Is Creatine Really Safe for Me to Use?

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what is creatine supplement

Is Creatine Really Safe for Me to Use?

The use of creatine has, somewhat aptly for a sports supplement, grown a lot in the last couple of decades. This has become a popular product for people striving for the best workout regime possible – and it’s no longer just the preserve of professional athletes either. But, equally, this product has been the subject of a deluge of discussion, in the pages of newspapers and academic journals alike.

You could be forgiven, therefore, for feeling nervous about using creatine. In essence, you need to try to ask and answer two key questions: ‘is creatine safe?’ and ‘is creatine right for me?’.

What is creatine?

The first step is to understand exactly what creatine is – namely a chemical compound called nitrogenous organic acid, which is naturally found in your muscles. It is naturally produced by your body – in the liver, kidney and pancreas – and comes from dairy, meat and fish in your diet.

The creatine in your system works to move energy around the cells of your body – something that is vital when it comes to being able to workout hard enough and long enough for an intense regime.

So, if it’s naturally produced, why take a supplement? Well, as with things such as protein the issue is getting enough of this in your diet to be able to meet the goals you have. If you want your muscles to get the energy that they need to be able to grow, for example, then it’s likely that you will need to top up your creatine levels and this is where supplements such as creatine monohydrate power or ethyl ester tablets come in.

A wave of athletes started taking creatine in the 1990s – when it was seen as pioneering – and that has eventually filtered through to wider use. Official boards such as the International Olympic Committee allow it to be used.

what is creatine

Do I need creatine?

The fact that creatine is fairly commonly used – and indeed naturally produced – doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s definitely right for you though. Indeed, this part of the equation is probably where much of the confusion around creatine actually rests. If you don’t consider this supplement and your own circumstances carefully then that’s when you can encounter problems.

Here’s some things to bear in mind:

  • How serious is your exercise regime? If you don’t exercise regularly – or to a high intensity – then there’s no point using creatine. This is when you might just become ‘bulky’ – a common fear for people who have never used this.
  • Creatine is not suitable for children.
  • Using a supplement such as creatine has to be part of a balanced intake of all of the essential nutrients. If your diet doesn’t support your exercise regime then you’re wasting your time.
  • People taking creatine must drink lots of water to avoid dehydration. This can be a side effect if you’re not careful.• Creatine should be fine if you are fit and healthy in the first place. However, people with existing medical conditions – such as issues with their kidneys or liver – should consult a doctor to ensure they don’t encounter problems.
  • Creatine should be taken immediately after your workout to avoid stomach cramps and bloating, which can be common complaints.

If you’re not fit and healthy – or on an intense regime – then creatine really isn’t for you. If you are – and you’re striving to be stronger and boost your stamina, then it’s something to consider as part of your programme. This link has more advice on how much to take, including how to get the ‘loading phase’ right, if you’re looking to use this.

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