Is Creatine Safe to Consume for Building Muscle

Can Creatine Help To Build Muscle

Using Creatine As a Muscle-Builder

One of the most popular supplements used by weightlifters and those who are fitness-minded is creatine. Makers of various supplements containing creatine or creatine monohydrate claim that the additive can help people gain strength, recover faster from workouts and build muscle quicker. But is it as good as people claim and more importantly, is it safe to consume? The short answer is yes. No for the long one…

Where Did Creatine Come From Anyway?

As it turns out, it’s been with us the whole time! It is a nitrogenous organic acid taken from the amino acids glycine, arginine and methionine. According to Bodybuilding.com, creatine is naturally found in the human body with 90% of it found in muscle tissue.

Although creatine monohydrate first appeared on store shelves in 1992, the acid was discovered by Michel Eugene Cheveul, a French chemist, back in 1832. He was the first person to extract the chemical from a living tissue and since it had come from meat, he gave the substance the name “creatine” which comes from the Greek word kreas, which means meat.

Fast forward to 1912, Harvard University found that those who ingested creatine, could boost the creatine found in their muscles and in 1923, they found that the use of oral creatine would promote nitrogen retention. (Bodybuilding.com)

Many years later, athletes Linford Christine and Sally Gunnel attributed their positive performance on the use of creatine and by 1996, estimates were giving that over 80% of the athletes who took part in the Atlanta Summer Olympics were using the supplement. (Physical Culture Study)

How Does Creatine Help to Build Muscle?

Creatine can help produce the energy needed to aid in muscle workouts by increasing the production of adenosine triphosphate (or ATP) which is good for just about all athletes except for those who engage in endurance sports. The chemical also pulls water into the muscle which can give them a fuller appearance, which can make muscles look bigger than they actually are.

David Sandler, the Senior Director of Education for the National Strength and Conditioning Association says, “Creatine allows you to have a longer and larger work volume. It helps you get one more rep. Supplementation can increase phosphocreatine and creatine stores by 10-to-40%.”

Creatine can improve muscle strength, endurance, anaerobic performance and by creating metabolically-active muscle tissue, creatine can also help one lose fat while keeping muscle.

How Safe is Creatine?

Some people have called creatine an anabolic steroid and/or have stated that the drug is not safe for teens or women, but that just isn’t true. There are no known long-term side effects from using creatine. In fact, the International Society of Sports Nutrition claims that creatine is “extremely safe” and considers it “one of the most beneficial sports supplements available.” (Healthline)

Studies of the supplement have been taken for over 80 years now and researchers agree that it is one of the safest supplements available.

“Creatine is perhaps THE most studied ergogenic aid in history,” says Jose Antonio, Ph.D., a professor at Nova Southeastern University and CEO of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. “The science clearly suggests that there are no harmful side effects of creatine supplementation. There is no evidence that it causes muscle tears, harms the kidneys, causes dehydration or myriad other silly myths. If these side effects occur, show me the science!”

As mentioned above, creatine actually takes water from the body and will flood muscles with it, so when using the supplement, it is very important to keep oneself very hydrated. It is suggested that exercisers take in slightly more than half of their bodyweight in water.

Some have claimed that taking creatine can cause digestive issues, but experts say that won’t happen if one only takes the recommended amount.

How to Take Creatine

While there are so differences on how the body responds to it, people can take creatine before or after a workout. Matt Weik, CSCS says that all one really needs is taking 5gs of creatine a day to see results. However, it can take some time before one actually sees those results. It can take several weeks to see any results and because of this, some people will to choose to load up on the supplement for a week taking 20gs of the stuff every day for a week before going down to just 5gs. “This enables them to start utilizing the creatine much quicker,” says Weik. He also suggests taking creatine with a carbohydrate source which will help the body absorb the supplement quicker. (Bodybuilding.com)

Sources

Bodybuilding.com – https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/safe_effective_creatine.htm and https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/creatine-q-and-a-top-17-questions-answered.html

Physical Culture Study – https://physicalculturestudy.com/2015/02/26/creatine-a-short-history/

Healthline.com – https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/creatine-safety-and-side-effects#purported-side-effects

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