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Creatine Monohydrate Effects, Side Effects, Dangers, Benefits & Myths

Creatine monohydrate is one of the most popular supplements for building muscle on the market today. Because of that and how long it's been around, there are many myths about the dangers and side effects of using creatine. John and Glenn from Best Price Nutrition decided to debunk many of the common myths out there about this great product. Now this is a longer video, but well worth it!

Creatine Side Effects, Myths & Dangers Video

Video Transcription

John: Hello, everybody. This is John and Glenn with Today we’re gonna cover creatine, specifically some of the myths about it, some of the, not only effects, but side effects as you’ll hear it, which is more of a marketing term. It’s actually an effect. Side effect just means effects that the company doesn’t intend or whatever.

Glenn: Exactly.

John: Anyways, with creatine, there’s a lot of rumors out there and things like that, which have been unfounded. Creatine has been on the market since 1992.

Glenn: Yeah.

John: Yes, since 1992. It’s just one of the longest-running supplements to this day, I think. Evidence shows it’s the most effective performance enhancing supplement there is.

Glenn: Yeah, it’s probably the most studied supplement there is.

John: Yep, it definitely is.

Glenn: I mean, they’ve gone further than just studying for its athletic benefits. Now they’re looking into other areas.

John: For the brain.

Glenn: For the brain.

John: Creatine, you can get it from… You wanna discover some of the sources.

Glenn: It’s in beef steak, any red meats, I know it’s contained in.

John: Salmon.

Glenn: Oh, yeah, it’s in salmon also. It’s found in meat essentially.

John: Yep. Also your body produces it. It’s produced in the liver, the kidneys and the pancreas. So it’s endogenous. Sometimes people say, “If I take creatine, I better get off of it because I might stop producing it.” You get it from exogenous sources and you produce it. So it’s not a concern. It’s not like taking testosterone where you’re…

Glenn: Yeah, you’re not going to shut down your creatine production. It’s always gonna be there.

John: Do you want give a brief summary of how creatine works?

Glenn: Yeah. Essentially you have your natural source of energy in the body called A.T.P., which is adenosine triphosphate. You also have A.D.P., which is adenosine diphosphate. Creatine lends a phosphate group to that adenosine diphosphate and you get A.T.P., adenosine triphosphate which is your stored energy source in the body. That’s where creatine is beneficial. It helps you with energy, providing energy. A lot of times you say, “Hey, it helps with energy.” People think, “Is it like caffeine generate that energy?” It’s not. It’s not something that you’re really gonna get a big rush of feeling from.

John: It’s something so your body can recycle the energy within the muscle. As your body breaks down A.T.P., it becomes A.D.P. and then the separate phosphate creatine helps restore. It’s a really, really quick reaction. Like you said, it’s not something you feel right away. It’s something that, as it saturates In your system, that’s where the whole loading thing became invoked. It turns out you don’t have to load.

Glenn: You don’t have to load. A lot of the research in the beginning, all they knew was loading because they knew it had to be saturated. Now they’re finding that you don’t have to load it. You may not get the big boost of effects right away, but the effects at the end of the eight weeks are just the same whether you load or not, or I should say eight to twelve weeks whether you load or not.

John: With creatine, it’s going to work. We were talking about before, it’s a very fast energy system. It’s not going to work with the aerobic system for instance. It’s gonna work with the glycolytic and anaerobic systems. It’s specifically for fast twitch muscle fibers. If you’re gonna take it and run a marathon or so many distance, it’s really not gonna do much for you.

Glenn: No, it’s not gonna do much for you.

John: It might not be recovered… That’s the … you should creatine or anything, but you can use it for sprint workouts and the lifts in the gym. That’s where you’re really gonna feel the effects of creatine, because as we said, it’s gonna work on those fast systems. If you’re running a hundred-meter sprint or anything explosive like lifting…

Glenn: Powerlifting and things like that.

John: …that’s where you’re gonan feel the benefits from creatine. To put it in context too, we talked about red meat being a source. About two pounds of red meat is gonna give you about five grams of creatine, so that’s to put that in context. Forms of creatine.

Glenn: Yeah, essentially creatine starts off as the base, creatine phosphate, and then they bind it to different salts to help it absorb or be more bioavailable to the body. Creatine monohydrate is probably the most well-known, the most studied form of creatine. I’ve seen magnesium creatine…

John: Chelate?

Glenn: Chelate, that’s what I’m looking for.

John: Sorry, I didn’t know [inaudible 00:04:14].

Glenn: Yeah, there’s just so many different forms of creatine that they all get kind of mixed together. There’s creatine ethyl ester, kre-alkalyn creatine. Those are some other forms of creatine. Again it’s just things bonded to the creatine to help it to either be stabilized or be absorbed by the body. Essentially as it all boils down, creatine monohydrate is the one, as they’ve done peer-reviewed research, that shows that it’s the best form or the far superior form than the others.

John: There’s nothing wrong with creatine monohydrate. It works. It absorbs well. It’s cheap. That’s the one you should go with. Again we touched on the energy sytems. I think I misspoke. It’s going to work with the phosphagen system, which is a really, really short burst. I know I have a little charge here that we put together. This is available on our blog. There’s a blog that we did back last year, Creatine and Beta-Alanine: A Match Made in Heaven. We discussed a five-yard sprint when creatine or beta-alanine are helpful.

This particular article is about creatine and beta-alanine, but we go in-depth about creatine. Let me talk about what energy systems you’re using. You’re using the phosphagen system when you’re using 100% power off it because you need that energy available right away. In a hundred-meter sprint, it’s predominantly the phosphagen system. You get 60%. You have a 200-meter sprint where you’re using predominantly the glycolotic system. You’re using glycolysis but you’re also starting to get on that edge where it might become somewhat aerobic. That 400-meter run is really kind of the threshold sometimes you’ll see, because the other rate-limiting factor with fast twitch muscle fibers is the build-up of lactic acid.

If you’ve seen our other videos, we’ll talk about beta-alanine and get rid of that. That’s the new supplement that’s with creatine in terms of a lot of research validating how effective it is. They work together well. If you wanna read more on that, we have that in that particular blog. The biggest thing what creatine’s come out with some of the myths now is that people would go and they get blood work done and they hear about their creatine levels. The by-product of creatine is…

Glenn: Creatinine.

John: So if you’re on more creatine while your creatinine levels are gonna be…

Glenn: It’s gonna be higher. Exactly. If you’re gonna go get a test done, obviously know that your creatinine levels are gonna be higher because this is getting broken down and the by-product is creatinine.

John: The thing is what they fail to test initially was they would look at blood and they’d say, “Wow, look at all the creatinine.” They never tested the urine. They went ahead and tested urine and found the expected amount in the urine, which showed that the kidneys were processing it properly. That was the big, big concern initially that came out with creatine, “It’s gonna liquefy our kidneys.” If you don’t have any prior kidney conditions, then you’ll be fine. You can do a standard test for kidney function. It’s the G.F.R., glomerular filtration rate, is what they’re gonna look at and see and make sure that your body is getting rid of the creatine. If you don’t have any kidney issues, there’s no concern. Like I said, [inaudible 00:07:01] since 1992, ’93, give or take a year.

Glenn: Creatine is a large molecule. So, yes, it does have to pass through the liver and kidneys. People say, “It’s too much stress in the kidneys.” Like John was saying, if you don’t have any preexisting kidney conditions, you’re okay.

John: It’s the same with high protein diets, if that was. There’s absolutely zero empirical evidence to show that. As you said, even the A.M.A. has discussed creatine and the effects of it on mental focus, ability to study better and think sharper.

Glenn: The brain, studies for Alzheimer’s, M.S. now.

John: So they’re really starting to really research it and see where else it can help benefit. I think I’ve read somewhere in the 2000 Olympic Games that high percentage of the athletes were on it, especially those that were in the sprint-type competitions. There were no issues with that either. Creatine’s kind of become a victim of its own hype and popularity, because it’s such a good supplement, everyone tries to come up, like you were talking about, all the different forms.

Glenn: Yeah. They kind of all get mixed together because essentially…

John: Ours won’t bloat you and this and that.

Glenn: Yeah, they won’t bloat, no holding water. The idea behind that was you would take creatine with a large amount of carbohydrates. You get that insulin spike and then that insulin would shuttle the creatine into the muscles.

John: Four times a day. People are stocking Cell Tech.

Glenn: If you imagine 75 grams of sugar four times a day, that’s, what, 290 grams of sugar.

John: Oh, that will bloat you because of the sugar. That was the problem. People are all, “Oh, I’m sick.” That’s all the sugar. It’s not like, “Oh, the creatine’s doing it.” Also you need the water that you retain inside of the muscle cell for creatine to be effective. That causes intracellular tension. That water draws everything into the cell, which is what you want.

Glenn: It causes an anabolic effect.

John: That’s part of the idea. The notion that our creatine doesn’t bloat can be summed up as there’s probably not any sugar there. It has nothing to do with the form of creatine. If yours isn’t helping you hold that water in the muscle cell, then it’s not doing its job. It’s just nonsense.

Glenn: A lot of times I will get emails or phone calls from customers saying, “I’m dieting. What should I take?” A lot of times creatine is something that’s good to take while dieting also, because it can help you preserve that muscle mass, keep your energy levels high. Again, like John was saying, it’s not something that’s gonna bloat you. It’s that 75 grams of sugar that you take along with that. That’s always something to monitor.

John: That’s the marketing, some of the, “Our creatine won’t do this and ours will do that. No loading phase.” We covered the loading phase. We covered the notion of bloating. That’s a sugar thing. That’s mainly it.

Glenn: Yeah.

John: So I think we have no other questions on it. There’s so much we can do. There’s so many peer-reviewed studies on creatine that it’s just…

Glenn: As it boils down to it, it’s one of the safest supplements. Generally, like John was saying, only if you have a preexisting kidney condition would you not wanna take it.

John: There’s a lot of things that you shouldn’t take if you have a preexisting kidney condition that you probably have to monitor how much protein you take, everything. That’s different. If you’re of complete health, there’s no issue. If somebody’s out there, some goofy website saying that creatine’s liquefying kidneys and stuff, okay, I’m sure because that’s in the best interest of these companies to liquefy your kidneys because then you’ll return and buy more. That’s great. As we said, there’s plenty of human research. That’s that.

If you guys have any questions or comments, you could find us on Facebook. We’re on Facebook now, You could also post your comments in the comment section of the video or on our blog. Again the blog that we refer to in this video is called Creatine and Beta-Alanine: A Match Made in Heaven and that’s at Thank you.

Glenn: Thank you.

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