Debunking Popular Supplements: Creatine

By Morgen Cote

We have all heard the myths…

Creatine is a steroid
Creatine will make me look like a man
Creatine will affect my kidney and liver function
Creatine causes weight gain/water retention

Creatine, believe it or not, is actually already in our muscle cells. Similar to an amino acid, it helps the muscles produce energy during workout sessions and initiate muscle hypertrophy (cell growth). 95% of your body’s creatine is in your muscles and the other 5% is in your brain and liver. Not only does it increase muscle energy production but also reducing muscle breakdown, increased cell hydration, raised anabolic steroids etc. 

Now that we have an idea of what Creatine is let’s address some myths: 
Creatine is a steroid 

Creatine, unlike steroids, is not chemically based. This is why creatine is not considered a banned substance and anyone can have access to it. It is already naturally produced in our bodies and helps improve performance but does not alter other bodily functions. There have been a plethora of studies done that show a 2-3 times increase in muscle mass over a 12-14 week intake period. Therefore, creatine may improve performance but not alter natural body functions. 

Creatine will make me look like a man

For my ladies out there, creatine has often been thought to produce large amounts of hypertrophy that leads to the bulky look. However, this is the exact opposite of what happens. Creatine helps produce lean body mass and without the proper training regimens it would be very difficult to produce that much muscle growth. It will help produce muscle within your training program. The duration and intensity of your training is what will determine the growth of your mass. You won’t blow up like a balloon just because. Fun fact, creatine has actually been proven to help with patients confined to hospital beds from experiencing muscle atrophy. 

Creatine will affect my kidney and liver function 

Unless you have any previous kidney or liver diseases, creatine will not cause issues. Many studies that have been performed show athletes over a long period of time do not have any kidney or liver dysfunctions

Creatine causes you to gain weight/retain water

If you are taking a good quality creatine (creatine monohydrate) then you should not see water retention. Lower quality creatine have proven the body to possibly retain water because it restricts the body’s access to sodium. 

Bottom line:

Creatine helps produce lean body mass and does not assist in growth of body fat. Overall, Creatine is very beneficial when trying to build a lean, tone figure! 

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