Creatine effects on athletes has had a lot of press over the years, I have used it in the past and can honestly say that the only creatine effects that I noticed were gains in the strength and power departments. When I used it in the early 90s it was the latest wonder supplement, but I did not feel that it made enough of a difference to justify the high cost at that time, especially as I was not involved in competitive sports when I was using it.
Creatine is found in meat and fish and is also created in your Kidneys, liver and your pancreas, it is stored in your muscles as a fuel for short-term intense muscle use. When used correctly as a supplement before an event it has been shown to boost an athlete’s performance but seems to mainly be of benefit for shorter exercises like interval training. It has been shown that running distances over 6Km while supplementing with creatine actually slows some athletes down, but this was thought to be because of the weight gain that comes with loading up on it.
A lot of bodybuilders use large amounts of creatine and it has been marketed as a steroid alternative, but it does not actually build muscle, it just enables the athlete to train longer when doing power type exercises which do build muscle. One interesting fact that you may want to think about when considering using creatine is that caffeine destroys the ergogenic effect that creatine produces, but most of the supplements available contain both!
The jury is definitely out on whether triathletes should use creatine, it seems that the high-intensity and weight training portions of your training regime may benefit the most. Vegetarians seem to benefit more than meat eaters but this is probably because of their diet which usually means they have lower levels of creatine stored up.
If you do decide to take it, the best way is dissolving it in water or juice, although some people have reported side effects such as feeling sick, an upset stomach and muscle cramps and a gain of 2-3 pounds of water weight when they load up with it.
The effects of long term creatine usage are unknown, but there are no studies that have reported that short-term usage has done any lasting physical damage to an athlete, but supplements are not regulated in the USA so there may be unknown risks and other factors involved.
While there may be no firm evidence of adverse effects using creatine in the short-term, the trouble that sometimes comes with using supplements is from the impurities they contain, not the supplement itself.
So, if you are going to use creatine do not buy any unmarked tins from someone at the local gym, you do not know what you are buying and there is no comeback if you get kidney disease or some other nasty side effect. You should always follow the instructions carefully and never exceed the stated dose, and it is a good idea to
do some research on what you are about to put into your body.
Is it worth taking creatine?
The risks are the same as with any supplement, I would always have a good chat with my Doctor before I considered using any of them, even vitamins, when I did use creatine I was a youngster who believed the ads that I saw in the magazines and the word going round the gym, I would be a lot more careful today.
If you are interested in trying creatine, Muscle Advance Sports Nutritionals are currently offering a FREE 4500mg bottle of creatine for the lucky triathletes who apply for it now.
*Note – Do not be put off by the bodybuilders on the promo website, this supplement is for athletes as well as bodybuilders, and it is free!Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any diease and are for informational purposes only.