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.