Creatine: Myths and facts
For many athletes and bodybuilders, creatine is a basic dietary supplement, whereas for some, it’s something to avoid. There’s a wide range of opinions about creatine, but much of what is said is actually not true. To find out what’s myth and what’s fact, let’s play a game of true or false.
True or false? Creatine and anabolic steroids are the same thing
False! Creatine has got nothing to do with anabolic steroids, which resembles or imitates testosterone to promote muscle growth and enhance physical performance. Creatine gives your muscles extra energy, or helps them produce it. Anabolic steroids also tend to be more regulated than creatine.
True or False? Creatine produces strength
False. Taking creatine on its own won’t make your muscles grow strong, but it will give you extra energy, which benefits your workout. So if you don't exercise, your muscles won’t get stronger no matter how much creatine you take.
True or False? Creatine can give you an upset stomach
True. Upset stomachs have been linked to taking creatine, which in some people can can also cause intestinal problems. Luckily these side effects aren’t common.
True or False? An excess of creatine can cause flaccid muscles
True. Creatine retains water, which means your muscles will store more liquid than usual. If you take creatine but you don’t work your muscles out, they’ll start getting soft and flaccid. Only the right balance of creatine and exercise will give you strong muscles.
True or False? Creatine causes weight gain
True. Once again, because the supplement has the effect of retaining more liquid, it causes a slight increase in fiber and muscle mass, which means some weight gain. This of course depends on each person’s body type and the kind of exercise they do.
If you’re thinking about taking creatine, it’s always a good idea to consult your doctor or nutritionist so you can get personalized advice. Either way, creatine will only be of use if you’re actually working out.