By : Team Popeye's
I’ve made a point several times already that creatine is misunderstood – and as tiring as it might be for you to hear me say it over and over again, you can trust me when I say it’s equally tiring to have to dispel myths and false conceptions of creatine on the daily! So, let’s try and address some of the big ones here, shall we?
Gotta load it up!
A big, very old-school idea about creatine intake has been to do a “Creatine loading” phase. What was this phase? To take between 10 and 25 grams of creatine per day for about a week. The old-school idea (which we now know is false), was that it would “supercharge” your creatine levels and offer better performance. This was based on a study that we now recognize as flawed – but that doesn’t stop people running with the idea.
Nowadays, we know that there’s no supercharge effect to loading creatine. We DID establish that a loading phase might increase your muscle creatine content faster than it would if you were to take a standard dose consistently. So, this might be useful for tighter training periods, or if you’re looking to boost your creatine levels as quickly as possible. But over the long term, you’ll get the same results just taking 5 grams a day, every day.
In a similar vein, because of the loading phase, the idea of creatine cycling became popular as well. Take creatine for the loading phase, then 2-3 more months, then stop creatine, and load again in an effort to get the same “supercharge” effect. Now that we know the supercharge isn’t a thing, there’s no need to cycle creatine either. Of course, you can follow whatever dosing schedule you’d like, but there’s no need to discontinue its use for any other reason than your own desired protocol. If you want, you can use creatine year-round without issue.
Bad for the Kidneys
Another old-school idea is that creatine is damaging for the kidneys. There has not been any modern study done on kidneys under creatine supplementation, in humans, rats or even just cells, that show creatine causes damage to the kidneys. Rather, what has happened in the past is that creatine supplementation has been known to raise creatinine levels, because of the acidic breakdown we mentioned previously. Because elevated creatinine is a symptom of kidney issues, creatine supplementation has created false positives by way of artificially inflating creatinine levels. This led many to believe that creatine caused kidney troubles – which is simply not the case.
Despite creatine being shown to be safe for your kidneys, even with a pre-existing kidney issue, if you have any concerns, or existing kidney issues, we recommend speaking to your doctor first before taking any form of creatine supplement.
Not All Creatines are Made Equal
We addressed this one in our last blog, but it bears a little bit of repeating. ALL forms of creatine are equal in their endgame – they will all increase creatine levels in your muscles and improve performance. But, there are some that will have additional beneficial effects that you might like. For example, producing similar effects with smaller doses, being more water-soluble, being more digestible and causing less gastrointestinal distress. Experiment for yourself to find out which variant is best for you!
While these aren’t all the myths attached to creatine, I find these are the ones that pop up the most often!
With everything said and done, I hope that this set of blog posts have helped clarify for you what exactly creatine is, and what it does. I want to thank you for reading this far, and to thank you for wanting to learn a bit more than you knew yesterday.