One supplement that is vastly underrated is Creatine Monohydrate, a molecule that is produced naturally in your body and is used to produce energy immediately when needed. The more Creatine you have in your body, the more exercise you will be able to perform.

Creatine has been shown to have a beneficial effect on both physical and cognitive performance. Many pre-workouts have opted to not include creatine in their products, but thankfully it’s a cheap ingredient to order in bulk.

So why isn’t everyone taking it? Well partly this is due to creatine not being very well known, and many do not know the best form of creatine. But the bigger issue is that many people believe that it is dangerous.

There is talk about creatine causing you to fail drugs tests, and of it causing liver or kidney problems. People also worry about it causing severe dehydration. But are these concerns justified? In this article we will be assessing just how safe Creatine is for human consumption.

Where to find Creatine

You can get creatine from food sources, particularly red meats such as steak. But the amount contained within meat is very low. The most common source of creatine is through supplementation.

This can be particularly useful for vegetarians/ vegans due to the fact that they get almost no creatine naturally. Luckily the supplement form of creatine is synthetic so completely safe for vegetarians and vegans to consume.

Benefits of Creatine Supplementation

Creatine has been shown to increase muscle strength and muscle hypertrophy. A study by Cribb et al (2007) found that combining creatine supplementation with resistance training (free weights and resistance machines) led to increased muscle strength and size [1]. Creatine has been shown to increase power [2] anaerobic performance [3], and reduce fatigue [4].

But is Creatine Safe?

To be perfectly honest Creatine is potentially the safest supplement on the market. Due to the large amount of inaccurate rumours that have been thrown its way, creatine monohydrate has ended up becoming the most researched supplement there is. Study after study have turned up completely blank on any negatives.

The only potential side effects can occur if you decide to load creatine rather than take it normally. Creatine loading involves taking large dosages of creatine each day for around five days to a week and then dropping down to a maintenance dose. This method is great for filling your muscle with creatine fast, but it can lead to an upset stomach, and possibly stomach cramping.

The way to avoid this? Avoid loading, just use the maintenance dosage forever, a study in 1985 by Hultman et al [5] found that while creatine loading was effective, over the long term both methods are equally effective.

You should also ensure that you stay well hydrated throughout the day when you are taking creatine monohydrate. It’s not because creatine dehydrates you in the way that alcohol does, but that it sends water to your muscles (during the initial stages).

This can cause your muscles to look temporarily larger (yay!) but can also leave you dehydrated elsewhere. But so long as you drink enough water you will be absolutely fine.

Dosage

If you DO want to creatine load then you should take 20-25g per day for 5-7 days and then drop down to just 5g per day. Alternatively you can just start with 5g per day and be consistent, this is probably the best option.

References

[1] http://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/pages/articleviewer.aspx?year=2007&issue=02000&article=00012&type=abstract

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21941005

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19909536

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16083193

[5] http://jap.physiology.org/content/jap/81/1/232.full.pdf

[6] The Best Creatine – Jacked Factory

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