Table Of Contents
What is Creatine?
Creatine is the best natural supplement for improving exercise performance and muscle mass, with exceptional safety (1). It is also supported to help with cognitive function and metabolism. Creatine is incredibly popular amongst the bodybuilding community and is seen as an essential supplement alongside protein powder.
Despite its popularity and the extensive research supporting its benefits, you may have some questions or want to know more about creatine. This article has compiled some of the most frequently asked and interesting questions regarding creatine and addresses some concerns many people have. Here we go!
Does Creatine Make You Bloated?
When people begin to supplement creatine they are often concerned about bloating, usually because they’ve heard that creatine causes water retention. Although creatine monohydrate indeed causes fluid retention as it is osmotic, how this is experienced differs from one person to another. Most people do not notice any bloating, whereas others do.
A study assessed water retention following creatine use in strength-trained participants, and it found that those taking creatine gained 0.9 litres of total water after 28 days of supplementation (2). This effect may make some people feel bloated. This side effect is not common but is more likely to occur during the loading phase (higher doses).
It’s also important to highlight that this water retention enhances athletic performance as it promotes muscle protein synthesis and hydration, promoting muscle growth and increasing muscular energy.
How Long Does It Take Creatine To Work?
First of all, creatine is not a stimulant. Therefore, you should not expect immediate effects on exercise performance. It should be treated as any nutrient. For example, if you have low energy levels and are diagnosed with iron deficiency, you can expect to feel the energy-boosting benefits of iron supplementation after a couple of weeks.
Generally, if you supplement 5 grams of creatine monohydrate daily, you can expect to feel benefits during your workouts during the third to fourth week. To support this idea, studies have shown that supplementing just 3 grams daily for 28 days to completely saturate the muscle cells, so you can expect to feel the benefits after 1 month (3). However, this is dependent on individual sensitivity. Additionally, if you supplement higher doses you can expect to see results sooner.
What Creatine Should I Buy?
The most studied and effective creatine is creatine monohydrate. 3-5 grams is the recommended daily dose. German Pharma Creatine Monohydrate is available as capsules or powder, providing 5 grams per serving.
Does Creatine Cause Gyno?
When it comes to muscle-building supplements, many people are concerned about hormonal-related side effects, such as gyno. Gyno occurs when there is an imbalance of testosterone to estrogen. This alteration causes an overdevelopment of breast tissue. It is most commonly seen in teenage boys and in those who misuse hardcore anabolic compounds.
There are currently no studies suggesting that creatine use causes gyno. Many people think creatine impacts anabolic hormones as it has similar benefits to testosterone, however, it does not. Therefore, creatine does not cause gyno.
Can You Take Creatine When Cutting?
Supplementing creatine during a cut is a controversial topic in the bodybuilding community. Creatine causes water retention, consequently, many bodybuilders will cut out creatine when cutting before a competition to attain a more grainy and vascular appearance. However, unless you're going on stage, creatine is beneficial during a cut, as it helps retain muscle mass and delivers an enhanced energy production whilst in a calorie deficit.
Does Creatine Make You Poop?
Supplementing creatine can cause diarrhoea. A study found that supplementing 10 grams daily in a single serving increases one’s chance of having diarrhoea. However, those who supplement 5 grams twice daily, are unlikely to experience this side effect (4). Therefore, if you want to reduce your risk of stomach issues, supplement no more than 5 grams daily, or at least split the servings.
Creatine vs Carnitine: What’s Better?
Carnitine plays a crucial role in energy production, as it transports fatty acid into the mitochondria to be “burned”. Creatine also enhances energy production, as it allows you to produce more ATP to fuel your muscles, it also helps store water in your muscles, supporting size gains and muscular performance.
Carnitine is usually used by those wanting to lose fat and those who take part in long-distance running or cycling. Creatine is mostly used by those wanting to improve recovery, whilst gaining muscle and strength.
Creatine vs Carnitine: What’s Better?
You may have heard that need to load creatine when you start supplementing it. This involves taking a higher dose than generally recommended for the first week or so.
While this strategy will increase your creatine intake, it is not supported to boost creatine stores. However, a study has shown that supplementing 3 grams of creatine daily for 28 days saturates muscle cells (5). Therefore, although a loading phase may reduce the time to receive creatine’s benefits, supplementing just 3 grams will be effective after 1 month.
Is Creatine Natty?
Being “natty” is not a clinically defined term. However, the consensus amongst the fitness community is that if you consume protein supplements, amino acids, or creatine, you are still “natty”. The use of hardcore anabolic compounds is what many argue makes you no longer “natty”, as these compounds augment your hormones above and beyond the natural realm.
Creatine Hydrochloride Vs Monohydrate
Creatine monohydrate and creatine HCL are two of the most popular types of creatine on the market. Creatine monohydrate is the most common and studied form, with many studies proving its ability to be absorbed and utilised. Whereas creatine HCL is a newer form of creatine, that has hydrochloride attached.
There is some evidence to suggest that creatine HCL is more soluble than monohydrate and causes less water retention. However, there is currently not enough research to fully support creatine HCL's long-term use. Creatine Monohydrate has been shown to saturate 100% and is strongly supported by clinical trials to be effective and safe.
Can i take Creatine on a plane?
Yes, creatine is legal to take on a flight in the UK the USA and pretty much all countries, but there are specific regulations you need to follow. To avoid any potential fines or confiscation of your creatine, make sure the creatine meets the criteria set by the airline and the packaging is the original tub or pouch (do not pack it into a smaller bag or box, as this can lead to delays and possible confiscation) correctly so that security staff can easily identify it. Check with your airline before you fly as they may have their own rules regarding travelling or flying with creatine. Make sure the label is clearly visible on the outer package and you should be perfectly fine. Creatine is legal and a widely accepted supplement across the globe.
Does Creatine Expire?
You may have a tub of creatine in your cupboard that has passed its expiry date, and your wondering if you can still use it. Creatine monohydrate does expire, however, it is very stable and should last at least 1-2 years after its expiration date, provided it is stored in cool, dry conditions.
However, if your tub of creatine has been left open for a couple of days or came into contact with liquid, it may lose some potency (6). Although clumpy creatine is generally fine to consume, if you recognise changes in its colour, smell or taste, then you must stop taking it.
Does Creatine Break A Fast?
Creatine Monohydrate contains zero calories and studies suggest that it does not affect insulin, therefore many say that it will not break a fast. Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that without adequate blood sugar levels, creatine can’t access muscles cell as this process requires insulin. Therefore, creatine will not break the fast, but it may be wasted due to poor absorption.
Does Creatine Make Your Face Fat?
This side effect is uncommon, but there have been reports of increased puffiness in the face of those who supplement creatine. When taking creatine the muscles collect more water, and this may result in puffiness. This can be experienced in every skeletal muscle, from your biceps to your cheeks. On the other hand, this puffiness may be caused by anaphylaxis, in which case medical attention must be sought.
Does Creatine Make You Thirsty?
Depending on your fluid intake, creatine can increase thirst. Creatine draws water towards it once absorbed as it is hydrophilic, which is why your muscles can look more swollen when using creatine. However, this can make you feel dehydrated. To avoid this side effect, consume plenty of water whilst supplementing creatine.
Is Pre-Workout Creatine?
If you are new to supplements or pre-workouts then it easier to think of creatine as pre-workout, however it is not. Pre-workouts are formulated to increase energy levels and muscular pumps within an hour, using stimulants, such as caffeine, and vasodilators, such as l-citrulline. Whereas creatine is designed to kick after a couple of weeks of supplementation. Although creatine can make your workouts more productive, as it increases muscular energy production, it can not be taken as a pre-workout. However, you can mix your creatine with pre-workout if you find this convenient.
Can I Take Creatine On A Plane?
You may be concerned about taking a fine white powder to the airport, however, creatine is allowed in checked luggage with no quantity limitations. Security may want to inspect it so they may need to open the lid.
How To Measure 5 Grams Of Creatine?
Most branded creatine powder supplements will come with a scoop that measures out at 5 grams. If a scoop isn’t provided, 5 grams equates to 1.4 teaspoons. German Pharma Micronised Creatine Monohydrate powder provides a 5-gram scoop in each 30-serving tub.
Is Creatine Good For Runners?
Creatine is predominately advocated by bodybuilders and those who do resistance training, as it boosts strength gains and helps you push out more reps.
However, would runners gain any benefit from creatine supplementation? Well, that depends. Those who take part in high-intensity running would find value in creatine's ability to increase ATP production, leading to faster recovery and energy potential. However, when it comes to low-intensity endurance exercise, creatine will have little to no benefit.
Can You Dry Scoop Creatine?
Dry scooping creatine provides no extra benefit and could cause choking and irritated airways. Dry scooping usually leads to coughing, so you’ll likely lose creatine during this process. We strongly recommend mixing creatine with a fluid, such as protein, before consuming it.
Creatine Powder vs Pill: What’s Better?
Creatine monohydrate is the same powder whether its encapsulated or not. The powdered form is often preferred as you must take seven standard capsules to match the dose of one 5-gram scoop. Ultimately, there is no difference between the two in terms of content, but the powder is often favoured as it is easier to take.
Does Creatine Make You Taller Or Stunt Growth?
There is evidence to suggest a positive correlation between creatine intake and height and growth. A study discovered that children and adolescents with higher daily intakes of creatine were taller than those who consumed less creatine (x). This is correlation, not causation, but where there is smoke, there may be fire.
Thats it, thats our top 20 questions on Creatine, we hope this article was informative and provided you with all the questions you may have on Creatine Powder and creatine monohydrate.
Still have not found the answers to your Creatine Questions?
No problem watch this video below from Dr ER to learn even more