3 Key Questions about Creatine

Creatine has been in the news lately, and not for the best reasons.  The cost of nearly all supplements are on the rise as part of the fallout of the pandemic. And with creatine being a prevalent ingredient in many “proprietary” supplement blends, it’s not just the creatine product in it’s pure form that has seen a price hike. 

This has led to a huge influx of people asking me questions about just how necessary creatine is as part of your regimen. Creatine was a huge topic of discussion when it first hit the market in the mid-to-late 90’s. But the buzz around creatine specifically has died down to an extent in recent years. So it’s fair that people wonder “how important is creatine?”

Before I answer that, let’s dive in to what creatine actually does.

How does creatine work?

Creatine is a naturally occurring compound found in muscle cells. It plays a critical role in energy production during short, high-intensity exercises such as weightlifting and sprinting. It works by helping to produce ATP, which is the primary source of energy for muscle contractions.

Supplementing with creatine can help to increase the amount of it that’s stored in your muscles. This can enhance your ability to produce energy and lead to improvements in strength, power, and muscle mass. 

Despite the rising costs of the product, we advocate that it remains part of your supplement stack and regimen if you’ve been using it and getting strong results. Here are three questions we’ve gotten a lot of lately in regard to using creatine.

Can I mix creatine with protein?

Yes, you can mix creatine with protein. In fact, many athletes and bodybuilders use protein supplements to support muscle growth and recovery, and they often combine creatine with protein to enhance their results.

Creatine and protein work in different ways, but they can complement each other when used together. Creatine helps to increase strength and power output, while protein provides the building blocks necessary for muscle repair and growth.

There is no evidence to suggest that mixing creatine with protein reduces its effectiveness or causes any negative side effects. However, it’s important to follow the recommended dosage for both supplements and to stay hydrated throughout the day.

Does creatine make you bloated?

One of the most common side effects of creatine is bloating or water retention. When you take creatine, it draws water into your muscles, which can make you appear more muscular and increase your body weight.

However, this water weight gain is temporary. It usually goes away within a few weeks of stopping creatine use. Additionally, the amount of water weight gain varies from person to person, and some people may not experience any bloating at all.

To minimize bloating, it’s important to again stay hydrated while taking creatine and to follow the recommended dosage. You can also try taking creatine with a meal or after a workout, which can help your body absorb it more effectively.

Does creatine have negative side effects?

There’s a lot of misconceptions and concerns when it comes to potential negative side effects from using creatine. However, the truth is that creatine has been extensively researched. To this point, it has not been shown to produce any significant negative side effects.

The impact on kidney function is one of the biggest misconceptions about creatine. Despite concerns over the years, there is no evidence to suggest that creatine harms kidney function. It has been tested on older people, people with kidney disease, and people with diabetes. Research has found that supplementing with creatine in safe amounts has not been found to worsen conditions. 

It also doesn’t lead to fat growth. Taking creatine supplements can increase fluid retention within muscle cells, resulting in an overall weight gain, but this weight gain is not directly related to fat. The fluid retention can also lead to the misinterpretation that creatine is causing weight gain, as it is not visible to the naked eye.

Finally, some athletes have reported that creatine can cause muscle cramps. However, there is actually no scientific evidence to support this claim. In fact, one study found that patients undergoing a treatment that can cause muscle cramps had a 60% reduction in cramps when using creatine.

Creatine is a highly effective supplement for athletes and bodybuilders looking to increase strength, power, and muscle mass. However, it’s important to use it safely and effectively. 

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