Creatine being used by athletes
One of the greatest developments of supplements in the Nutrition Industry for athletes was Whey Protein Powder, and Creatine. As time progressed, science evolved and certain supplements became more accessible to consumers. The price of Whey became much cheaper and more affordable to buy. Supplement companies started selling many different forms of creatine, all of which did the same thing: overall increase the lean muscle mass an individual puts on while exercising.
One of the major causes of creatine receiving a bad name may be due to the increasing production of dying bodybuilders. In recent years, many bodybuilders taking creatine, and other various harmful drugs, sometimes die at a younger age than normal. These bodybuilders would be doing quite a bit more than creatine though. They obviously are using various unregulated anabolic substances, and because of their popularity from doing shows, the media focuses on them. This brings lots of attention to what their taking(their “stacks”) and people freak out when they find out someone who was using creatine died of liver failure or a heart attack. This wasn’t as prominent until about the 80’s or 90’s, as anabolics(steroids) weren’t as potent or developed before. This increase of stacking supplements, led to the media reporting everything that they took. This ultimately led to creatine being looked at as a controversial supplement. Another leading cause could be that these bodybuilders were taking over the recommended dosages of creatine for exercise. A normal dose for someone who is taking creatine is about five grams per day. Bodybuilders have in some cases taken up to thirty grams per day, more than six times the recommended amount. Doing so can cause much worse side effects, and will ultimately tear up the liver. If the media started revealing the amounts they were taking, this could have lead to people getting too much and experiencing the harmful effects in high dosages.
Due to the recent popularity of the supplement, scientists began to start researching creatine to see if it is safe. Today, creatine is not allowed to be recommended or offered by coaches to athletes. In a study from the University of Maryland, a doctor states that “NCAA prohibits its member schools from giving creatine and other muscle-building supplements to athletes, although it doesn’t ban athletes from using it.” Creatine itself is a very controversial supplement. For some reason, as creatine developed and became widely used, it gained a negative hype over time. This could be due to the studies revealed by doctors and scientists, however, most studies can’t point to any detrimental side effects. The only major side effect only occurs if the consumer has a genetic trait for baldness, and in some cases can bring that trait out (speed up the balding process). This is greatly outweighed by the overwhelming support from scientists and numerous studies about its benefits.
One of the many great effects of creatine is that it will increase the amount of work muscles will do. Creatine breaks apart in the body to create a compound known as phosphocreatine. phosphocreatine directly creates ATP, which the body uses as energy. This energy becomes readily available during your workout, as long as creatine is present in the body. Many studies can back up this, as well as the fact that creatine has some long term health benefits as well. One of the minor effects creatine has is that it can increase an athlete’s overall aerobic ability. It can be shown to overall improve body function, as its design improves muscle energy, so not only are your muscles used in making you move receiving energy, all muscles(Heart, Kidney, lungs) are receiving this as well. Creatine can also be applied to the face in cream form for aging skin. If taken in the proper dosage of around 5g, it can be proven to be a great bodybuilding or athletic supplement.
There are some potential negative effects of creatine use, primarily short-term and not harmful. One of the effects that can be caused by creatine is it can cause the body to retain water. This means the consumer will have to intake more water, or suffer the risk of dehydration. In the cases of athletes, they are told frequently by their coaches to constantly be drinking water, so this isn’t an issue with them. Due to it’s water retentive nature, it is known to cause weight gain. A myth going around is that creatine may cause kidney damage, but this has been disproven, and is only prevalent in extremely high dosages. This may hinder weight loss abilities for people who go to the gym trying to lose weight, and should be avoided by them. This would work best for lean athletes, as they will bulk up and put on more lean muscle mass for their sport. There are smaller studies pointing to creatine in some people can cause an irregular heartbeat, but this study doesn’t have enough backing yet to be a concern.
The controversy behind creatine and the effects it has on the body are directly related. Many people do not know the full story behind the supplement, mainly due to the media. They also could be suspicious of the studies that don’t have enough proof but are revealing some harmful effects in certain cases. However, science tends to lean towards the side that creatine is a great supplement, and should be taken by athletes to improve their sport. Some doctors even recommend the supplement, like Kurtis Frank, who says that “It’s safe, it’s healthy, it’s cheap, and for most people it just works”. A Bodybuilders benefit the most from this supplement, but any exercise in general will utilize the effects of the supplement. Creatine as a whole is an excellent supplement, and even though the NCAA does not allow the funding of schools to give their athletes creatine, they should take the initiative themselves to help better their abilities, and become a better athlete.
Creatine: What It Is, What It Does, and Its Side Effects. (2016, August 25). Retrieved November 11, 2017, from https://www.menshealth.com/health/creatine-side-effects-what-it-is-what-it-does
Examine.com, Creatine.Retrieved November 11, 2017, from https://examine.com/supplements/creatine/
Creatine, University of Maryland Medical Center. (2017, January 1). Retrieved November 11, 2017, from http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/creatine