Creatine Pros And Cons: Why To Use It (& What To Be Aware Of)
Creatine is a popular type of powder found in the health food section of any vitamin or grocery store. Bodybuilders swear by it as a method for increasing gains when lifting, and many have seen some outstanding results.
But....is it safe? What does it do? What are the effects of it in my body? What are creatine supplement pros and cons? Those are the questions we are going to answer! Let's get started!
Benefits of Creatine Supplements
Why should I take a creatine supplement?
Creatine is an amino acid that helps the body do a lot of work on short bursts of energy. It comes in the form of pills or powders that are typically mixed in food or drink. It helps weight lifters and others who use it to gain weight during their exercises, usually as muscle. This is done by the amino acids pulling water directly into the actual muscle fibers, causing those fibers to grow.
So, if you are looking to make your muscles bigger and stronger, creatine is something that you should be considering. If you are looking for a little extra to give you short bursts of energy, then creatine may be your best option.
Creatine is regarded as a high energy phosphate by supplying direct energy to your muscles. Your body's main source of energy, ATP (adenosine triphosphate), allows your muscles to contract and work until failure. It is the creatine that enables our body to complete extra reps beyond your body's usual energy production.
Creatine also supplies protein to your muscle cells in the form that they can use immediately. In fact, your body already converts some of your food into creatine naturally. Supplements give you a boost of what your body already has for an extra edge.
When you take creatine after your workout then it serves to replenish your muscle cells' available protein. That will enhance muscle growth and strength as your cells recover. Creatine monohydrate is the most common form of this supplement as one gram of creatine monohydrate supplies the body with 4.40 grams of active product to the body.
Creatine is most effective before or after a workout. However, many users say that you should also take some on the days that you do not work out in order to maintain the levels in your body.
One common concern is that creatine will mess with kidneys because of its use of water. This is not true. Granted, as with everything, you should use moderation, but creatine itself, when used properly, will not hurt you. The key to getting the best results is to take creatine when you work out. You also must stay well hydrated because your muscles will absorb a lot of water.
However, children under the age of 18 should not use creatine, as it has been known to do damage to children's already growing muscles. To use creatine to improve their athletic performance at sports is not necessary, and can be very damaging.
Of course, as with anything you put into your body you should consult your physician before using creatine. It is important to make sure that any supplement is right for your specific situation.
Don't expect an immediate body transformation when using creatine. Your results may vary depending on your current diet, workout routine, muscular build, and endurance levels. Many people see immediate results in their ability to produce bursts of strength or speed. Over time, creatine will help you build bigger and stronger muscles.
Creatine Weight Gain
Does creatine make you fat? Not if you use it properly. As with anything food related, if you don't work it off, it will cause you to gain weight. Also as stated before, if creatine is not used properly, most of the weight gained will be water weight.
Creatine Hair Loss
Finally, another concern is hair loss when using creatine. This may be true. Studies have shown an increase in male pattern baldness when using creatine. More research has to take place to have conclusive studies. But, you should be aware of the risk. In the meantime, some users suggest that using your creatine properly may reduce your risk of creatine related hair loss.
Recap of Pros and Cons of Creatine
Benefits of Creatine
- Creatine works beyond the ATP (adenosine triphosphate) within your body, so you can perform high-intensity bouts of exercise.
- Creatine enhances your muscle mass by feeding the explosive muscle fibers within your body.
- Creatine helps the body perform exercises on short bursts of energy.
- Creatine will make you gain weight by increasing your muscle mass, causing your muscles to appear larger and more toned.
Side Effects of Creatine
- Children under the age of 18 should not use creatine, as this will likely do damage to their muscle growth.
- Creatine must be used with the intention of working out, or results will not be as desired.
- Creatine may cause water weight gain and water retention.
- Use of creatine may result in an increased risk of male pattern baldness.
As usual, a nutritional and dietary supplement such as creatine should be used properly with moderation for best results. You should consult your primary care physician before using it to ensure that it is right for you.
The benefits of creatine can be significant when you use it properly. I hope these pros and cons of taking creatine help you decide what creatine supplementation, if any, is best for you!