Creatine - Truths and Myths

Author: Nicole Adler   Date Posted: 27 July 2016 

Creatine is a popular supplement in the world of sports, so it is only natural that there are a lot of myths surrounding it. In order to provide the most accurate information to our customers, we have composed a list of common truths and myths about creatine. Read on to learn more about creatine, its uses and its benefits.

Myth: Taking a Higher Dose of Creatine Will Give Me Better Results

Some athletes believe that the higher the dose of creatine, the more results they will obtain. This is a myth, because individuals excrete up to 46% of the ingested supplement within 24 hours; this according to a study executed at the St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia. 

Taking more creatine will not give you better results, it will only lead to wasted creatine. However, the study has shown that good results can be obtained without the so-called loading phase and this is good news for athletes who experience digestive distress during supplement loading phases.

Creatine - Truths and Myths

Myth: Creatine Requires a Loading Phase to Be Effective

To dispel this myth, we need to refer back to the study executed at the St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia. The study has shown that less creatine is needed to get results, so the loading phase becomes less important for this supplement. There are other supplements where loading phases may provide better results, but the nature of creatine does not demand it.

Myth: Creatine (Cr) Causes Damage to the Liver and Kidneys

The use of Cr supplements will not cause damage to the liver or kidneys, providing the patient does not suffer from a pre-existing medical condition. A number of studies have explored the myth regarding the use of Cr supplements and organ damage. The studies have shown that the claims of kidney and liver damage are unproven and clinically unsubstantiated. 

One study followed a group of athletes over a period of five years. The athletes in question were football players who used a maximum of 15.75 grams of Cr supplement each day. During the research period of five years, no markers of renal or kidney failure were detected.

A second study, executed by the Oregon Health Sciences University of Portland, was presented to the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in 2000. The study monitored the kidney function of 36 male and female athletes, who consumed an exact dose of 10 grams of Cr supplement per day. Over a period of twelve weeks, the researchers detected no negative impact on the kidney function.

Myth: Cr Supplements Can Cause Problems with Water Retention

Water retention is a worrisome symptom for many athletes. Fortunately, studies have shown no water retention related problems while using Cr supplements. 

A placebo-controlled study looked into water retention with Cr supplements over a period of three months. After the three months, the Cr supplement group showed a considerable increase in body mass and fat-free mass, indicating that the supplement works as it is supposed to. 

During the study, researchers also used the latest developments in body composition measurement, more specifically the deuterated water isotopic analysis. Thanks to these new research techniques, the study showed that water gain during a Cr supplement regime can be due to an excessive amount of sodium, which means that the Cr supplement is not the cause of any water gain during a Cr supplement routine.

Myth: Cr Supplements Can Cause Muscle Cramping

The claim that the use of Cr supplements can cause muscle cramping is unfounded and anecdotal, considering there is no medical of clinical evidence to support this claim. Studies on the subject have proven the opposite, which means that this claim could not be further from the truth.

A study investigating the relationship between muscle cramping and Cr supplementation followed a group of sixteen men. Some of the men were given Cr supplements, while others were given a placebo. When either of the two groups experienced some form of dehydration, both groups reported a form of muscle cramping. This indicated that muscle cramping is more related to dehydration than it is related to the use of Cr supplements. 

The University of Arkansas State also executed two studies on this particular subject. During the study, researchers found no evidence of muscle cramping or injury in the group of athletes who were using the supplement. The athletes in question were using a dosage of 15-25 grams per day during the loading phase and a dose of 5 grams during the maintenance phase.

Creatine - Truths and Myths

Myth: Creatine and Grape Juice Is the Best Combination

The combination of Cr supplements and grape juice is indeed the best combination to get good results. However, the amount of grape juice per Cr dose is not the most important factor. 
The reason why the combination of Cr supplements and grape juice is so effective can be explained by the release of insulin in the body. Insulin will push creatine to the muscles, subsequently making the most out of your Cr supplements. 

Even though grape juice can be very effective for Cr supplements and your training, increasing insulin levels in the body may not be suitable for everyone. If insulin is not an option for you, protein and carbohydrates can also be a great alternative. Recent studies have shown that 50 grams of protein or 47 grams of carbohydrates per 5 grams of Cr supplement will provide the same results as grape juice.

Myth: Liquid Cr Supplements Are Better

Liquid Cr supplements are quite volatile, so they are not necessarily the best option for you. Cr supplements in powder form tends to be more stable than the liquid variant.

As a general rule, it is best to take a Cr supplement at the end of the day. When Cr comes in contact with acidic environments for a long period of time, the useful Cr will be converted into worthless Cr, which leads athletes to lose the majority of their supplement. By taking a Cr supplement at the end of the day, the body will make full use of it.


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