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Creatine is an extremely popular supplement with thousands...

Open container of white powder with scoop on wooden table surrounded by white supplement capsules.

Creatine is an extremely popular supplement with thousands of studies attesting its effectiveness in humans. It works well for athletes, older people, women, men, teenagers, vegetarians and vegans, and perhaps even children. It is well tested, safe in moderate amounts, and has very few downsides.

But because so many people use it, creatine also raises a lot of questions. Every time I make a post on Creatine, I get more questions in my inbox.

  • Does it cause hair loss?
  • How much should you take every day?
  • Is there a good time to take it?
  • Will Creatine Make You Gain Weight?
  • And is creatine harmful to the kidneys?
  • What should we worry about side effects?

Let’s dig right in and answer those questions.

Does creatine cause hair loss?

This is an ongoing concern, but there isn’t much solid research lending evidence to it. Much of the “evidence” lies in an older study where college rugby players took creatine for a few weeks and saw their dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, rise above baseline. (The placebo control group saw no increase in DHT). DHT is the more active or potent form of testosterone that has powerful anabolic effects. It can also constrict hair follicles and cause them to shrink, reducing your ability to support a thick, healthy head of hair.

However, the creatine group had lower DHT levels at baseline, so it may be that creatine is only correcting the lower starting levels. Other studies on creatine and testosterone have failed to find any consistent association between creatine and high testosterone, free testosterone (from which DHT is produced), or DHT.

Finally, there are no studies showing that taking creatine causes hair loss. It is not impossible or even impossible. It’s simply not shown of course.

Anecdotally, some people report hair loss after starting creatine, but those without a control group and good functioning are the most difficult connections to draw. Would they have lost the hair anyway? Were there other factors at play?

How much creatine per day?

There are two basic strategies that people commonly employ.

If you want to accelerate creatine into muscle, you can do a “loading phase” of 20 grams (divided into 4 doses) for a week before dropping to 3 to 5 grams a day.

If you don’t, you can just take 3 to 5 grams a day from the get go.

Both strategies work fine.

If you have a lot of muscle mass — and thus high creatine storage capacity — or if you burn off a lot of creatine with intense activity, you may benefit from a larger daily dose in the range of 8 to 10 grams.

Once you are consistently taking creatine in sufficient amounts to saturate your muscle stores (20 grams per day for 5 to 7 days, or 3 per day for 28 days to give two common examples) to 5 grams), you can probably cut your creatine away from “cycling.” Taking the day off, there are low doses here and there. Maybe taking creatine “as needed” around resistance exercise even when you’re actually going to use it. I’m just speculating here, but I think I’m right.

Whenever you take creatine, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water – more than usual. Otherwise it can cause stomach cramps.

Does Creatine Make You Gain Weight?

In the first week, you will gain weight as the body stores water along with creatine. This is completely normal and usually subsides after a few weeks. But what about the “real” weight? Will it cause actual weight gain?

kinda.

Studies of both older men and older women have found that creatine use increases body mass. In other words, his BMI would have been “bad.”

What’s up? So is creatine bad?

opposite of this, While creatine will increase body mass, creatine has never been shown to cause fat gain., Creatine will likely help you gain lean muscle mass by helping you lift more weight in the gym, maintain a higher exercise intensity, and perform higher-volume sets. Creatine does not directly cause weight gain, but it is helping to enable it. This is “good weight”. This is the weight you want to gain. In all of those “increased body mass” studies, creatine also increased the amount of weight they were lifting and increased their performance in a wide range of physical activities. It was making them stronger.

Creatine can make you gain weight, but it’s the good kind of lean mass.

When should I take creatine?

Creatine is a long-term supplement. It’s something you “load” into your muscles and once it’s there, it stays there until you expend it with intense activity. This is why many people go through a “loading” phase with 20 grams per day for a week until that subsides with a lower dosage – they want to speed up the saturation of creatine storage.

However, there are indications that the timing of your creatine intake can affect how well it works in your body.

One study found that taking creatine immediately after a workout resulted in better strength gains in the bench press, more lean mass, and less fat mass than taking creatine immediately before a workout.

Another study using a creatine/carbohydrate/protein supplement found that it didn’t really matter whether you took it before or after a workout, as long as you took it closer to a workout. Both pre- and post-workout creatine was far more effective than taking it away from your workout, either in the morning or at night.

taking whatever you do close To have the best effect (before or after) training.

Is creatine bad for the kidneys?

If you have healthy kidney function, creatine is proven safe. Urinary creatine excretion will be increased, but this is considered a normal response to increased creatine intake and an indication. healthy kidney function. Creatine supplementation has not been shown to cause impaired kidney function in healthy people with healthy kidneys at baseline. Although there are case studies of kidney dysfunction with creatine supplementation, all these cases were due to pre-existing kidney disease, excessive dosage (100x what is normally recommended), steroid use, and other medications they were taking, such as: Was confused by the variables.

Supplement creatine if you have poor kidney health or function. May be contraindicated. However, there is a case report of a young adult male with one kidney who was able to take creatine while eating a high-protein diet and had no health consequences. Whatever you do, if you are concerned about your kidneys or have poor kidney function, check with your doctor before proceeding.

Are There Any Creatine Side Effects?

nothing is perfect. There are some potential complications or side effects, but they are not inevitable and you can usually avoid them with a few basic tips.

Twitch: Drink enough water and drink less alcohol. Creatine increases water requirements, so make sure you drink enough water and get enough electrolytes. Read all about hydration here. Or just mix Gerolsteiner mineral water with sea salt and lemon or lime juice. For serious electrolyte needs, you can also make my “better Gatorade” by mixing blackstrap molasses in coconut water with some lemon or lime juice and salt.

gas, bloating, diarrhea: You took too much. Make sure you are weighing and measuring your creatine dosage. Also try taking creatine with some calories with food (how you would usually get creatine in natural settings)

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