Lean Muscle Machine
You may have heard of this amino acid in magazines, videos, websites, or even your buddy from the gym. But is creatine worth it? This question has been asked for years, which is a good reason why creatine is the most researched supplement on the market.
People tend to praise creatine for the positive effects it’s done on their bodies, while others bash it for specific hazards it’s plagued them with. In today’s article, we’ll be getting down and dirty to exactly what creatine has in store, and if it’s worth taking. Even if you’re a seasoned creatine consumer, you may want to stick around. You may learn a thing or two.
What is Creatine?
Creatine monohydrate, or creatine as many people call it, is an amino acid that is composed of the breakdown of two other amino acids, glycine and arginine. Our bodies produce creatine, our kidneys and livers to be exact, but synthetic creatine is still popular. (1✔)
Why is Creatine Important?
The primary use our bodies have with creatine is primarily to convert it into more energy, or ATP. This is why you see a lot of bodybuilders and athletes take creatine supplements. An increase in energy production results in improvements in athletic performance. (2✔)
Then, with improved athletic performance, muscle mass tends to increase. This is why creatine is correlated to increase muscle mass, even though it is indirect. If you don’t train while on creatine, the muscle mass increase won’t exist. (3✔)
How Do I Take Creatine?
When the act of actually taking a supplement is debated furiously by the community, you know it has many controversies. There are primarily two sides that claim they know how to “properly” creatine, the “loaders,” and the “non-loaders.”
When you first start taking creatine, the “loaders” advise on a loading phase on your first week. It basically means upping your dosages to about 20g of creatine daily for an entire week and then dropping back to the normal 5g.
The “non-loaders” say that the initial upping of dosages is non-sense. Research has shown that starting with a loading phase compared to a loading-less phase shows not much difference. The “non-loaders” have science on their side for this one. (4✔)
Either one will provide you the same results, even if one may cause you to run out faster. If you’re fine with that, use a loading phase. If not, you can skip it altogether.
Is Creatine Expensive?
For a supplement that has gone through countless research and been put through so many studies, you’d think it’d be something for the wealthy. But on the contrary. Creatine monohydrate is actually a very inexpensive supplement almost anyone can buy.
I reviewed one of my favorite creatines I’ve personally used, and compared to some of the other supplements on the market, it’s less than $15. Plus, it lasts quite a long time, as I mentioned in the review, about 2-3 months.
Is Creatine Worth It?
To answer this question, I’d like to give all the information I know about creatine first, let you decide, and give my opinion on creatine. A couple of things are pros creatine holds, while others are cons that you could hold against creatine.
Gain Muscle Not Fat
However, many individuals experience a sense of bloating when consuming creatine for the first time on a loading phase. This is because creatine retains a lot of water for the muscle, which gives it its fuller look. This isn’t necessarily fat gain, just the water retaining in your muscles. (6✔)
Improve Brain Function
I’m not kidding when a lot of research has been conducted on creatine. It’s to the point where effects on the brain have been measured, and they’ve been positive. Responses from the brain have been seen from creatine supplements, especially in certain conditions.
Positive impacts have been seen on sleep deprivation, experimental hypoxia, or during the performance of more complex and cognitively demanding tasks. Improvement in memory can be seen from taking creatine, as demonstrated in participants from a memory game. (7✔,8✔)
Not only that, but studies have shown that even individuals with traumatic brain injuries have seen improvements from creatine. The graph above shows how much of a difference the two groups experienced dizziness, headache, and fatigue just from taking creatine. (9✔)
Great For Vegans/Vegetarians
Vegans and vegetarians alike do not eat meat, nor chicken, nor fish. These are all sources from which many people get their creatine for their diets. With this huge void of creatine needing to be filled, veggies could resort to creatine supplements.
They actually would get the most “bang for their buck” from the creatine supplements. Since their bodies don’t get to feast on all that much creatine. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, a creatine supplement would fit very nicely in your diet. (10✔)
False Dehydration Claims
There have been many claims on creatine monohydrate stating that it causes dehydration because it drives water into your cells. The retention of water by your muscles will cause dehydration for the body. Or does it?
Research has shown that the directional influence of water into muscle cells is quite minor and shouldn’t cause dehydration. As a matter of fact, there’s proof that creatine actually prevents dehydration when training in intense heat. It also prevents muscle cramps and muscle injuries. (11✔)
What Do I Think?
Well, to put it shortly, I’m all for creatine. Any question or concern that you can think of about creatine, there’s without a doubt a study or experiment conducted for it already. The controversy most likely comes from the fact that it’s researched so much, even though it’s very safe.
I did forget to mention the fact that creatine has effects on your kidneys, but what a surprise, they’re harmless. Long term and short term studies have shown that creatine over time poses zero threats to your kidney. (12✔, 13✔)
I can vouch for this too, I’ve been taking creatine for quite a while, and every check-up at the doctor shows no problems with my kidneys. There may be individuals who acquire kidney problems while on creatine but aren’t necessarily correlated.
In conclusion, is creatine worth it? I’d definitely say it is. The benefits outweigh the small number of actual consequences from taking creatine. The amount of positives it can bring to your body for such a low price is remarkable.
From which the benefits include muscle gain, improved cognitive function, increased injury, and possible improvement in brain trauma. If you’re thinking of buying a creatine supplement, I’d definitely say you should go for it. It’s one of the safest supplements on the market.
Got any questions? Leave them down below, along with any comments you may have!