You’ve probably heard the word “creatine” thrown around, especially when speaking with your gym-loving friends who are looking to make some #gainz.
Creatine is used widely in the fitness community to provide energy to the body for a workout and help improve strength and muscle mass. Our body naturally makes creatine from amino acids glycine and arginine to produce what is called Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). ATP is our primary energy molecule.
However, creatine seems to have gotten itself a bit of a controversial name over the last few years. So I’m here to clear up a few misconceptions about creatine!
Here are the top 5 misconceptions about creatine:
Women can’t use creatine.
There has been some speculation that women should not use creatine, however there is no research that shows any adverse side effects for women taking creatine. Not only is it helpful for providing extra energy at the gym, but it can help with our long-term energy and focus.
Creatine is only for professional athletes and bodybuilders.
While creatine is very beneficial for professional athletes and bodybuilders, regular fitness folk can see the benefits too! Try sipping on a caffeine-free pre-workout that has creatine to get a post-work boost for your gym session.
Supplementing with creatine causes muscle cramps.
Everyone’s body is different. That means, how a supplement affects one person, is different from the next. Rarely do people experience muscle cramping from creatine supplementation. One study found that collagen athletes actually had fewer injuries and muscle cramping from taking creatine, compared to the group who did not.
Creatine supplementation affects your liver and kidneys.
If you have had kidney or liver issues in the past, it is always important to speak to your health care practitioner to decide if any supplement is right for you.
That said, studies have shown that creatine does not have adverse side effects on either the kidney or the liver. This is said with one word of caution: research how creatine reacts with other supplements that you may be taking. Studies that demonstrate creatines safety were typically done in the absence of other supplements.
You can get digestive upset from creatine.
Similar to the muscle cramping, every single body is different and may react in it’s own way. This can also depend on your history of digestive disorders, what else you have been eating, and what other supplements you are taking.
It is also important that you stick to proper dosing to reduce the instance of diarrhea. Be sure to read the label too! If you are experiencing digestive upset, check to see what other ingredients are listed on the bottle as it may be something else that is leaving you running for the toilet rather than on the treadmill.
So if you’re looking to add a little extra muscle, and push through some hard workouts, adding creatine to your diet might be the trick you need!
Remember: as with most supplements, it is important to cycle what you are taking and read the ingredient list carefully! Prolonged use of most supplements is usually not recommended.
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