|There certainly are some mixed opinions on the subject of creatine use, however there have been some good points made by many people on this site. I graduated with a physiology degree last year and have since become a personal trainer. The debate about creatine supplementation has been raging for years and probably will never end. Here is my take on the subject.
After comparing several studies from medical journals, both for and against creatine monohydrate supplementation (5 days loading at 20g/day followed by 5g/day maintenance dose), myself and the majority of my classmates had concluded that short term (about 2 months, which was the duration of the majority of the studies) creatine monohydrate supplementation was both safe and effective. Since then, many more studies have been performed showing positive results from creatine supplementation, i.e. gains in strength, repeat sprint performance and lean body mass.
There is a large amount of anecdotal evidence describing renal failure and metabolic problems, however, I have not seen any objective scientific data describing these effects. I have also recently read about a study which was performed over 2 years testing the safety of long-term creatine monohydrate use and shown this to be safe. I would like to know more about the study as I only read this from a magazine and do not rely on the accuracy of the statement.
Anyway, to get to the point, I decided that creatine monohydrate is safe to use following manufacturers guidelines or even using slightly lower dosages as these guidelines seem to overestimate the amount of creatine required to produce results (getting you to use more than you need so you buy more maybe!). I have been using a creatine monohydrate and dextrose supplement for almost a month now and have already gained 10lbs of lean body mass, become stronger and experienced less delayed onset muscle soreness after my workouts than usual.
I think the main problem is not using the creatine monohydrate, but how it is being used. When taking creatine you should ensure that you drink plenty of water, i.e. enough so that your urine is never darker than a pale straw color. You should avoid caffeine and alcohol during the period over which you take the creatine and you should only use this supplement for 2-3 months at a time before taking a month off. This is more because your muscles will get used to it than for any safety reasons, although it will provide a period of detoxification which can only be a good thing! I've written enough. Take care, train hard and always use perfect form.
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