How Safe is Creatine for Building Muscle Mass?

Whether you’re new to the world of fitness or have been in it for some time, chances are you’ve heard of Creatine Monohydrate. Personal trainers and athletes use and speak about this effective supplement often, and for good reason. What exactly is it, and why do you need it? Well, we’re here to help break that down nice and simple for you. Creatine monohydrate is a commonly used dietary supplement. Its benefits include increased “muscle performance in short-duration, high-intensity resistance exercises,” according to the Cleveland Clinic [source]

Is Creatine Safe?

Yes, creatine monohydrate is safe and natural. Your body already produces it for a source of energy within your liver and kidneys. When you strain your muscles, such as during a lifting session or working out, your body sends creatine monohydrate to your skeletal muscles for energy and power. We typically keep our own levels up through our daily diet. However, you can also opt to buy the substance for a little extra boost both pre and post workout. Creatine has been shown to be safe when taken in the long-term, in doses of up to 10mg per day for an extended use of five or more years according to WebMd.

Who Should Use Creatine?

You don’t have to be a bodybuilder or professional athlete to incorporate creatine monohydrate into your supplement and workout regime. The supplement is popular amongst professional athletes and bodybuilders for good reason, and it’s popular amongst non-athletes and non-bodybuilders as well. It’s important to note that “creatine is not a steroid…this couldn’t be further from the truth”. Creatine works to make muscles more hydrated, which can also help muscles to “look bigger and fuller,” which is a desired effect for many[source]

How Creatine Builds Muscle

Creatine works to increase muscle strength and size by working with your “body’s stores of phosphocreatine,” a naturally occurring substance that is “used to produce new ATP during high-intensity exercise”. According to the study, something as minor as a week of loading creatine up to “2 gram/day” can “drastically elevate your muscle stores” [source]. Other studies show that it may take weeks to notice a difference. 

When to Take Creatine

Creatine monohydrate can be purchased at most in-person supplement retailers and online. It usually comes with a scoop and will dissolve in water. Creatine doesn’t take immediate effect. It takes some time to work its way into the system and muscles. Due to this, research and studies have shown that it’s more beneficial to take it for a few weeks on end before you decide whether or not it’s for you as it may take that long for your body to assimilate and show its effectiveness. 

Many people opt to mix it in their protein shake along with their pre or post workout supplement, shake it up, and reap the benefits. It’s entirely tasteless and odorless, you won’t even notice it’s there. But your muscles will. Try creatine for a consistent period of at least 12-weeks before you determine whether or not it’s made a noticeable difference for you.


Creatine and Older Adults

As a result of aging and inactivity, almost all atrophy an elderly individual’s muscle group is observed in the quick twitching fibers that happen to be recruited over the course of high-intensity, anaerobic actions (example, weight training, sprints, etc.). Surprisingly, these are absolutely the materials creatine has the essential unique effects on. One study labeled as “Creatine supplementation increases isometric energy and physical structure improvements utilizing strength exercise and training in more aged men and women” fed 28 healthy and well balanced women and men (just above sixty-five years old) either 5 grams everyday of creatine or placebo utilizing a unique, double blind method for fourteen weeks. Both of these testing groups were put on a resistance workouts (weight lifting) system for the duration of the research study. 14 weeks of resistance fitness exercises caused extensive improvements in all specifications of toughness and workable activities and muscular tissue fiber area for both social groups. Whatever, the people taking the creatine led to considerably greater improves in non-fat mass, higher improvement in isometric knee extension, much higher gains in isometric line and flexion strength, as well as a remarkable boost in intramuscular creatine amounts. The scientists came to the conclusion : “The addition of creatine supplementation to the workout routine stimulus improved the boost in total and non-fat mass, and gains in quite a lot of indices of isometric muscle potency.” A full slew of latest tests have been noticing equivalent effects on more aged individuals and coming to practically similar results.

An additional recent study named “Creatine supplementation gets better physical functionality in more aged men” by using a synonymous project as the above mentioned study noticed almost the same results. They concluded: “… information signals that seven days of creatine supplementation is effective at enhancing plenty of indices of muscle abilities, including workable clinical tests in elderly males with no negative side effects. Creatine supplements could be a very useful therapeutic approach for elderly adults to attenuate loss in muscle potency and functions of functional way of life activities.” Additional research came to synonymous results. However, it ought to be mentioned that not all tests have found this effect (Effects of creatine monohydrate intake in exercise-free and weight-trained more aged persons but they were much earlier studies that could have had some methodological imperfections. Irrespective, the bulk of the data, in specific the latest data, simply points to creatine as having great effects on energy and body structure in old persons, particularly when combined with a weight training exercise project. One very helpful present-day survey found the beneficial effects of creatine on energy and lean muscle mass in older grownups continued after they stopped using the creatine at least for the twelve weeks they tested these people. They concluded: “Withdrawal from creatine had no influence on the rate of energy, strength, and decrease of good muscle mass with 12 weeks of reduced-volume training program.” However, it’s the experience of most creatine consumers, and even most surveys in younger persons, that the excellent effects of creatine do in fact reduce in the long run if one ends utilizing creatine. Since there is no certain fact to go off creatine once established, the most useful results will most likely come from continued use.


Can creatine cause injury or muscle cramps

This is maybe by far the most well known creatine myth among the athletes. This is a post hoc fallacy and something that becomes repeated so much that people without having prior knowledge of creatine will most likely and unfortunately believe it to be reality. If an sportsperson who is using creatine gets a muscle cramp they’ll point the fingers at their own creatine utilize, while in fact the cramp is most probably as a direct consequence of deficit of water, improper electrolyte balance, or number of other causes that could possibly result in cramping.

In a new and very large (nearly 1500 participants) research, creatine supplementation did not lead to enhanced incidence of cramping amongst more athletes. In fact, the people taking creatine actually suffered from considerably less cramps than the non-creatine team. In a comparable vein, a lot of professional athletes mistakenly believe that creatine will improve their risk of harm. Nevertheless, study has demonstrated that creatine is unable to increase the possibility of injury.


The quantity of myths I just included are the most widespread you can find these days, although there are obviously more you will deal with if you look a little bit deeper. Hopefully I’ve suggested you to accept anything very negative you read about creatine monohydrate with a touch of suspicion from here on out. I recommend you to always try to find legitimate scientific materials when it comes to creatine or any other nutritional supplement. Don’t rely on the personal stories of good friends, fellow fitness enthusiasts, coaching staff, etc. Have confidence in published, peer-reviewed scientific tests. Be concered about any unrealistic claims you hear, whether they are negative or positive. While We’ve preferred to pay attention to debunking the negative myths related to creatine, the phrase of “buyers beware” obviously relates to the nutritional supplement business. Remember, creatine is not a steroid, so do not expect steroid-like effects, regardless of how lofty the manufacturer’s claims may be.