should i take creatine?

You've been bodybuilding in order to stay healthy, yes? A healthy body is vital to a healthy lifestyle, after all. You're taking supplements as well. They go a long way to helping the body get fit and stay fit.

You're taking creatine as part of your supplement program. Unfortunately, creatine has received an undeserved bad reputation among those who don't know what it is, where it's made, and what it does for the body. People aren't aware that it's good for you.

Numerous people wrongly think creatine is a steroid, and that bodybuilders take it to get ripped. They don't know that creatine is made in the body by the muscles, and that it provides energy to those muscles. They don't know why it's good for you. Here's the skinny on creatine.

What is Creatine Exactly?

Creatine is a substance naturally produced by the muscles. Ninety-five percent of creatine is found in the muscles and five percent in the brain, liver, and kidneys. Creatine works with the muscles to produce energy, when the muscles are used to lift or worked out in high intensity movements. 

Creatine is also found in meat and fish. It resembles an amino acid, and it can be made from the amino acids arginine and glycine.

Creatine aids in increasing muscle mass as well as strength. All this comes from stored creatine in the cells of muscles. It helps the body produce ATP or adenosine triphosphate, a chemical that aids in the energy needed for muscle contraction. When you take creatine, it helps your body produce this energy.

How Does Creatine Work?

Here is where the science comes in. We'll try not to blindside you with twelve-syllable scientific words. It's a simple process. 

An image of Creatine scoop with dumbbell plates

When an action is needed in the body, two components combine to produce the element that will cause an action to occur. In this case, creatine, either supplemented or naturally created, binds with a phosphate to form creatine phosphate.

ATP is the component from which the body's energy originates. The body oxidizes fats, carbs, and protein to form ATP. Here is where another component enters the picture. ATP hydrolizes a phosphate group to give you this energy.

Now the creatine phosphate enters the picture. When a phosphate group is hydrolized, it gives off energy in the form of heat. This energy moves the muscles. However, the phosphate group has now lost an element, which in turn makes this group ADP or adenosine di-phosphate.

Creatine phosphate gives its phosphate group to the ADP to return it to ATP, or the energy muscles need to work. Your muscles therefore have two forms of energy working on them, meaning they can work out longer and harder.

Creatine Has Effects On Muscle Gain, Strength, and Performance 

Creatine is its own fuel source. Your body will tap that source first for the energy to work out the muscles. Additionally, creatine helps the body produce more ATP, which aids in increasing the intensity of your workout.

Studies have shown that creatine is good for senior adults as well as sedentary people. Other studies have shown that senior adults taking creatine supplements showed stronger legs and greater muscle mass.

Studies have also proved that creatine added to a training program increased strength by eight percent and weight lifting ability by 14 percent. 

Another benefit of creatine is that it increases water absorption by the muscle's cells. The effect of this is the pumping up of muscles. Creatine increases protein construction in the muscle cells. Brain function as well as metabolizing glucose are other creatine benefits.

Is It Worth It To Take Creatine? 

Yes, it is, for different reasons and different types of people. Endurance athletes, for example, such as swimmers and runners would gain no benefits from creatine. It does nothing for endurance. 

Vegetarians get no creatine from their diet. Supplementing would benefit them, but only if they need to gain muscle mass, strength, and improved exercise performance.

Seniors taking creatine can expect to see improved muscle mass, strength, and good exercise performance in addition to improved brain function. Seniors are working out and staying fit today with all the innovations in insurance coverage and wearable gadgets. Creatine is a good addition to this routine.

Women and teens, it's said, wouldn't benefit from using creatine. We beg to differ. Teens are still growing and need all the nutrients they can get in order to have healthy bodies. Creatine helps these active kids to get the energy they need to not only work out, but to live their active teenage lives.

An image of Creatine taking hands

Women work out just like men do, although women streamline instead of bulking up. It's ridiculous to think that women won't benefit from something made in their own bodies. You can see how it would be worth it for different types of people to take creatine.

Is Taking Creatine Good For You? 

While taking too high doses of creatine can damage the kidneys, it's generally recognized as safe, says the Mayo Clinic. The clinic also says that if you have kidney disease or diabetes, then you shouldn't take creatine. Otherwise, a substance made inside the body that provides energy for working out the muscles and supplemented for better energy production can't hurt.

Does Creatine Affect You Sexually? 

The National Institutes of Health reported on a 2011-12 Australian study in which 2.9 percent of interviewees took some type of sport supplement before the interview. Almost eight percent of men ages 18 to 30 took some type of supplement in the form of sport drinks and powders. 

The study found that most sport products contain one or more forms of steroids. While users gain muscle mass and more energy to do high intensity workouts, their bodies suffer in another direction.

These steroids were found to decrease testosterone production, while elevating estrogen production (yes, both men and women produce testosterone and estrogen.) Excess testosterone morphs into estrogen, causing erectile dysfunction.

The study advised sport supplement users to take the recommended dose in order to “bulk up.” However, users were advised to give it a miss for three or four weeks in order to avoid complications from any unadvertised ingredients in the sport powder. Alerting your doctor to your use will get you a plan for using it and avoiding any consequences.

Are You Supposed To Take Creatine Every Day?

Up to now, the protocol introduced in the 1990s has remained the benchmark of creatine use. It states that 20g per day every day for seven days, split however you wish, is how to take it. Three to five grams afterward on maintenance days is how to carry on. 

Someone obviously challenged this, because a study was done to see if those who worked out benefited just as well from taking creatine only on training days. In the study, one group worked out three days. The other group worked out two days. Both groups were given five grams of creatine before and after working out. The result was maximal creatine stores in muscles.

A separate study of two groups working out three days per week and two days per week was done in which participants took ten grams of creatine on training days only (five grams before and five after.) The results were increased muscle thickness, but no difference otherwise between the three day and the two day group.

The inference from these studies is that you can take creatine every day in the recommended dosage. If you want to take it only on training days, then you have the evidence from the studies saying it works just as well and possibly better.

Does Creatine Mess Up Your Liver? 

Some scientific publications say creatine will wreck the liver, while others say not. The National Institutes of Health did a study in which 23 young athletes on a college football team underwent studying for five years. These men were the epitome of fitness with well trained and healthy bodies. 

Ten were given five to 20 grams of creatine every day for five years. Thirteen took nothing. At the end of the study, the group taking the creatine showed no significant liver damage from the other group. The conclusion drawn by the NIH was that creatine supplementation hasn't any liver damaging consequences.

How Much Creatine Is Safe Per Day? 

An image of weighing machine with creatine

Creatine is manufactured in the body and is stored in the muscles at the rate of two grams of creatine per day. An athlete, then, would need much more creatine supplementation to simply maintain the creatine stores in his muscles. The question is how much. 

The 20 grams per day was set as the benchmark of creatine usage without testing. Now that there have been studies and tests, the thinking has changed.

A man carries one gram of creatine per pound of weight. When it's burned off, it is replenished at the rate of three grams, which is the max a muscle will hold.

In order to maintain a healthy ratio of creatine to muscle capacity, the thinking now is to take between 20 and 27 grams of creatine. Your dosage will depend on body weight and the amount of lean muscle you have.

Can Beginners Take Creatine? 

Creatine is the best choice for beginners who want to increase muscle mass while lifting heavier weights and doing more reps. A beginner will want to use creatine monohydrate. This has been tested the most and is safe for use by a beginner. The studies have shown that creatine increases muscle strength and mass by over ten percent.

Can Creatine Have Side Effects? 

Depending on whom you consult, creatine is safe for use at the recommended dosage for five years. On the other hand, if you take creatine in higher doses, then damage to the liver, heart, and kidneys result. Other side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight gain
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Fever
  • Intolerance to heat
  • Dehydration
  • Gastrointestinal disturbances

If you're a diabetic or have kidney disease, then don't take creatine. Diabetics run the risk of damaging their kidneys when they take creatine.

Creatine use makes the muscles take water from the rest of the body. The purpose of creatine, after all, is to pump up the muscles. Guess how it's done. So drink lots of water when you're taking creatine. Don't exercise in the heat, because this will further dehydrate you. 

Creatine has been found to make people with mania or bipolar disease to become more manic. Avoid using creatine.

There are no studies regarding pregnant women's use of creatine or breastfeeding women. It's best to avoid trouble and not use creatine in either condition.

Caffeine has never been found to be beneficial when creatine is used. It may make Parkinson's disease worse. Don't take caffeine with creatine in this instance.


Creatine is a substance made inside the body from two amino acids. It is stored in the cells of muscles, where the muscles use it for the energy they need to contract. Creatine is also found in fish and red meat. It is also a most popular supplement.

Creatine aids in the production of ATP which is the body's fuel source. Athletes and bodybuilders are able to work out longer with more reps at high intensity lifts. This builds muscle. Creatine does nothing for endurance, however.

Creatine is good for anyone wishing to build a healthy body. Women and teens, vegetarians who'd get no creatine from fish or red meat, and seniors getting fit or staying fit all benefit from using creatine.

Creatine is safe to take in the recommended dosage for the recommended amount of time, that is, 20g per day for two weeks, and then three to five grams per day for one week as maintenance. Higher dosages result in heart, liver, and kidney damage.

Beginners are advised to take the recommended dosage for the recommended period of time to avoid any side effects such as dehydration, muscle cramps, nausea, diarrhea, and fever.

Now that you know creatine is safe and good for your body, feel free to check into your nearest pharmacy or health food store. You can also order creatine online. We hope our review has informed you and helped you reach the decision to use creatine for yourself.

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