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Is Creatine Worth it: Decode the Benefits and Side Effects Behind it

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Has one of your close friends advised you to have creatine supplement in order to build your body muscles and even enhance stamina? Even though this wonderful food supplement is highly popular among runners but still a common question arises in everyone’s mind, is creatine worth it? Creatine may be one of the vital food supplements for building muscles but still, people in different parts of the world wonder whether it’s at all safe to have it regularly since few clinical studies have highlighted that having an excess dosage of this supplement may result in various types of side effects to the human body. We'll discuss some of the vital facts that will help you to gain detail information about the creatine benefits and the negative effect of creatine to the human body and enable you to get the answer to your question- is creatine safe?

Table of Content

  • What is Creatine
  • How Does Creatine Work
  • How Much Creatine is Required by the Human Body
  • Is Creatine Worth it: Find the Goodness of Creatine
  • Is Creatine Worth it: Know the Side Effects 
  • Do Teenagers need Creatine
  • Bottom Line

What is Creatine?

Creatine is a unique nitrogenous organic acid which is produced in the liver of the human body. It has been made from 3 major amino acids such as L-arginine, L-methionine, and glycine. This organic compound helps in supplying enormous energy to the cells of the human body, especially the muscle cells. Besides this, it is also naturally found in some of the foods such as seafood and red meat. According to a clinical study, it has been found that about 95% of the creatine is found in the skeleton muscle and only 5% is available in other parts of the body such as the brain, testes, and heart.

A survey conducted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has highlighted that due to the enormous benefits of creatine, it is regularly being consumed by some of the professional players in the field of running, wrestling, football, ice hockey, and baseball to work harder and even for the growth of muscle. 

Some of the major forms in which creatine is currently available are-

  • Monohydrate creatine
  • Creatine Ethyl Ester
  • Kre-Alkalyn
  • Creatine Gluconate
  • Creatine Malate
  • Effervescent Creatine 
creatine for body
Develop your muscles with creatine (source)

How Does Creatine Work?

Creatine, a nitrogenous organic acid produced by the liver, pancreas, and kidney gets converted into phosphocreatine, a molecule which in turn serves as a reservoir for regeneration of ATP (adenosine triphosphate). This unique molecule further helps in restoring the energy in the muscle cells by converting the ADP (adenosine diphosphate) into ATP (adenosine triphosphate). A clinical study which has been conducted to analyze the effects of creatine highlighted that since your body is unable to use the ADP for production of energy and hence the ADP extracts the Phosphate from creatine phosphate (PCr) present in the body in order to form ATP (adenosine triphosphate). 

how does creatine work
Working of Creatine (source)

How Much Creatine is Required by the Human Body?

The amount of creatine required by a human body greatly depends upon his daily lifestyle and even food habits. In order to enjoy the benefits of creatine protein, it must neither be taken more nor less. According to various clinical studies, it has been found that initially, a person must take about 20 to 25 grams of creatine daily for 5 days followed by maintenance dosage of 2 to 5 grams daily along with physical exercises or workouts. Besides this, taking 3 grams of monohydrate creatine daily or about 28 days will also help you to enjoy the same benefits as that of the maintenance phase. For best results and even experience enormous creatine benefits, it is highly recommended to have this unique supplement after an exercise session with foods that are rich in carbohydrate. 

In order to make the above dosage more clear and even avoid the creatine side effects, it will be wise for you to have creatine in 3 unique phases: 

Loading

In this phase make sure not to have more than 4 to 5 grams of creatine for 5 times daily for 5 days. This stage has been designed to fill your body with a required level of creatine. 

Maintenance

To prevent the negative effect of creatine, it is highly recommended to reduce the intake of creatine compared to the loading phase. Make sure to have not more than 3 grams daily for 28 days in order to avoid unnecessary stress to the kidney and liver. 

Wash-Out

As the name suggests, this phase will help you to get rid of the high level of creatine in the body. Make sure to stop having creatine protein for about 1 to 2 months in this phase to enjoy best results. 

how much creatine is required
What amount of creatine is required 

Is Creatine Worth it: Find the Goodness of Creatine 

If you are unable to find the answer to a common question, is creatine worth it? Then make sure to go through the below points to gain vital information about diseases that can be easily treated with the help of Creatine.

1. Creatine helps in treating Lou Gehrig’s disease

It is a disease due to which the nerve cells are unable to send the messages to the muscles and thereby, it leads to weakening of the muscles and inability to move legs and arms. Creatine helps to get rid of this disease by regenerating ATP and restoring the energy which is needed for proper functioning of muscles in various parts of the body.

2. Improves Heart Health and Enhance Heart Performance

This is also one of the major benefits of creatine experienced by the people suffering from heart diseases. Several clinical studies have highlighted that required dosage of creatine can lower the level Homocysteine and cholesterol and help a person to get rid of the risk of heart failure.

3. Creatine is Efficient in Improving the Mood

This natural supplement slows down the onset of neuromuscular fatigue and thereby helps in improving the mood of a person suffering from sleep deprivation. 

4. Helps in increasing cognitive function in elderly people

According to a clinical study, it has been found that creatine can effectively enhance the flow of oxygenated blood to the brain and influence the cognitive function in elderly people in a positive way.

5. Helps in Enhancing the Bone Density and Mass

Creatine can indirectly help in increasing the bone density of a person suffering from osteoporosis. This unique natural supplement helps in growth of muscles which in turn puts lots of stress on the bones and thereby results in an increase of the bone density in a safe way.

6. Treat Patients Suffering from Parkinson’s Disease

This is also one of the major positive effects of creatine that can help a person to get rid of chronic movement disorder. Creatine along with physical activities can effectively increase the level of dopamine, a key neurotransmitter in the brain and thereby help a person to get rid of Parkinson’s disease.

benefits of creatine
Benefits of Creatine for body (source)

Is Creatine Worth it: Know the Side Effects 

Below are discussed about some of the creatine effects and risks due to which some of the common questions arise in the mind of most of the people in different parts of the world such as - “is creatine safe?”, “is creatine worth it?”.

Few clinical studies have also highlighted that most of the people suffer from the below creatine side effects due to inappropriate dosage. 

1. Intake of Creatine Results in Excessive Water Retention

Even though creatine helps in retention of water in the cells but is that the ultimate reason due to which the muscles appear to be bloated and soft? Clinical studies conducted by researchers have highlighted that even though the work of creatine is to pull in water but in actual sense, the water is being pulled into the muscle cells in order to ensure the overall increase of body weight. The researchers have further highlighted that there can be two major reasons due to which a person may suffer from one of these major creatine side effects such as-

  • Intake of poor grade of creatine supplement
  • Daily intake of creatine by a person with higher level of carbohydrate and calories. 

2. Usage of creatine leads to Dehydration

There are no such clinical studies which prove that use of creatine directly leads to dehydration. Rather an improper amount of fluid intake is one of the major reasons due to which some of the runners experience dehydration.

Since creatine helps the muscle cells to pull in the excess amount of water from the body, it is highly recommended to have lots water in order to prevent dehydration. 

3. Creatine Leads to Kidney Stress or Damage

Clinical studies have proved that unless a person has the preexisting medical condition, use of creatine supplement should not be the reason behind damage to the kidney or even the liver.

A clinical study conducted at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland highlighted that 36 healthy female and male athletes who had 10grams of creatine for 12 weeks did not show any adverse effect on the kidney function. Rather than believing in this false myth, make sure not to have creatine if you are suffering from a kidney disorder and thereby get the best results.

damages of kidney
Damages of Creatine (source)

4. Regular Use of Creatine Leads to Stomach Discomfort 

This is also one of the major side effects due to which various negative questions arise in the mind of the people related to creatine safety. But researchers have highlighted that pain or discomfort in the stomach is not due to intake of creatine rather, having poor quality or over-dosage of creatine leads to the above medical disorder.

It will always be wise for you to consult a doctor to analyze whether you are suffering from the above health disorder and even get it cured in order to enjoy the best results of creatine usage. 

5. Intake of Creatine Results to Muscle Strain

This is also one of the popular creatine side effects due to which few people are still unable to get the answer to their question- is creatine worth it? But medical studies have highlighted that intake of creatine is not at all the reason behind muscle strain rather, dehydration in the body of the runners leads to the above disorder. Make sure to drink lots of water and stay hydrated while having recommended dosage of creatine on regular basis. 

Do Runners need Creatine?

Even though creatine has been a popular name for years among the sports enthusiasts for the building of muscles, enhancing strength and even increase of performance but still some of the common questions hover around in the mind of the people about creatine safety such as-

Is creatine worth it? Is creatine safe? Will it result in a harmful effect on the kidney and liver?

The answer to the above questions to a great extent depends on the medical condition of the person and even the dosage of creatine intake. To get the best results, it will always be wise for you to consult a physician in order to determine the actual dosage that will help you to gain muscles and stay healthy. Please feel free to comment whether the above facts helped you to get the answer to the question “is creatine worth it” and even try to share the benefits which you have experienced after having a required dosage of creatine.

do teenagers need creatine
Creatine- Is is necessary for teens (source)

Bottom Line

More the level of creatine phosphate (PCr) in your body higher the amount of energy that can be restored within your muscles cells which will further help you as a runner to accomplish various types of physical outfits in a smart way. 

As a runner, make sure not to have creatine if you are suffering from kidney or liver disorder. Ensure to be properly hydrated during the 3 phases of creatine intake.It will always be wise to take the recommended dosage of creatine to prevent side effects. Make sure to determine your medical condition before having creatine. It will be wise to discontinue the intake of creatine if you face any sort of side effects.

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