Everyone occasionally tries to make their workouts easier, or find a way to get the most of out their exercise. This often includes the use of supplements and training aids. One of the most popular among these supplements is whey protein, which I’ve written about in previous posts. But another supplement that is often used by fitness buffs is something that has been the subject of argument over the past decades: Creatine.
Creatine is a substance produced naturally by the human body. Found in muscle cells, it helps your muscles to produce the energy required for heavy lifting, exercise and fitness. The reason one would take a supplement of Creatine, is that it is purported to enhance your performance during fitness and can help gain muscle mass and strength.
There are tons of studies that have shown that Creatine can help improve certain outlying conditions. In fact, Creatine has been shown to help lower blood sugars and fight Diabetes, although the jury is still out on that one. According to an article posted on Healthline.com, “a 12-week study examined how creatine affects blood sugar levels after a high-carb meal. People who combined creatine and exercise were better at controlling blood sugar levels than those who only exercised.” (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-benefits-of-creatine#section7)
Some studies (which I can’t seem to locate) have reported that using high levels of Creatine can have adverse effects on the liver and kidneys, but the majority of studies (including the one quoted in the above-noted article) indicate that the use of Creatine in five-year clinical trials showed no adverse effects in healthy individuals.
That being said, there are a number of normal warnings that go along with the use of Creatine. According to WebMD, one of my favorite sites, Creatine will cause muscle tissue to draw on more water, meaning you’ll need to drink a lot more fluids. I don’t need to tell you that this already an issue for Diabetics, so you gotta keep up with that water intake! If you’re pregnant or breast-feeding, you shouldn’t take Creatine. It should also not be given to children. (https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-873/creatine)
From what I’ve been told by trainers, Creatine should be taken immediately after a workout or first thing in the morning on rest days. Like most supplements, there’s some good and bad, but it’s one of those things you don’t really NEED, per se. If you have a full, healthy diet and exercise regularly, you’re body should be producing the amount of Creatine you need. But should you want to give your workouts and added touch of “oomph”, Creatine may be the way to go. As usual, don’t be afraid to consult a medical practitioner before starting any supplementation or change to your workout routine. ☯