What are the advantages or disadvantages of Creatine?
Creatine is a nitrogenous organic acid that occurs naturally in all vertebrates. Creatine helps to supply energy to muscle and nerve cells. Here we study some advantages and disadvantages of creatine and its use.
Some of the Advantages are listed below:
- A creatine diet improves performance in the gym and on the field. Performance of sprinters, football players and basketball players, for example, have shown marked improvement with the use of creatine supplements.
- Creatine also helps in muscle re-growth – which means, one can gain up to 4 pounds in less than a week, with a creatine diet. Bodybuilders benefit hugely from a creatine diet – Creatine has been shown to enhance maximal strength and accelerate lean muscle mass.
- Creatine, most importantly, is not an artificial compound created by chemists in the laboratory. It already exists in the human body, and acts as a source of energy for our pursuits.
- Creatine occurs in many animal foods, like salmon, tuna and beef. However, it may not be possible to get enough of the compound to show a marked effect in ones performance only through food. Moreover, the cooking process sometimes “damages” creatine, so people prefer taking creatine supplements when they are on their workout schedule.
- Last, but not the least, use of creatine is claimed to be free of any side effects among many users. In fact, researchers have now shown that use of creatine has positive effects on the health of women, the elderly and people with certain medical conditions.
Though we read so many of the advantages of creatine supplements, it does have some disadvantages too. Read about some of them below:
- Unexplained side effects: Though creatine supplement marketers claim creatine doesn’t have any side effects and in fact benefits the body if used over a period of time, some of the reports of users suggest their suffering from increased aggressiveness, anxiety, acne, male breast formation (Gynecomastia), a reduction in penis size, hair loss (men) and body hair growth (women). Of these, increased aggressiveness, acne and hair loss are the most frequently reported. Gastrointestinal complications have also been commonly reported among users of creatine supplements. Moreover, scientific studies have proven that increase in body mass from creatine use can be attributed to water retention by muscle.
- Use of Creatine in sports, as a performance enhancer is controversial. Though it still remains one of the most popular supplements used by sports enthusiasts and professional athletes, some people have reacted negatively to the use of creatine to enhance performance, and seek to ban the use of it by individuals involved in competitive sports.
- It has been proven that a highly acidic environment, like the stomach, can cause pure creatine to convert into creatinine, which nullifies all beneficial effects of creatine. To minimize this, creatine supplement manufacturers add alkaline phosphates to their supplements. The effect of such compounds on the body has not been analyzed.
- Not everyone can benefit from creatine intake. People with a higher creatine level, will notice less improvement than people with lower creatine. Vegetarians generally have lower creatine levels due to their diet. Also interestingly, men in general show a lower creatine level than women.
- Research on the long term use of creatine and its effects therein, are few and far between. Most studies on this subject, which involved human subjects, only lasted a few weeks.
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