Creatine is arguably the most popular sports supplement available .Creatine does very little if you don’t exercise. This is not a miracle supplement that helps you build muscles without doing anything. Children with muscular dystrophy showed some improvement by taking creatine even if they weren’t exercising. However, to use the benefits of creatine at their maximum potential you really need to perform regular exercise.
We’re here to bust some common creatine myths and give you the straight facts on creatine.
Creatine causes Weight Gain
Truth: That’s true, but the initial weight gain is actually water. It basically attracts water into the muscle, making them appear bigger. This happens in the first days of taking creatine supplements and affects about two thirds of users.
Even with that water-based weight gain, creatine combined with exercise results in increased muscle mass. Of course, the results vary from one individual to another and surely they’re also influenced by the workout program and diet.
Creatine is a Steroid
Truth: Any of a group of usually synthetic hormones that are derivatives of testosterone.” On the other hand, creatine is a chemical present naturally in the body. It elevates creatine phosphate levels, which in turn helps make ATP, a substance that provides energy for muscle contractions.
Creatine is bad for the kidneys
Truth: There have been numerous studies conducted on creatine supplementation, all of which have concluded long-term creatine use does not appear to have any negative side effects on the liver or kidneys.
This theory is rather baseless and likely extends from the idea that the kidneys “are damaged” when blood creatinine (a byproduct of the phosphocreatine system) levels rise. However, there is little, if any, clinical validity to this supposition.
Lose Muscle When Stop Taking Creatine
Truth: When you stop taking creatine, all the water that’s been attracted into your muscle cells will disappear, making them look smaller. But you won’t lose the actual muscle mass as long as you keep training like before. Creatine doesn’t directly build muscle; it creates a better muscle-building environment. So, whether you’ve built the muscle with or without creatine, you retain it if you continue to lift.
There’s a Perfect Time to Take Creatine
Truth: Creatine supplementation increases the amount of creatine available in your body, and this supply can be used at any time. Creatine can be taken at any time throughout the day without making much of a difference.
Creatine (monohydrate) needs to be taken with a large dose of sugar to be sufficiently absorbed.
Truth: Creatine is actually absorbed rather efficiently on its own and to achieve much “extra” benefit you need a rather large dose (>100g) of simple carbohydrates since the enhanced rate of creatine uptake is mediated by insulin (but only at high plasma levels). It’s just more practical to avoid the need for a bunch of sugar with your creatine intake.
Creatine Affects Hormones
Truth: Creatine builds muscle by impacting energy production, not by increasing anabolic hormones. Research on creatine shows it does not affect growth hormone, testosterone, or cortisol.
You Need to Cycle On and Off Creatine
Truth: For many ingredients (especially potentially dangerous ones), some people suggest cycling to give your body time to recover. Since your body makes creatine naturally, even during supplementation, no evidence supports cycling as safer or better for your body.
Some people theorize long term creatine supplementation may stop your body’s natural creatine production. Although no proof of this exists, there are no clinical studies with creatine that last long enough to be sure. So, you may want to cycle off creatine occasionally, just in case.