Creatine has long been one of the most popular sport supplements on the market. Even though it has stood the test of time there are still some myths associated with this popular supplement. Here are 5 of the most common myths debunked.
Myth #1: You need to do a loading phase
Companies want you to load on creatine where you take 20 grams for the first five days. From their standpoint the more you take the more they sell. However, unless you’re in a hurry to gain muscle loading is unnecessary. Studies have shown that people who load will have greater gains than those who don’t in the first 2 weeks. However, after 4 weeks both methods will produce equal results. Basically, all loading does is get you to the same point faster.
Myth #2: Creatine leads to kidney and liver damage
There has been no evidence of this being true. In fact the only clinically significant side effect that has been consistently reported in scientific and medical literature is increase in muscle mass. However, many people will have the idea that more is better. Taking unnecessary amounts of creatine will cause the body to excrete the excess. Any creatine your body does not use is converted to a waste called creatinine. Over time this constant excretion of creatinine may lead to undue stress on the kidneys and liver. Supplementing 5 grams a day is sufficient for most people.
Myth #3: Creatine makes you retain water and feel bloated.
Muscle is approximately 73% water. If you gain 10lbs of muscle 7.3 of it is water. Numerous studies show that long-term creatine use increases fat free mass without an increase in total water. Several studies show increase in muscle fiber diameter and strength. Therefore, the weight gain seems to be muscle mass and it is your fat that is making you feel bloated. Bloating may also be due to poor quality. To avoid any unwanted side effects avoid creatine (or any supplement for that matter) made in China.
Myth #4: Liquid creatine absorbs faster and fruit juice increases uptake
In fact, recent studies indicate liquid creatine has no effect at all. Most studies indicate that creatine monohydrate is the only form proven effective. According to research, it is unlikely creatine uptake is improved by mixing it with juice or caffeine.
Myth #5: It is best to take creatine after your workout
This one is up for debate, but is by no means a fact. In my opinion, the best time to take creatine is whenever you remember. The most important thing is that you take it consistently. Once your levels are maximized you may even reduce to 5g every other day to sustain your levels.