Creatine

Creatine: Myths and Misconceptions

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Creatine is a fantastic supplement; in fact, it’s one of the most widely recognized supplements for improving athletes' performance, with users experiencing an average strength increase of 8% (1). However, there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding creatine, and we’re going to quickly debunk them now!

Myth No #1: 

Creatine is bad for the kidneys.

This is not true. Originally, it was proposed that creatine supplementation might pose a risk to kidney function; however, extensive research has repeatedly debunked this claim (3) (4) (5). Numerous scientific studies have investigated the potential renal effects of creatine, and time and again, the results have dispelled any concerns about adverse impacts on kidney health. In fact, creatine has far more scientific evidence proving its safety than many other fitness supplements on the market.

Myth No #2:

Creatine makes you retain large volumes of water.

While creatine is an osmolyte that does accept and bind to water, proper supplementation results in a total body water gain of only 2-3 lbs. This is primarily due to water binding within the muscle cell, leading to a more hydrated muscle, which is a beneficial effect of creatine. Reports of significant water gain are often due to misinformation regarding the necessity of a 'loading phase,' which, in reality, is not required for creatine supplementation and leads to large volumes of water retention. (6)

Myth No #3:

Creatine needs a loading phase.

This is untrue. Taking 5g of creatine per day yields the same creatine retention after one month, without the potential for upsetting the stomach or causing excess water gain. (7) (8)

Myth No #4:

More expensive, alternate forms of creatine are best.

This is untrue. Creatine Monohydrate is widely recognized as the most effective form of creatine for strength gain, and it has the best safety record, scientific backing, and affordability. Other forms of creatine, including Creatine Ethyl Ester (CEE), Creatine Hydrochloride (HCL), Buffered Creatine, Micronized Creatine, and Creatine Nitrate, are generally promoted as marketing ploys aimed at charging more without providing significant advantages.

Myth No #5:

Creatine is just for bodybuilders.

Creatine is extremely beneficial for anyone aiming to increase strength and power, including athletes from various disciplines. Strength and power are key fitness elements of a multitude of sports. So, rather than only being beneficial for strength athletes, individuals involved in sports such as rowing, cycling, swimming, and running may also experience performance improvements with creatine supplementation. Furthermore, recent research indicates that creatine offers a range of cognitive benefits beyond its physical performance advantages.Furthermore, recent research indicates that creatine offers a range of cognitive benefits beyond its physical performance advantages. While studying the effects of creatine on cognition is a relatively new field of investigation, there is promising data showing that creatine supplementation can increase the brain's stored creatine levels. Much like in the muscle cell, this increased availability of creatine assists with energy production, and within the brain, this may result in improved cognition, particularly in short-term and working memory function. (9) (10)

Myth No #6:

Creatine causes hair loss

It has been proposed that creatine increases testosterone levels, and because increased testosterone can cause hair loss, it has been believed that creatine promotes hair loss. However, this has repeatedly been shown to be untrue. Numerous studies have found that creatine supplementation has no significant effect on testosterone levels and, therefore, no effect on hair loss. (11)

If you are interested in learning more about if creatine is right for you, read our blog here

About the Author:

Joe Clark Thrive Protein

Joe is a certified personal trainer, strength and conditioning coach, and nutrition coach. While studying sport and exercise science, Joe's main focus has been on human physiology and performance. Joe has helped numerous clients achieve their health and fitness goals by applying research into practice to support their physical and overall well-being.

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