One of the most researched supplements out there, creatine is still shrouded in mystery for some people. Will it kill your kidneys? Will it make you go bald? This article will try to debunk all of the myths surrounding this supplement and give you some tips along the way.
Will It Make Me Go, Bald?
Starting off with a well-known "fact," we have the claim that creatine will cause hair loss. This myth originated from a single study done in 2009, where the researchers noticed increased levels of DHT (dihydrotestosterone) after creatine supplementation. DHT is a derivate of testosterone, and when we're talking about hair loss, it's known that it shrinks your hair follicles. This makes your hair look thinner and brittle, as well as makes it fall out faster.
Now, just because creatine increases the levels of DHT in your body, it doesn't automatically mean it results in hair loss. This is because we all have different receptors for DHT on our heads, and that's why some people have a genetic predisposition for balding.
No study, including the original one from 2009, found an actual correlation between creatine and hair loss. And while it might be possible that it can accelerate hair loss for people that are already genetically predisposed to it, nobody can really claim so because no studies confirmed that effect.
Creatine Is Not Natural
Sadly, creatine doesn't really have the effects of anabolic steroids. It is actually naturally produced in our body, and we use it for all functions in our body, from curling a barbell to doing anything on a molecular level.
Almost all creatine supplements have their creatine derived from plant sources, meaning it's as natural as a supplement can be.
It's Bad for The Kidneys
This is also a popular one and probably the go-to argument from your mom in order to try and get you not to use creatine.
Yes, the breakdown product of creatine, creatinine, is removed from the body by your kidneys, but that doesn't mean that supplementing with creatine will ruin your kidneys. Numerous studies have investigated kidney activity during creatine supplementation, and none found a link with it causing any issues.
Creatine Needs to Be Loaded/Cycled
Popular among the gym bros and a quick and easy one to debunk.
Going through a loading phase will indeed help you reach creatine saturation in your body faster, but the benefits stop there. Taking 5-7 grams of creatine a day will do the same thing for you as taking 15 grams of creatine a day. It's just that the former option will need more time to saturate your creatine reserves, while the latter will do the opposite, although it might cause some stomach issues.
In regards to cycling, no research has shown that long-term use of creatine may have any negative effects on our health, and at the same time, no positive effects were noticed as a result of cycling the supplement.
Creatine Will Make Me Fat
You will gain some bodyweight while using creatine, that's for sure, but you won't gain any fat. In fact, the weight gain is a result of your muscles holding in more water, and while that might not be the ideal thing for a bodybuilder going on stage, it most definitely won't make you fat.
The Best Supplement on Earth?
Hopefully, this article managed to clear up some misconceptions surrounding creatine. So, is it good? It's terrific!
It has positive effects on brain health, depression, and anxiety, and it potentially reduces the symptoms of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, and strokes. You should probably gift a tub of it to your grandma if you really love her. It goes without saying that it increases your muscle mass and strength and improves athletic performance and recovery between sets and workouts.
Creatine Supplementation Cheat Sheet
Here's a brief list of everything you need to know so you can follow a proven protocol of creatine supplementation.
1. Buy creatine monohydrate- not only is it the cheapest option by far, but it's also objectively the most effective option.
2. You can consume it at any time of the day- the most important thing is to take it consistently, and although the timing doesn't seem to matter, taking it after your training session MAY BE the optimal time for taking it.
3. The recommended daily dose is around 0.1 grams of creatine per kilogram of body weight.
4. If you need to take more than 5 to 7 grams during the day, for example, 10 grams, try splitting your dose during the day. You can take 5 grams in the morning and 5 grams in the afternoon.