But it can also be compensated for in our diets most especially in fish and red meat. Because most bodybuilders usually brag about its capacity to effectively increase their muscle growth- a benefit of which many do not understand how it works.
Based on its reputation as the best bodybuilding supplement, it has become so famous in the fitness circle that it has generated a lot of controversies with the most of it being mythical. In debunking the myths surrounding this supplement, we’ll have to analyze various remarks and obstructive criticisms and eventually dig up the truth.
Firstly, creatine is not a steroid neither does it work like it in any way similar to it. While steroids are banned substances that bring about crazy side effects that are risky, creatine on the other hand is sourced from natural substances that can be used to enhance workout performance.
It is a form of amino acid that is produced in the body. And these in turn are used in the synthesis of protein which is very great for increasing muscle mass.
But then again, despite the media constantly flaunting the benefits of creatine for athletes, you shouldn’t just start the routine of downing your favorite creatine supplement and expect to become a hunk overnight.
It is expected that as part of the routine, you should use this supplement alongside an effective strength-training program. This will ensure that you will retain the muscles you have been able to build over time.
Who Can Use Creatine?
Creatine can be used by anyone but then it depends on some factors. For instance, those who are already getting sufficient dose of it from their diet might not experience much potentials coming from it. So, it might not make good economic sense to go ahead with a supplement. The best thing to do in such situation is to engage in sets of strength and muscle building routines.
Generally, those who benefits from creatine usage are vegetarians and people who are who have low quantities. Dieting alone cannot boost creatine intake since it provides about 1 gram per day. This is long way from achieving your goals. Scientists recommend taking this about 20 to 25 grams regularly if you really want to get the best results.
Because it has the ability to increase muscular endurance, athletes who require extreme energy outburst and strength can take this supplement to enhance athletic performance.
Weight lifters and strength trainers too would find this supplement incredibly useful in boosting workout performance.
How Does It Work?
When you workout, you burn energy quicker than usual. It takes some form of rest in between these strenuous sets to recover quickly. But it requires a great supplement to bring you back on track in the blink of an eye.
Creatine is stored in the muscles as creatine phosphate. This makes room for rapid energy boost especially in critical times. So, here’s how it works basically. When your muscle contacts, a molecule of phosphate is taken from ATP, thus forming ADP.
The first thing you’ll notice upon ingesting this substance is that it will draw water into your muscles. This is the likely reason you’ll notice that you have put on more weight. This isn’t always going to be like that because as long as you continue to train hard during your workout sessions, your muscles will be able to balance it up and eventually adjust to the routine.
And no, this is not a bad thing because in the process of training, you have the natural tendency to feel thirsty and dehydrated- a common attribute of creatine.
Although there is little evidence to back up the long term effects of creatine supplementation, it is also established that those who use it are not likely not to lose their bodybuilding results down the line. However, if you must retain your gains, then you must keep working out regularly for maximum effects that are long lasting.
Best Time To Take Creatine
Many people would claim that the most appropriate time to take this supplement is either before or after your workout session. Let’s analyze it briefly and see which one wins the day.
Taking it pre-workout would allow your muscles to store up waters making you heavier and gradually causing you to become heavier technically impeding your workout performance.
Therefore, it seems a much better option to take it just shortly after ending an exercise regimen.
So, Is It Actually For You?
With the variety of information available to users with most of them actually misleading, you would often wonder if this supplement is good for you after all.
Creatine supplementation offers a great deal of benefits. It has been tested in many clinical trials and has been found to be useful in treating medical conditions such as muscular dystrophy and type II diabetes.
Studies are still going to further prove other benefits that it can deliver. It is shown to reduce inflammation resulting from injuries. Those looking to enhance cognitive function can safely use it to increase concentration during learning and also reduce mental fatigue/redundancy as a result of aging- some form of nootropic effect.
It is one of the greatest supplements that have attracted the attention of medical experts. And while studies are still in progress about the great potential it has, it shows that it still has its place somewhere in the future.
What does this mean anyway? It’s a fancy term used to refer to taking creatine at periodic intervals. And why do people do this? Some folks consider it a safe landing in that it helps their body recover from the loading phase.
Apart from that, another reason people cycle is to reduce the workload on their livers and kidneys.
The maintenance phase is where you try to steady your intake in order to avoid unnecessarily overdosing it as well as avoid risky complications.
The truth is that if you prefer to cycle your supplement for 8 weeks and then go dark for another two weeks or even choose another cycling routine, it is totally up to you as long as you feel safe with it. But you certainly have to be careful when taking it with other supplements such as caffeine and ephedra.
Safety Concerns: Are There Any Side Effects?
This is the aspect many are interested in. Creatine is generally believed to be very hazardous to the kidney and the liver. But this isn’t the case as long as you take it in the required dosage. It is intended to be taken by those who with creatine deficiency or are generally have low amounts.
It has been used over the years to help bodybuilders achieve their body shape and also increase their strength during tough workouts. And till now, there have been no reported cases of any serious side effects on users.
To further buttress this point, professional athletic bodies like the NCAA (National Collegiate Association) and International Olympic committee still permits its usage. To this end, it has not been banned and it does not seem like it’s going to happen anytime soon because up till this time it is still being subjected to various medical studies with each revealing how relevant it is to one’s general haealth.
Some common side effects of creatine include diarrhea, stomach pain, and muscle cramps. These are usually the aftermath of a high creatine dosage. In addition to that, you tend to become overweight because after ingesting this supplement, water is drawn from various parts of your body and stored in your muscles causing you to be hydrated in the process.
Therefore, it is imperative to drink more water when taking it and also avoid exercising under extremely hot temperature.
On the market today, you’ll find various supplements that portray themselves as the very best out there. But you should exercise caution when buying them. If you feel you unsure about the best choice to make in this regard, it wouldn’t hurt to speak with a doctor first.
It is not advisable for pregnant and breast-feeding women to take these products because its effects has not fully established concerning such complicated conditions. It is not for those with known medical conditions which include people with diabetes, kidney and liver failure and bipolar disorders. Taking it without a medical practitioner’s advice could aggravate these conditions.
The Final Verdict
That is just exactly what it is- a muscle builder and performance enhancer. It’s been around for over a decade and its usefulness can be felt in the bodybuilding sphere.
It is true that it has a lot to offer both physiologically and health wise. However, studies are still ongoing to determine its effects long term. Users actually experience the rapid transformation it brings on especially for the hardcore trainers who need more power, energy and definitely muscles.
It all depends on which supplement brand you choose to produce that big difference you’re looking for. It is equally critical to avoid products that introduce some unwanted proprietary blend into the mix (which could be something you are probably not sure of).
Cheap is not always the “smartest” way of getting the best muscle building supplement that actually work. For all you know, you could be buying a whole bundle of worthless crap that would do you no good.
You could start by looking up some reliable supplement brands online. Read up reviews and user testimonials to ascertain what’s best for you. It is dietary supplement and should be taken with an expert’s advice.
In any case, when you eat, make sure your diet contains stuffs like chicken, red meat and seafood in general to boost its intake thereby lessening the dependence on these supplements. But if you must supplement with creatine, be sure to not to have any illness or medical conditions. Research so far has indicated that it is likely safe for use by healthy individuals.