5 MYTHS ABOUT CREATINE
If you go to the gym regurarly, you probably heard about cretine. People who take lifting seriously know, that creatine is a great supplement. However, people outside of the gym world are not familiar with it. It has a strange name – creatine monohydrate – wow, that doesn’t sound too natural and healthy. Therefore, there are many myths sorrunding creatine. It’s about time to destroy it.
Myth No.1.: Creatine is a steroid
This myth probably originates from the 1990’s. Creatine and the effects of cretine supplementation was discovered in the early ninties, and it turned out to be the best, non-steroid ergogenic supplements by far. (Ergogenics are compounds that can enhance athletic performance.) Creatine has been proven to increase anaerobic performance of the muscles and strength levels. The supplement companies started the marketing of creatine, saying things like: „you will get results comparable to steroids, without steroids”. Unfortunately, most people only remember the steroid part, and nowadays many think that creatine is a steroid.
Steroids are compounds that have a chemical structure called steroid ring. It’s a special chemical structure. Many compounds have steroid rings, like hormones (testosterone, estrogen, cortisol), but cholesterol and several plant derived compounds have steroid ring sas well.
On the other side, creatine is an amino acid derivative, that can be found in our food (like red meat). Creatine supplementation is consuming something in a very concentrated that is already present in our food. It’s the same with whey protein.
Myth No.2.: It’s bad for the kidneys
This is a quite common myth. Yes, our body metabolizes creatine to creatinine, and creatinine is excreted through the kidneys. However, increased creatinine production and excretion does not hurt the kidneys. Creatine is the most researched supplement that ever existed and it has proven to be same over and over again. Research has been going on for 25 years and every year we discover something new about creatine – and it is always a benefit. Creatine is a great supplement that can promote our health apart from our sports performance. During the 25 years of research no side effects were found, it does no harm to any of our organs – actually, creatine is healthy and the safest supplement there is.
Myth No. 3.: It will make women look manly
I hear it from women regularly: „I do not take creatine because it will make me look like a man.” That is simply not true. As we already mentioned, there is creatine in red meat – and red meat does not make you look manly. Creatine has zero effect on how manly you look, it’s just an amino acid, not a steroid. Your hair will not fall out, your jaw line will not change – nothing will happen, because, again, it’s an amino acid not a hormone. Of course, I understand that creatine is often marketed with big, strong dudes – but that does not mean that it is only for men. It has great health and performance benefits for ladies as well.
Myth No. 4.: Water retention
It’s a common myth that creatine causes water retention. That is one of the reasons why women usually avoid taking creatine. The truth is that, although creatine does increase hydration, but it’s the hydration of the muscles. Creatine increases intramuscular water. What we mean about water retention is usually subcutaneous water retention that can make you physique look soft and deflated, maybe even fat. Creatine ha zero effect on subcutaneous water.
Back in the day it was common to consume creatine with high amounts of sugar, as insulin increases insulin retention. People would drink creatine during the loading phase 4-5 times a day along with 50-80 gramms of sugar. Well, sugar increases insulin which in turn increases creatine retention, buti t increases sodium retention as well and that is what led to excessive water retention. If we use creatine withouth big amounts of sugar (creatine is just as effective that way) than we can avoid subcutaneous water retention.
Myth No. 5.: It just inflates your muscles and if you stop taking, they’ll instantly shrink
Oh, this is one of my favourites. Creatine just pumps up your muscles, but they will deflate once you stop supplementing. Yes, creatine does increase hydration, which leads to a quite fast increase in bodyweight (around 1-3 kg) in the first couple of weeks. Yes, if you stop taing creatine, you will probably pee out that amount of water and your bodyweight will decrease. However, taking creatine for longer periods of time helps you build extra muscle. I would say take creatine at least for 3 months – that is the minimum time frame in which you can build a noticeable amount of muscle mass. If you take creatine, you will build more muscle than without creatine. That is a proven fact. Creatine increases muscle hydration (which is a strong anabolic signal), it increases muscle protein synthesis (that needs no explanation), increases performance (harder training, longer training, more traning – these all lead to gains) and enhances recovery (faster recovery = more training = more gains).
Creatine is sorrunded by numerous myths and misconceptions, however none of them is true. Creatine is the most researched supplement ever that has proven every signle time that it is effective, it is safe and actually, it has great health benefits. Use it for the benefit of our performance and health.