Creatine is an especially fashionable complement with hundreds of research testifying to its effectiveness in people. It really works nicely in athletes, older individuals, ladies, males, teenagers, vegans and vegetarians, and doubtless even youngsters. It’s well-tested, secure 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 publish on creatine, I get extra queries in my inbox.
- Does it trigger hair loss?
- How a lot do you have to take day by day?
- Is there a superb time to take it?
- Will creatine make you acquire weight?
- And is creatine unhealthy for the kidneys?
- What about uncomfortable side effects—something we must always fear about?
Let’s dig proper in and reply these questions.
Does creatine trigger hair loss?
It is a persistent concern, however there’s not a lot strong analysis lending credence to it. The vast majority of the “proof” lies in an older research the place school rugby gamers took creatine for a number of weeks and noticed their dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, rise over baseline. (The placebo management group noticed no rise in DHT). DHT is a extra energetic or potent type of testosterone that has highly effective anabolic results. It could possibly additionally bind to hair follicles and trigger them to shrink, lowering your skill to help a dense, wholesome head of hair.
Nevertheless, the creatine group had decrease DHT ranges at baseline, so it might be that the creatine was merely correcting decrease beginning ranges. Different research on creatine and testosterone have failed to search 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 exhibiting that taking creatine causes hair loss. It’s not unimaginable and even unbelievable. It merely hasn’t been definitively proven.
Anecdotally, some individuals discover hair loss after beginning creatine, however these are the hardest connections to attract with no management group and good methodology. Would they’ve misplaced the hair anyway? Had been there different components at play?
How a lot creatine per day?
There are two fundamental methods individuals generally make use of.
If you wish to velocity creatine uptake within the muscle tissues, you are able to do a “loading part” 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.
In the event you don’t, you may simply take 3 to five grams a day from the get-go.
Each methods work simply high quality.
You probably have lots of muscle mass—and thus increased creatine storage capacities—or if you happen to burn via lots of creatine with intense exercise, you would possibly profit from bigger day by 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 provide two widespread examples), you may most likely 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, while you’re actually going to make use of it. I’m simply speculating right here, however I feel I’m proper.
Everytime you take creatine, ensure you’re consuming loads of water—greater than regular. In any other case it may 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 number 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 happening? Is creatine unhealthy, then?
Quite the opposite, whereas creatine will enhance physique mass, creatine has by no means been proven to trigger fats acquire. Creatine will doubtless make it easier to acquire lean muscle mass by serving to you elevate extra weight within the health club, keep increased train intensities, and do higher-volume units. The creatine isn’t instantly inflicting the load acquire, however it’s serving to to allow it. That is “good weight.” That is the load you wish 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 strong.
Creatine could make you acquire weight, nevertheless it’s the nice type of lean mass.
When ought to I take creatine?
Creatine is extra of a long-term complement. It’s one thing that you simply “load” into your muscle tissues and as soon as it’s there, it stays till you expend it with intense exercise. That is why many individuals undergo the “loading” part with 20 grams per day for per week till truly fizzling out with decrease doses—they wish 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 positive aspects 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 perfect impact.
Is creatine unhealthy for the kidneys?
You probably have wholesome kidney perform, creatine is confirmed to be secure. Creatine excretion within the urine will rise, however that is thought-about to be a standard 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 individuals with wholesome kidneys at baseline. Whereas there are case research of renal dysfunction “accompanying” creatine supplementation, these circumstances had been all confounded by variables like preexisting kidney illness, extreme dosing (100x what’s usually advisable), steroid use, and different medicines they had been taking.
You probably 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 in a position to take creatine whereas consuming a excessive protein weight-reduction plan and suffered no well being penalties. No matter you do, if you happen to’re anxious about your kidneys or have impaired kidney perform, examine together with your physician earlier than continuing.
Are there any creatine uncomfortable side effects?
Nothing is ideal. There are some potential issues or uncomfortable side effects, however they aren’t inevitable and you may often keep away from them with a number of fundamental suggestions.
Cramps: Drink sufficient water and drink much less alcohol. Creatine tends to extend water necessities, so ensure you 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 may as well make my “higher Gatorade” by mixing blackstrap molasses into coconut water with some lime or lemon juice and salt.
Gasoline, 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, of us. You probably have some other questions on creatine, drop them down under.