Research paper-Jadden14

Creatine: A Questionable Supplement

Two of the greatest developments of supplements in the Industry for natural athletes is whey protein powder, and creatine. As time progressed, science evolved and certain supplements (creatine, whey protein, branch chain amino acids, etc) became more affordable to consumers. The price of whey protein became much cheaper and more accessible to consumers. Supplement companies started selling many different forms of creatine, all of which did the same thing: create an overall increase the lean muscle mass an individual puts on while exercising. It is one of the most effective supplements that any natural bodybuilder can take. So why are some people so worried about taking it? Creatine is often considered a questionable topic as people do not know what the side effects of taking the supplement are. Now, there are a few forms of creatine known, but in this case the creatine I will be talking about is creatine monohydrate. It’s one of the cheapest forms, and the most effective.

Creatine is a naturally occurring molecule produced in the body. It is commonly found in fish, meat, and is also made by the human body. We all manage to get creatine from eating food everyday, in fact, there is probably a small trace of it in your system right now. A study from Examine.com found that creatine stores phosphocreatine in the body, which is then released into the body, causing the strength increase after the use of creatine as a supplement. As far as athletic performance is concerned, creatine is one of the best supplements an athlete can take, next to protein. creatine is known to increase strength and lean muscle mass, and is found to be most effective in young adults. Creatine will heavily benefit weight lifters, as it provides strength improvements with short-duration exercises. Creatine’s strength benefits alone would make it great for football players. Over time, they would gain mass slightly better and be much stronger, fully utilizing their muscle’s potential. They would be more efficient on the field, and be much more alert. Most natural athletes will add about 5 to 10 pounds to their lifts each month with an optimal diet and training regime. creatine can in some cases increase that rate by 5 pounds, which is astounding for a non-anabolic supplement. Athletes will need to be careful with their dosage on these supplements, as there is a good medium with creatine and shouldn’t be misused. Athletes have the option to load creatine, taking up to 20g a day, spaced out over a period of up to 5 days, or could just take 5-10g a day. Any more than this amount in the maintenance phase is unnecessary and can lead to problems.

Another benefit to taking creatine is that it will increase the amount of work muscles will do. It puts more energy into the muscles as phosphocreatine, 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. While creatine benefits lifters the most, it also proven effective with those who have syndromes that involve issues metabolizing creatine. People suffering from these creatine deficiencies in their bodies, issues like mental retardation and movement disorders, if given creatine daily, can see vast improvements to their health. In a study done by WebMD, results showed that “taking creatine for up to 8 years seems to improve attention, language, and academic performance in children with the creatine deficiency syndrome called arginine-glycine amidinotrasferase (AGAT) deficiency.” Brain function will overall improve and seizures will begin to stop. Creatine can also be applied to the face in cream form for aging skin. In an article from MedlinePlus, a study reported that “Early research shows that applying cream containing creatine, guarana, and glycerol to the face daily for 6 weeks reduces wrinkles and skin sagging in men.” This can be used to treat older men and when combined with folic acid can revert sun damaged skin. If taken in the proper dosage of around 5g, it can be proven to be a great bodybuilding or athletic supplement.

Creatine supplementation can give the consumer many other great health benefits. Some studies have shown that creatine can counteract fatigue, very helpful in running and other sports that are cardio-intensive. This study tends to have mixed results, so it is safe to say that it can possibly benefit runners/sprinters. It also leads to the possible spike in testosterone levels, naturally of course. This increase in testosterone will undoubtedly benefit weight lifters, as it will ultimately increase strength and muscle mass. Creatine can also be used as a cure for traumatic brain injury patients, children and adolescents are shown to get reduced frequency of headaches when taking the supplement. Due to its strength increase and mass increasing nature, it can help treat people with diseases related to muscle weakness, like muscular dystrophy.

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 even recommend the supplement, like Kurtis Frank, a lead researcher writing for Examine.com says that  “It’s safe, it’s healthy, it’s cheap, and for most people it just works.” Bodybuilders benefit the most from this supplement, but any exercise in general will utilize the effects of the supplement. As far as athletes are concerned, this will make them much stronger and more effective on the field, especially football players and wrestlers(due to the direct contact the sport entails). 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.

One of the major causes of creatine receiving a bad name may be due to the increasing reports of bodybuilders overdosing on supplements. In recent years, many bodybuilders taking creatine, and various harmful drugs, such as anabolics or synthetic oil, run the risk of dying at a younger age than normal. They obviously are using various unregulated anabolic substances, and due to the rising popularity from doing shows, the media focuses their attention on them. This brings lots of attention to what they’re 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. The results were very mixed, as in some cases, creatine revealed many good effects on the body, while at the same time reporting many various harmful effects. Today, creatine is not allowed to be recommended or offered by coaches to athletes. In a study from the University of Maryland, a study reveals that the “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 also 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.

So how can taking creatine make you go bald? One of the biggest issues surrounding the creatine supplement is that it can produce more DHT in the body. For those who don’t know, DHT is an androgen that gives males their male characteristics. Too much of this can lead to male pattern baldness, making creatine seem a little more harmful than it’s made out to be. In a study done by Stellenbosch University, rugby players were given creatine and had their androgens watched over a period of three weeks. The study astoundingly revealed that the athlete’s DHT levels sat at around 56% after seven days of creatine loading and around 40% above baseline during maintenance. This is quite a large jump from when the subjects were not taking creatine, and a scary amount to increase over such a small time period. This is a serious issue as this is a widely used supplement by many athletes and bodybuilders. This issue will affect the people who have the genetic trait for this indefinitely, as there early hair loss will come even sooner. This issue in young adults who take the supplement could branch off into other issues, like depression. With a serious condition like male pattern baldness, supplement companies should be warning their users and labeling their products to show this.

Another major side effect from taking creatine is that it is very water retentive. Depending on the dosage, creatine makes you retain water, generating an increase in body weight. Almost any dosage of creatine will make you water retentive, but the severity varies on the dosage. Due to this, if the user does not drink enough water, this can lead to stomach cramps. The fact that it adds on weight might not affect athletes, as they are constantly active and will probably be burning it off anyway, however, to the normal person this weight gain may be a problem. Another plausible side effect is the fact that creatine increases DHT in the body. This DHT increase can be linked to male pattern baldness, but make note that genetics play a key role in that as well. Depression may also come as a side effect of creatine, as it relates to serotonin. For those looking to lose weight, creatine may not be the supplement for you. In a study from the University of Louvain, “A review of the literature reveals a 1.0% to 2.3% increase in body mass, which is attributed to fat-free mass and, more specifically, to skeletal-muscle mass.” Some people will argue that creatine doesn’t affect weight loss or gain at all, but studies in most cases show that creatine adds weight. Creatine in athletes usually only adds about 2-5 pounds of weight varying per individual, but this can be seen as a negative effect for middle aged men and women who have difficulty losing weight, and don’t want to be excessively muscular. For bodybuilders and athletes, this will not be as big of an issue, as slimmer athletes will bulk up. This issue varies individual to individual, as some will care that they gained weight while with others it won’t even phase them. Regardless of what category you fall into, supplement companies make sure to label their products stating that water retention may occur and that you should drink lots of water while taking this supplement.

A serious issue is that in some studies, researchers found that in large doses it can cause kidney damage. This was found mostly in cases where the subject took an excessive amount of creatine(20+ grams a day). Another prominent issue with taking creatine is found in subjects with bipolar disorder. In a study from WebMD, researchers found that creatine causes people with bipolar disorder to have manic episodes, and can “make mania worse in people with bipolar disorder.” This also revealed that in high dosages can lead to diarrhea and severe dehydration. This issue is present as creatine forces the body to retain water weight. These issues were found when the user took more than 10 grams a day. On the labels of most creatine brands, it shows this and tells consumers not to exceed certain dosages, however, that doesn’t always stop them from doing so.  Creatine leads to dehydration also can chain off into muscle cramping, which will greatly hinder your muscular strength and may often need to be massaged. These issues can cause dizziness in the gym, and in some cases people can black out from dehydration. The easiest way to prevent these symptoms from occurring is to drink lots of water while supplementing creatine. We can’t have our athletes passing out in the field. People will complain, games will have to be halted, and parents will freak out. But this for the most part can be avoided if used in normal dosages. Creatine, in a much larger dosage, can also lead to heart issues and liver issues as well. This will ultimately affect the athletes later in life, but early signs of issues such as heart palpitations could be present. These are the types of issues we don’t want our athletes to face, especially with their bodies under the high load from sports.

Another serious issue backed by this supplement is it’s links to depression. A study from examine.com says that creatine slightly decreases serotonin, a neurotransmitter found in the body. Serotonin can be linked to regulating a person’s mood or social behavior, and when there is a deficit, causes depression. This can really negatively affect athletes as if these symptoms take effect they can greatly hinder the player’s mindset and their performance, ultimately undoing the purpose of creatine altogether. This depression in time can also chain off into many other harmful side effects. Depression overall hinder a person’s willpower, and can lead to athletes losing interest in their sport. This is another reason why the NCAA banned creatine from being handed out, as they knew if these symptoms were to occur, there would be no games to watch, just a bunch of sad players in a field.

The main issue with creatine is deciding whether or not it’s possible side effects make it unsafe for athletes. One of the biggest issues is the fact that it could possibly enhance male pattern baldness, but only in those who have the genetic issue. Weighing out all of the pros and cons of taking the supplement, creatine really is more effective than it is harmful for the user. In the case of athletes, I argue it is beneficial for them. Even though it is prohibited by the NCAA to be given to athletes, I highly recommend that they take it as it will help them in their athletic careers. Studies vary in which set amount should be taken, like in a study done by the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, they recommend “a typical loading dose in exercise performance (for adults ages 19 and older): Take 5 g of creatine monohydrate, 4 times daily (20 g total daily) for 2 to 5 days maximum” with a “Maintenance dose in exercise performance (for adults ages 19 and older): Take 2 g daily.” While other studies like from Examine.com state that 5g is the optimal dosage. The best recommendation would be to take 5g a day, as a majority of studies point to this as the effective dosage. By just taking 5g a day, athletes will become much stronger and retain lean mass, not to mention the endurance benefits. In this case, such a small dosage minimizes any side effects, and probably will be the safest and most effective dosage. I personally have used creatine in this dosage for months, and reaped the rewards with no side effects whatsoever. It really matters what the dosage is, as the reasons behind why there are issues surrounding the supplement are due to the fact that people take such large dosages. Creatine as a whole has many good qualities, but after the research was done, also revealed many plausible bad qualities as well. Most of these issues are associated with incorrect dosages, but there are still some side effects present if correctly dosed. Not to mention, there will always be people who will carelessly take it, and think that by “taking more” it will just enhance the effects. Based on the fact that creatine can still be taken by athletes, but not given by coaches, athletes may still take creatine if they think it will help them. Yes, you are more susceptible to liver issues if you take 20g of creatine every day. You can also die from eating too much sugar in life, and get issues like heart disease. As it stands now, I understand why the NCAA had to step in, creatine is a supplement that if taken, must be taken correctly, and carefully.

Works Cited

Ganguly S, et al. “Creatine.” MedlinePlus Supplements, Medline Plus, 14 Mar. 2017.

Cooper, Robert, et al. “Creatine Supplementation with Specific View to Exercise/Sports Performance: an Update.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, BioMed Central, 20 July 2012.

“Creatine: What It Is, What It Does, and Its Side Effects.” Men’s Health, Men’sHealth, 25 Aug. 2016.

Examine.com. “Creatine Supplement – Unbiased Review on Usage, Dosage, Side Effects.” Examine.com, Examine.com, 4 July 2017.

“Creatine.” University of Maryland Medical Center, University of Maryland Medical Center, 11 Nov 2017.

van, J, et al. “Three Weeks of Creatine Monohydrate Supplementation.” Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine : Official Journal of the Canadian Academy of Sport Medicine., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 19 Sept. 2009.

Francaux, M, and J R Poortmans. “Side Effects of Creatine Supplementation in Athletes.”International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Dec. 2006.

Adhihetty PJ, et al. “Overview.” Penn State Hershey Health Information Library, Penn State Hershey, 1 Jan. 2017.

“CREATINE: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings.” WebMD, WebMD, 11 Nov 2017.

Reflective-Jadden14

Core Value I. My work demonstrates that I used a variety of social and interactive practices that involve recursive stages of exploration, discovery, conceptualization, and development.

Throughout the course, feedback was provided when asked on all the assignments that were given. The feedback given was very honest and helpful, and led to the formulation of an overall better paper. This can best be seen on my visual rhetoric assignment, as I received feedback on my first draft that later I applied to my Visual Rewrite. I applied the advice given and also the advice given to me during one of my conferences to help better my paper. This feedback helped me to correct my errors and take more in-depth observations that led to a much better revision.

Core Value II. My work demonstrates that I placed texts into conversation with one another to create meaning by synthesizing ideas from various discourse communities. 

Throughout the course, I researched creatine and the controversy surrounding the supplement. I found many articles reporting on how creatine as a supplement provides both bad and good side effects. I studied why there is so much controversy with this supplement, and added many sources to my research paper. This can be best seen in my rebuttal, as I feel I communicated these sources best in that paper. I communicated these sources into my three short papers to create an effective counter argument to my paper. These sources helped strengthen my argument by providing solid evidence and communicating other professional opinions into a strong paper.

Core Value III. My work demonstrates that I rhetorically analyzed the purpose, audience, and contexts of my own writing and other texts and visual arguments.

One of my most prominent pieces that displays an in-depth rhetorical analysis is my visual rhetoric assignment. This assignment was to take a 30-second video and deeply analyze every second and record what was seen. The goal was also to interpret the reasoning for everything noticed in the video, and this assignment helped me better my analysis skills and learning about writing to different audiences. I discovered that the video was directed towards a certain audience trying to convince them to help reach out to the hurricane victims of Harvey. The assignment teached me how to look for underlying symbolism and understand the context of certain arguments. Most importantly I learned that quite a bit can be written from just a 30 second video.

Core Value IV: My work demonstrates that I have met the expectations of academic writing by locating, evaluating, and incorporating illustrations and evidence to support my own ideas and interpretations.

During the process of gathering my research paper, I had to find many different sources to both refute and support my argument. These sources would be used in my paper to back up my arguments with evidence and give them credibility. The compilation of these sources and a small summary of each can be seen on my Proposal+5, and demonstrate my ability to find quality evidence and properly support my own ideas. The brief descriptions explain the vital information I got from the paper, and provided within my proposal explain how I used my sources and incorporated them into my paper.

Core Value V. My work demonstrates that I respect my ethical responsibility to represent complex ideas fairly and to the sources of my information with appropriate citation. 

A very important part of the writing process is being able to properly cite sources. In all of my papers, I have properly cited my work using either MLA or APA citation, depending on the source. A collection of properly cited sources can be found on my Annotated Bibliography, containing the sources used in my research paper. This collection of sources shows how I used the sources in my paper, and a brief description of the essential content from the article. I know when writing it is my job to uphold my responsibility to not steal other people’s work. I understand that sources must be used carefully, as plagarism is a serious issue with serious consequences.

Annotated Bibliography-Jadden14

  1.   Examine.com. “Creatine Supplement – Unbiased Review on Usage, Dosage, Side Effects.” Examine.com, Examine.com, 4 July 2017.

Essential Content of this Article: Gives the reader an overall background of what the supplement is and in what doses it should be taken. Also informs the reader on many effects good or bad the supplement may have on one’s health. It even has an informative sort of FAQ on what is commonly asked about creatine, and provides answers to many questions people may have.

How I Used It: I used this to prove that creatine in numerous studies increases power output generated by the muscles and adds on body weight. Also included in my research paper several notable quotes from the lead researcher to back up my argument. This article provided many positives and negatives regarding the supplement I added to my paper.

  1. “Creatine: What It Is, What It Does, and Its Side Effects.” Men’s HealthMen’sHealth, 25 Aug. 2016.

Essential Content of this Article: Discusses that by using creatine you will most prominently notice weight gain. Creatine puts on a lot of water weight right of the bat. Studies show that muscle fibers will grow when supplementing creatine, only if the energy is used(going to gym, playing sports,etc). Also explains the effects of creatine on your kidneys.

How I Used It: This article provided a view for my paper with some more negative evidence facing creatine. Some of the negative evidence found within the article include kidney damage, an increase in DHT levels, and dehydration. I used this in my rebuttal and it was later on used to strengthen my research paper.

  1. “Creatine.” University of Maryland Medical CenterUniversity of Maryland Medical Center, 11 Nov 2017.

Essential Content of this Article: Scientifically gives the definition of creatine and reveals its a naturally-occuring amino acid found in meat. Reveals the effects of uses in certain age groups, and is not verified for kids younger than 19 years of age. There are also reports of high blood pressure under the precautions of use.

How I Used It: This study provided some more facts and knowledge to my paper about how the supplement works and its side effects. Greatly used in my definition argument to help define what exactly creatine is and does. It strengthened the sections on defining creatine as a whole.

  1. Durkin, Todd. “Creatine and Young Athletes: Yes or No?” Todd Durkin, Todd Durkin Enterprises, 22 Sept. 2010.

Essential Content of this Article: Discusses the misconceptions amongst people who know little about the supplement and just express their own concerns. Reviews what is necessary for athletes to optimally use the supplement. Expresses the opinions of one individual, an director of athletic performance at Quest 10, a gym in San Diego, CA.

How I Used It: This article provided evidence that some people oppose creatine. It also provided a view to my paper that was not particularly in favor of creatine, and brought up several good points to add to my rebuttal. It helped strengthen the rebuttal and provide insight as to why there are concerns surrounding creatine.

  1. “CREATINE: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings.” WebMD, WebMD, 11 Nov 2017.

Essential Content of this Article: Explains that creatine is excellent for athletes and young adults. This article also explores some of the many side effects creatine has, some good and some bad. Professional sports will continue to not ban creatine from being taken by athletes as there isn’t any evidence of it being harmful. There are also minor effects/ effects with not enough evidence backing it listed in the article. Also provides insight on how it can be helpful to people with certain disabilities/ health problems.

How I Used It: I used this article to show how the NCAA banned creatine from being handed out to athletes. This article revealed that athletes can take the supplement on their own, but coaches are not allowed to recommend or hand it out to athletes. I also used this evidence to back up that creatine is indeed more controversial in sports. This article also provides that creatine has other benefits and negative effects, that I mentioned in my paper.

  1. van, J, et al. “Three Weeks of Creatine Monohydrate Supplementation.” Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine : Official Journal of the Canadian Academy of Sport Medicine.U.S. National Library of Medicine, 19 Sept. 2009.

Essential Content of this Article: A solid study taking rugby players and giving them creatine over three weeks. The athletes are studied, some given 25g/creatine and 25/g glucose and others given 50g/ glucose placebo. Androgens were measured to determine any increases in Serum T and DHT levels. It also concluded the concern of taking creatine and whether or not it is safe.

How I Used It: This was a solid statistic to add to my paper. The data revealed that creatine does affect DHT levels and can be argued as a serious issue. This study also concluded the risks of taking creatine found with these results, which was helpful to add to my rebuttal and causal argument.

  1. Francaux, M, and J R Poortmans. “Side Effects of Creatine Supplementation in Athletes.”International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Dec. 2006.

Essential Content of this Article: The goal of this study was to find all the side effects surrounding creatine. The study revealed the amount of body mass added on to the body that was muscle mass or fat-free mass was about 1-2.3%. It also revealed cases why creatine shouldn’t be taken and when creatine is allowed to be taken.  The study analyzed the psychological effects of creatine on the body, and then concluded the data.

How I Used It: This study looked at all the side effects in creatine and provided the realistic danger of the supplement. This study overall concluded there was no major risks, and this was used to help strengthen my argument. This provided realistic issues/benefits people can get from creatine to my paper.

  1. Ganguly S, et al. “Creatine.” MedlinePlus SupplementsMedline Plus, 14 Mar. 2017.

Essential Content of this Article: Describes what creatine is and how it should be used. Explores the effective/ineffectiveness of the supplement and how it works. How it mixes with other supplements and safety concerns are also mentioned in the article. This article looked over the negatives and which negatives had enough evidence to conclude as an issue.

How I Used It: Found other evidence on how creatine is effective to add to my article. The article provides information on how creatine should be taken, this was added to my argument to help determine a safe dosage. I also found a few more negative effects to add to my rebuttal.

  1. Adhihetty PJ, et al. “Overview.” Penn State Hershey Health Information LibraryPenn State Hershey, 1 Jan. 2017.

Essential Content of this Article: Provides a brief description of creatine. Also provides the many benefits of creatine and even some ways that creatine can cure certain diseases/illnesses. The article gives an informative list of the ways creatine can be effective to athletes/bodybuilders. It also explores precautions surrounding creatine and how it should be taken.

How I Used It: I found out that creatine has the ability to help others with certain illnesses, and added that to my argument. I also looked at the precautions and the side effects and included that into my paper.

  1. Cooper, Robert, et al. “Creatine Supplementation with Specific View to Exercise/Sports Performance: an Update.” Journal of the International Society of Sports NutritionBioMed Central, 20 July 2012.

Essential Content of this Article: Explains how creatine works and that it is naturally produced in our bodies. This article also provides the science behind it, and more information about how it is made up chemically. It also explores the effects of creatine in certain cases(Skeletal Muscular Hypertrophy, Aerobic/Anaerobic exercise, etc).

How I Used It: I used this information in my paper to show how creatine affects the body in many different ways. I used this article to give a more in-depth explanation of how creatine works. I also used this article to describe how creatine affects aerobic/anaerobic exercise. This provided both good and bad sides to my argument.

Rebuttal Argument-Jadden14

The best supplements for natural athletes and bodybuilders include whey protein and creatine. Creatine, sold in powdered form, is commonly supplemented by both athletes and bodybuilders to improve their performance in the gym and on the field, in the case of athletes. However, in the eyes of the public, creatine is considered dangerous and should not be taken by college or high school athletes. So many concerns brought up by recent studies that the NCAA banned coaches from giving it to their athletes.

One of the largest concerns surrounding the creatine supplement is that it can produce more DHT in the body. For those who don’t know, DHT is an androgen that gives males their male characteristics. An excess DHT present in the body can lead to male pattern baldness, making creatine seem a little more harmful than it’s made out to be. In a study done by Stellenbosch University, rugby players were given creatine and had their androgens watched over a period of three weeks. The study astoundingly revealed that the athlete’s DHT levels sat at around 56% after seven days of creatine loading and around 40% above baseline during maintenance. A 56% increase is quite a large jump from when the subjects were not taking creatine, and a scary amount to increase over such a small time period. These results revealed a serious problem as creatine is a widely used supplement by many athletes and bodybuilders. People who have the genetic trait will be affected indefinitely, as there early hair loss will come even sooner. Many young adults who take the supplement could start to bald and it will branch off into other issues, like depression. With a serious condition like male pattern baldness, supplement companies should be warning their users and labeling their products to show this.

Another reason creatine is controversial is that in some studies, researchers found that in large doses it can cause kidney damage. More data from Medline Plus also revealed that in high dosages can lead to diarrhea and severe dehydration. The reason dehydration can occur is due to the fact that creatine forces the body to retain water weight. These problems were found when the user took more than 10 grams a day. On the labels of most creatine brands, it tells consumers not to exceed certain dosages, however, that doesn’t always stop them from doing so. Creatine leads to dehydration also can chain off into muscle cramping, which will greatly hinder your muscular strength and may often need to be massaged. Dehydration can cause dizziness in the gym, and in some cases people can black out from dehydration.  We can’t have our athletes passing out in the field. People will complain, games will have to be halted, and parents will freak out. For the most part dehydration can be avoided if used in normal dosages. Creatine, in a much larger dosage, can also lead to heart issues and liver issues as well. Athletes who do take higher dosages will ultimately be harmed later in life, but early signs of issues such as heart palpitations could be present. These are the types of issues we don’t want our athletes to face, especially with their bodies under the high load from sports.

For those looking to lose weight, creatine may not be the supplement for you. Creatine helps create lean muscle mass, but may add water weight in the process. In a study from the University of Louvain, “A review of the literature reveals a 1.0% to 2.3% increase in body mass, which is attributed to fat-free mass and, more specifically, to skeletal-muscle mass”. Some people will argue that creatine doesn’t affect weight loss or gain at all, but studies in most cases show that creatine adds weight. Creatine in athletes usually only adds about 2-5 pounds of weight varying per individual, but this can be seen as a negative effect for middle aged men and women who have difficulty losing weight, and don’t want to be excessively muscular. For bodybuilders and athletes, this will not be as big of an issue, as slimmer athletes will bulk up. This issue varies individual to individual, as some will care that they gained weight while with others it won’t even phase them. Regardless of what category you fall into, supplement companies make sure to label their products stating that water retention may occur and that you should drink lots of water while taking this supplement.  

Some studies on creatine revealed that some users experienced depression. A study from Examine.com says that creatine slightly decreases serotonin, a neurotransmitter found in the body. Seratonin can be linked to regulating a person’s mood or social behavior. This can really negatively affect athletes as if these symptoms take effect they can greatly hinder the player’s mindset and their performance, ultimately undoing the purpose of creatine altogether. This depression in time can also chain off into many other harmful side effects. Depression overall hinder a person’s willpower, and can lead to athletes losing interest in their sport. Another reason why the NCAA banned creatine from being handed out, as they knew if these symptoms were to occur, there would be no games to watch, just a bunch of sad players in a field.

Creatine as a whole has many good qualities, but after the research was done, also revealed many bad qualities as well. Most of these issues are associated with incorrect dosages, but there are still some side effects present if correctly dosed. Not to mention, there will always be people who will carelessly take it, and think that by “taking more” it will just enhance the effects. Based on the fact that creatine can still be taken by athletes, but not given by coaches, athletes may still take creatine if they think it will help them. As it stands now, I understand that the NCAA had to step in, creatine is a supplement that if taken, must be taken correctly, and carefully.

Works Cited

Examine.com. “Creatine Supplement.” Examine.com, Examine.com, 4 July 2017.

Creatine.” University of Maryland Medical Center, 1 Jan. 2017.

van, J, et al. “Three Weeks of Creatine Monohydrate Supplementation.” Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine : Official Journal of the Canadian Academy of Sport Medicine., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 19 Sept. 2009.

Francaux, M, and J R Poortmans. “Side Effects of Creatine Supplementation in Athletes.”International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Dec. 2006.

Causal Argument-Jadden14

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.

 

Works Cited

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

 

White Paper-Jadden14

Content Descriptions

  1. Creatine as a supplement
  2. Side effects of Creatine
  3. Creatine use in athletes
  4. Effects of taking too much/taking too little Creatine
  5. Long term and short term effects of Creatine use

Purposeful Summaries

 

Working Hypothesis 1

Creatine is a safe substance and should be used by athletes to help them perform better.

Working Hypothesis 2

Creatine is a harmful substance and should not be used by athletes as it has many harmful effects later in life.

Topics for Smaller Papers

Definition Argument

Creatine is one of the most widely used and effective supplements for better muscular endurance and overall strength progression. Creatine is one of the most effective supplements an athlete can take to help develop size and strength, overall increasing their abilities within their sport. Due to the many misconceptions surrounding the substance, parents and coaches sometimes fear that it could have negative effects on the body and greatly affect the athlete’s lives in the long run.

Rebuttal Argument

Creatine, often used by bodybuilders as a weightgaining, muscle building supplement, is harmful in the long run due to its balding agents. One of the most notable effects is that it will bring out the genetic trait for male pattern baldness. Those who have this will become bald much faster under the use of this supplement.

Cause and Effect Argument

Creatine is one of the most effective supplements for long term muscle development. A small dose of 5g/day will ultimately increase the strength and size of any athlete, optimizing their performance on the field. For bodybuilder’s, its long term effects will lead to more lean muscle mass gained over time against their competitors.

Current State of the Research Paper

My research leads me to believe that creatine really is still on the fence, scientifically. The lean is more towards the safe side, as some of the long term effects are not harmful, but can cause concern. I am leaning more towards the side that it is a safe substance, as I have used it before and yielded excellent results, but I am solely keeping my opinions to myself, for a non-bias paper.

 

Counterarguments:

  1. It can sometimes increase male-pattern baldness due to the substance increasing DHT levels.
  2. Some studies point to creatine causing Heart Disease in certain cases later on in life, and fatigue and dehydration in the short term.
  3. In large doses, creatine can lead to Liver and Heart damage.

Arguments:

  1. Creatine is an excellent supplement for athletes, it increases overall lean muscle mass and strength.
  2. Creatine will help increase production of ATP in the muscles, allowing them to work harder.
  3. Creatine pulls water into the cells, increasing protein synthesis (Ultimately leading to overall long term increased lean muscle gain).

Definition Argument-Jadden14

Creatine is one of the most widely used and effective supplements for better muscular endurance and overall strength progression. Creatine is one of the most effective supplements an athlete can take to help develop size and strength, overall increasing their abilities within their sport. Due to the many misconceptions surrounding the substance, parents and coaches sometimes fear that it could have negative effects on the body and greatly affect the athlete’s lives in the long run.

Creatine is a naturally occuring molecule produced in the body. It’s commonly found in fish, meat, and is also made by the human body. A study from Examine.com found that phosphocreatine in the body, which is then released into the body, causing the strength increase after the use of creatine as a supplement. Creatine is often considered a questionable topic as people do not know what the side effects of taking the supplement are. Now, there are a few forms of creatine known, but in this case the creatine I will be talking about is creatine monohydrate. It’s one of the cheapest forms, and the most effective. One of the major side effects from taking creatine is that it is very water retentive. Depending on the dosage, creatine makes the body retain water, in the form of weight. Almost any dosage of creatine will lead to water retention, but the severity varies on the dosage. Due to this, if the user does not drink enough water, this can lead to stomach cramps. The fact that it adds on weight might not affect athletes, as they are constantly active and will probably be burning it off anyway, however, to the normal person this weight gain may be a problem. Another plausable side effect is the fact that creatine increases DHT in the body. This DHT increase can be linked to male pattern baldness, but make note that genetics play a key role in that as well. Depression may also come as a side effect of creatine, as it relates to seratonin.

As far as athletic performance is concerned, creatine is one of the best supplements an athlete can take, next to protein. In a study from the University of Maryland, “Preliminary studies show that creatine supplements improve strength and lean muscle mass during high-intensity, short-duration exercises.” Creatine is found to be most effective in young adults, as adept lifters tend to gain muscle easier. Creatine’s strength benefits alone would make it great for football players. Over time, they would gain mass slightly better and be much stronger, fully utilizing their muscle’s potential. They would be more efficient on the field, and be much more alert. Most natural athletes will add about 5 to 10 pounds to their lifts each month with an optimal diet and training regime. Creatine can in some cases increase that rate by 5 pounds, which is astounding for a non-anabolic supplement. Athletes will need to be careful with their dosage on these supplements, as there is a good medium with creatine and shouldn’t be misused. Athletes have the option to load creatine, taking up to 20g a day, spaced out, or could just take 5-10g a day. Any more than this amount is unessessary and can lead to problems.

Creatine with its very plausible and concerning side effects, also has its health benefits. Some studies have shown that creatine can counteract fatigue, very helpful in running and other sports that are cardio-intensive. This study tends to have mixed results, so it is safe to say that it can possibly benefit runners/sprinters. It also leads to the possible spike in testosterone levels, naturally of course. This increase in testosterone will undoubtably benefit weight lifters, as it will ultimately increase strength and muscle mass. Creatine can also be used as a cure for traumatic brain injury patients, children and adolescents are shown to get reduced frequency of headaches when taking the supplement. Due to it’s stength increase and mass increasing nature, it can help treat people with diseases related to muscle weakness, like muscular dystrophy.

The main issue with creatine is deciding whether or not its plausible side effects make it unsafe for athletes. One of the biggest issues is the fact that it could possibly enhance male pattern baldness, but only in those who have the genetic issue. Weighing out all of the pros and cons of taking the supplement, creatine really is more effective than it is harmful for the user. In the case of athletes, I argue it is beneficial for them. Even though it is prohibited by the NCAA to be given to athletes, I highly recommend that they take it as it will help them in their athletic careers. By just taking 5g a day, they will become much stronger and retain lean mass, not to mention the endurance benefits. In this case, such a small dosage minimalizes any side effects, and probably will be the safest and most effective dosage. I personally have used creatine in this dosage for months, and reaped the rewards with no side effects whatsoever. It really matters what the dosage is, as the reasons behind why there are issues surrounding the supplement are due to the fact that people take such large dosages. Yes, people taking creatine are more suseptible to liver issues if 20g of creatine every day is taken. Death can also occur from eating too much sugar in life, and get issues like heart disease. It’s all about finding the proper, healthy dosage.

Works Cited:

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