A natural substance that our own bodies produce, creatine may be obtained from the diet, but supplementing creatine is a popular option amongst strength and performance athletes who can derive significant increases in strength, power and muscle volume from higher doses of this amino acid derivative.
Creatine has many positives, but what are the negatives? There has been a lot of speculation and rumour regarding the negative effects of creatine. Thankfully there has also been a lot of scientific research which has proven time and time again that creatine is both effective and safe.
The majority of side effects reported as a result of creatine use are very minor and the most common negative effect from creatine use is stomach upset. Splitting the desired amount of creatine into a number of doses which are taken throughout the day is an effective way for many people to avoid side effects.
Ensuring creatine is consumed with sufficient water, and use of a high quality creatine, like Creapure creatine monohydrate have also been shown to reduce side effects. Some people also experience water retention when using creatine.
Many people believe that smaller doses can help avoid this, and others believe using alternate forms of creatine, like creatine HClcan avoid this problem. While there are many types of creatine on the market, the vast majority of this research has been undertaken in creatine monohydrate.
It is likely that similar results are applicable to other forms of creatine, but without research, we cannot make this assertion. One of the biggest myths about creatine is that it is, or behaves similarly to, an anabolic steroid.
This is completely untrue. While an anabolic steroid mimics the action of testosterone and has the potential to cause a great deal of damage to the body if abused, creatine has no effect whatsoever on the body’s hormones and is very safe. When creatine is taken, it is stored in the muscles, where it helps generate power during vigorous short-term activity, like sprinting or powerlifting.
Creatine is stored alongside water, which can increase the volume of the muscle cell, making the muscles appear larger. Creatine will not affect the libido, cause acne, gyno, testicular shrinkage, or any symptoms related to hormones or testosterone. Loading is a practice that some people use to saturate the muscles with creatine in the shortest possible amount of time.
Loading is a controversial practice, because taking larger doses of creatine increases the risk of side effects, particularly stomach upset. This can be minimised by breaking the daily intake into a number of smaller doses. Some people also feel that loading increases the amount of water retention. Some people choose to forgo a loading phase and instead begin on the maintenance dose. It is estimated that attaining muscle saturation at this dose will take one month rather than the week it takes on a loading protocol, but for those with sensitive stomachs, it is a far preferable option to a week of digestive problems.
Because creatine stowly accumulates in the muscles, unlike some supplements, there is no specific timing associated with creatine, although dosing post-workout is probably the most popular option. Creatine absorption is at its highest in the presence of insulinso the best way to take creatine is alongside something that will provoke an insulin response.
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Mixing creatine into a glass of juice is a popular option. For minimal side effects, creatine should be split into multiple small doses which are taken throughout the day.
Cheap, scientifically proven, and safe, creatine is one of the best supplements on the market for people looking to put on muscle and increase performance. While it can cause mild side effects in some people, but there are ways to use creatine that minimise these.
Although it is widely regarded as a very safe supplement for healthy people, people with a pre-existing condition, particularly kidney disease, must consult a doctor before starting a creatine regime. Stop Wait Taking too long? Negative Side Effects of Creatine. Long Term Side Effects of Creatine.
CREATINE: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings – WebMD
Creatine Side Effects for Men. When to Take Creatine.