Creatine is a particularly common complement with hundreds of research testifying to its effectiveness in people. It really works nicely in athletes, older folks, ladies, males, teenagers, vegans and vegetarians, and doubtless even kids. It’s well-tested, protected in regular quantities, and there are only a few downsides.
However as a result of so many individuals use it, creatine additionally generates lots of questions. Each time I do a put up on creatine, I get extra queries in my inbox.
- Does it trigger hair loss?
- How a lot do you have to take each day?
- Is there an excellent time to take it?
- Will creatine make you acquire weight?
- And is creatine unhealthy for the kidneys?
- What about negative effects—something we must always fear about?
Let’s dig proper in and reply these questions.
Does creatine trigger hair loss?
This can be a persistent concern, however there’s not a lot stable analysis lending credence to it. Nearly all of the “proof” lies in an older research the place school rugby gamers took creatine for a couple of weeks and noticed their dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, rise over baseline. (The placebo management group noticed no rise in DHT). DHT is a extra lively or potent type of testosterone that has highly effective anabolic results. It might probably additionally bind to hair follicles and trigger them to shrink, decreasing your means to help a dense, wholesome head of hair.
Nevertheless, the creatine group had decrease DHT ranges at baseline, so it could be that the creatine was merely correcting decrease beginning ranges. Different research on creatine and testosterone have failed to seek out any constant hyperlinks between creatine and better testosterone, free testosterone (from which DHT is produced), or DHT itself.
Lastly, there are not any research displaying that taking creatine causes hair loss. It’s not unattainable and even inconceivable. It merely hasn’t been definitively proven.
Anecdotally, some folks discover hair loss after beginning creatine, however these are the hardest connections to attract and not using a management group and good methodology. Would they’ve misplaced the hair anyway? Had been there different elements at play?
How a lot creatine per day?
There are two fundamental methods folks generally make use of.
If you wish to velocity creatine uptake within the muscle tissues, you are able to do a “loading section” of 20 grams a day (break up up into 4 doses) for per week earlier than dropping down to three to five grams a day.
When you don’t, you possibly can simply take 3 to five grams a day from the get-go.
Each methods work simply superb.
When you have lots of muscle mass—and thus larger creatine storage capacities—or should you burn by way of lots of creatine with intense exercise, you would possibly profit from bigger every day doses within the 8 to 10 grams vary.
When you’ve been taking creatine persistently sufficient at excessive sufficient doses to saturate your muscle shops (20 grams a day for five to 7 days, or 3 to five grams a day for 28 days, to present two widespread examples), you possibly can in all probability get away with “biking” your creatine. Taking days off, doing decrease doses right here and there. Possibly even taking creatine “as wanted” round resistance train, once you’re actually going to make use of it. I’m simply speculating right here, however I believe I’m proper.
Everytime you take creatine, be sure to’re consuming loads of water—greater than regular. In any other case it could possibly trigger abdomen cramps.
Does creatine make you acquire weight?
Within the first week or so, you’ll acquire water weight because the physique shops water together with creatine. That is fully regular and often subsides after a couple of weeks. However what about “actual” weight? Does it trigger actual weight acquire?
Research in each older males and older ladies have discovered that creatine use will increase physique mass. In different phrases, their BMI would have “worsened.”
What’s occurring? Is creatine unhealthy, then?
Quite the opposite, whereas creatine will improve physique mass, creatine has by no means been proven to trigger fats acquire. Creatine will doubtless enable you acquire lean muscle mass by serving to you raise extra weight within the health club, preserve larger train intensities, and do higher-volume units. The creatine isn’t immediately inflicting the burden acquire, however it’s serving to to allow it. That is “good weight.” That is the burden you need to acquire. In all these “elevated physique mass” research, the creatine additionally elevated the quantity of weight they had been lifting and their efficiency in a broad vary of bodily actions. It was making them extra sturdy.
Creatine could make you acquire weight, however it’s the great form of lean mass.
When ought to I take creatine?
Creatine is extra of a long-term complement. It’s one thing that you just “load” into your muscle tissues and as soon as it’s there, it stays till you expend it with intense exercise. For this reason many individuals undergo the “loading” section with 20 grams per day for per week till really fizzling out with decrease doses—they need to velocity up the saturation of creatine storage.
Nevertheless, there are indications that timing your creatine consumption can have an effect on how nicely it really works in your physique.
One research discovered that taking creatine instantly after a exercise led to raised energy good points within the bench press, extra lean mass, and decrease fats mass than taking creatine instantly earlier than a exercise.
One other research utilizing a creatine/carbohydrate/protein complement discovered that it didn’t actually matter whether or not you took it earlier than or after a exercise so long as you took it near the exercise. Each pre- and post-workout creatine had been far more practical than taking it within the morning or evening, nicely away out of your exercise.
No matter you do, taking it shut to coaching (earlier than or after) appears to have the most effective impact.
Is creatine unhealthy for the kidneys?
When you have wholesome kidney perform, creatine is confirmed to be protected. Creatine excretion within the urine will rise, however that is thought-about to be a traditional response to elevated creatine consumption and the signal of a wholesome kidney perform. Creatine supplementation has by no means been proven to trigger impaired kidney perform in wholesome folks with wholesome kidneys at baseline. Whereas there are case research of renal dysfunction “accompanying” creatine supplementation, these instances had been all confounded by variables like preexisting kidney illness, extreme dosing (100x what’s usually beneficial), steroid use, and different medicines they had been taking.
When you have poor kidney well being or perform, supplemental creatine could be contraindicated. Nevertheless, there’s a case report of a younger grownup male with one kidney who was capable of take creatine whereas consuming a excessive protein food plan and suffered no well being penalties. No matter you do, should you’re fearful about your kidneys or have impaired kidney perform, test along with your physician earlier than continuing.
Are there any creatine negative effects?
Nothing is ideal. There are some potential issues or negative effects, however they aren’t inevitable and you’ll often keep away from them with a couple of fundamental suggestions.
Cramps: Drink sufficient water and drink much less alcohol. Creatine tends to extend water necessities, so be sure to drink sufficient water and get sufficient electrolytes. Learn all about hydration right here. Or simply combine Gerolsteiner mineral water with sea salt and the juice from a lemon or lime. For critical electrolyte necessities, you can even make my “higher Gatorade” by mixing blackstrap molasses into coconut water with some lime or lemon juice and salt.
Fuel, bloating, diarrhea: You took an excessive amount of. Ensure you’re weighing and measuring your creatine doses. Additionally strive taking creatine with some energy, with a meal (the way you’d often get creatine in pure settings).
That’s about it, people. When you have some other questions on creatine, drop them down beneath.