Have you ever considered starting a new supplement routine, but remain hesitant due to questions about the supplement’s safety and effectiveness?
Well if creatine is the supplement in question, wonder no more, for few supplements in history are as heavily researched as creatine.
Creatine is perhaps the safest supplement on the market, with decades of highly funded research lending credence to this claim.
It has also been proven effective in many aspects of physical enhancement and unlike some supplements, creatine is beneficial to everyone who uses it with only mild side effects.
Newbies often wonder if taking creatine causes acne breakouts—it doesn’t.
This myth has been perpetuated by misinformed fitness enthusiasts for far too long. Creatine has no anabolic properties and does not affect hormone production.
Casual gym-goers often believe that creatine boost testosterone levels and many web articles claim such, but this is false.
As mentioned, creatine has been thoroughly researched for decades and no accepted study has ever suggested that testosterone levels are affected by creatine supplementation.
On the other hand, skin issues are known to arise in individuals who are dehydrated, and creatine supplementation requires you to drink more water than usual to maintain proper hydration.
So by this logic, someone might experience breakouts while supplementing with creatine by way of inadvertently underhydrating.
If dehydration is the cause of your acne, however, it is likely that you will be experiencing other signs of underhydration and, luckily, this is an easy condition to rectify.
Does creatine add fat?
No, creatine does not add fat. In fact, creatine has no effect on fat stores whatsoever. Many first-time users of creatine believe they are gaining fat because of bloating and weight increase.
Bloating occurs in the early stages of a creatine cycle. When bloating, muscles are oversaturated with water and appear bigger, softer, and rounded; this lends to the idea of gaining fat.
The weight increase that rapidly onsets during creatine use can be attributed to the improved water retention in muscles. It is not uncommon for people with significant muscle mass to gain 3-5 pounds purely in water weight during the first month of creatine supplementation.
This rise in weight combined with soft, round muscles can understandably cause someone to believe they are packing on fat due to creatine supplementation.
Myths about Creatine
Creatine is Only for People with Big Muscles
When people begin to learn about creatine, they sometimes believe it is only intended for serious athletes with bulging muscles. This is simply not true.
Individuals of all fitness levels will benefit from creatine supplementation. Actually, creatine is one of the most beginner-friendly supplements due to its safety profile, limited side effects, and ease of use.
Women Should Not Use Creatine
False. As described above, creatine will benefit all individuals, regardless of age, gender, or fitness level.
Because of its generally mild effects, creatine may even be a preferred supplement by women.
Creatine Causes Organ Damage
Of all the supplements in the history of fitness, apart from protein powder, no supplement has been studied as thoroughly and deemed as safe as creatine.
Many fitness newbies believe creatine can cause liver and kidney damage if used incorrectly or for an extended period. This thought likely arises from the bombardment of anti-steroid propaganda that is force-fed to us during our school years.
Let’s be clear, creatine is incapable of causing organ damage, even if used for years without cycling off.
Creatine Requires a Loading Phase
A loading phase is when creatine is taken in large doses (2-4x the recommended daily dose for 2 weeks) in hopes of quicker muscle saturation and expedient results.
Research shows that loading phases are unnecessary, as they do not actually show a significant increase in the onset of creatine supplementation benefits.
Although, loading phases are not dangerous and many fitness enthusiasts choose to do a loading phase “just in case” there are any benefits to be had.
Creatine Will Stunt the Growth of Teenagers and Young Adults
This claim is rather absurd and fueled by a lack of understanding. Creatine has no effect on growth hormones or any other hormones.
Many scare tactics are used in attempts to deter young athletes from using performance-enhancing drugs such as steroids, and unfortunately, safe supplements such as creatine are often roped in under these broad, often baseless, accusations.
Since Creatine is Found in Food It Does Not Need to Be Supplemented
Many foods provide creatine to the body when digested, especially beef. But the amount of creatine gained from nutrition alone pales in comparison to what the body receives through supplementation.
The amount of meat you would need to eat in order to obtain equivalent levels of creatine in the body is far beyond what anyone can realistically sustain.
Creatine is Not Effective on Its Own
Far too many casual gym-goers believe that creatine is ineffective by itself and must be used in addition to other supplements or nutrients.
While I will concede that proper nutrition and smart supplementation can only aid the effectiveness of creatine, it is not necessary that anything else is used/consumed in conjunction with creatine to realize its benefits.
It has been said that creatine should be consumed with a high-sugar drink to improve its absorbability.
This idea comes from research that states carbohydrates do help the body metabolize creatine but drinking a high-sugar beverage can cause blood sugar spikes and increased insulin production, making the perceived benefits for creatine a trade-off.
And the fact remains, creatine is easily absorbed by the body, even when consumed by itself.
Still, some will tell you that creatine is not a stand-alone supplement, and it is only useful as an add-on supplement. This is a baseless claim; creatine works fine with or without other supplements.
I will always be an advocate for the supplementation of protein powder and creatine by those who engage in a regular exercise routine (as these supplements are heavily researched, proven to be safe, and highly beneficial), but these supplements are not dependent on each other and will work just as well when used exclusively.