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Is creatine a good idea??


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I have been eating well and exercising every day. I recently (a few months ago) discovered my new love of strength training. It didn't take long to see some amazing results! I would really like to take it to the next level. I am wondering if creatine has the same effects on women as it does men. I am not afraid to gain more muscle at all...I just don't want to be the incredible hulk! I have reached my goal size (not weight, but I am attributing that to a little gain in muscle mass). Can someone help me sort this out.

BTW I am strength training for 1 hr X 5 days. 5'4" 125 lbs. 31 yrs old

Thanks!

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This article might be informative: Creatine For Women.

long and short.............. no. not a good idea
 Creatine is one of the most-studied supplements in sports science history, and yeah, for anyone looking to improve performance in the strength/speed arena it's a good idea - it's not going to help the marathoner much since it works to improve the efficiency of the anaerobic ATP regeneration cycle and extend your anaerobic power, something that's of litte to no concern to endurance athletes.

 It can also potentially interfere with substrate utilization in dieters - I've seen at least one study where the creatine-taking group lost less fat than the non-supplementation group, which is interesting though somewhat confusing since the underlying mechanism hasn't been made clear. And it's very odd given how just about every T-nation contributor has put their clients on creatine and they haven't seen that happen, so why that one uTexas study saw a reduction in fat loss for the creatine group is - well, pretty odd but food for thought.

 But yeah, for power athletes, good idea; for endurance athletes, not terribly relevant to optimal athletic function. Some trainers, including Dr. Lonnie Lowery (President of the ASEP) cycle on and off creatine just in case, but there's no sign that supplementation downregulates the body's own production even in athletes who've been taking it consistenly for the past 10 years.

I don't really think it's worth taking! There just isn't enough data about the long term effects.

What long term effects? Creatine is naturally occuring in your body, and considering the amount of meat we've consumed throughout our evolutionary history (approx. 50% of our calories came from animal sources, pre-agriculture) it's only when we settled down to eat grains as our major staple that we stopped getting 5-6 grams a day though food.

 There's no data that even begins to suggest that there's any risk associated with creatine intake.
In my A&P class we were told not to take creatine unless you are kept a close eye on.  Apparently if your body gets a build up of it, it acts like razor blades on your kidneys, and you don't even know it's happening until it's too late.  And, the amounts that occurs at is different for everyone, so it's hard to know how much you really need.

I don't remember everything about it, but the teacher said it's not a good idea.
Yes, that's another myth making the rounds - there's no basis in fact.
Unlike proteins, creatine synthesis doesn't involve formation of peptide bonds and its degradation doesn't involve deamination (removal of nitrogen) when excreted from the body by the kidneys. Thus, the concern that creatine may harm your kidneys because of nitrogen removal is unwarranted.
Creatine For Women
 Creatine can oxidize and form creatinine in liquid solution, and creatinine is mildly toxic in large doses. But that's nothing to do with creatine - and "razor blades on your kidneys"? Where do people get these ideas? Certainly not from the Journal of Nephrenology, where there's nothing about creatine and kidney function from my cursory search - you'd expect the medical research journal of kidney doctors would at least have something if there was even a little bit of truth to it.

From my understanding, and melkor can correct me, creatine makes your muscles larger while not showing similiar affects on your ligaments and tendons which attach your muscles to your bones. Due to this inbalance, many young athletes get tears which were once unusual - such as those of the ACL. (However, in creatine's defense, many young kids don't know much about anything, and often don't follow recommended dosages.)

While this never happened to my body building ex, it never seemed to help him particularly either. I simply wouldn't recommend it because I don't believe in anything of that nature. If you can't do it on your own merit, why do it? But that's me. =P

You'll probably gain 5-8 lbs.  Atleast 4 lbs will probably be water, but it's still weight.  I'm not sure if you'd want to weigh 8 lbs more in just 3-4 weeks.

ACL tears are usually in response to crappy shoes with too much ankle stabilization - you ankle is designed to move freely in many dimensions, your knee's just supposed to move in two. When you excessively stabilize the ankle joint, the knee has to take over and move in a way it's not supposed to in order to compensate for the lack of ankle mobility, leading to ACL tears among other problems.

 Lack of hamstring and quad strength is another - you see a lot more ACL tears in female athletes who don't strength train than the ones who do, to the point where the combined explanatory power of high-top sneakers+ lack of resistance training accounts for the vast majority of female collegiate athletes ACL tears according to at least a couple sports medicine articles I saw last month but can't find now.

 Creatine just makes your endurance a bit higher - it increases your phosphacreatine reserves, so your ATP regeneration process is extended a little bit, which means you can do a couple more reps, sprint a little further or develop a litte more power/explosivity at a given level of effort. There's some water retention involved because your body needs a bit of extra water to hold the increase pCr stores, and that causes your muscles to seem a little harder/larger, but it doesn't outstrip your tendon/ligament developement.

 For that, you need steroids - steroid users have been known to rip their tendons off the bone by lifting stuff that their muscles can handle but their tendon attachement points can't.

 Creatine is just a food supplement, really - if you could stomach eating a couple pounds of red meat a day you'd get about 5 grams of creatine through your food naturally and wouldn't have to supplement at all. But seriously, even though I do like eating,and I enjoy meat, I have a hard time picturing myself knocking back a couple pounds of prime lean beef a day :)
Original Post by melkor:

 Lack of hamstring and quad strength is another - you see a lot more ACL tears in female athletes who don't strength train than the ones who do... 

Lou Shuler made the argument in his blog (and I think I hear it else where as well) that lack of strength isn't as large of a cause of this problem as strength imbalance (i.e. quads being disproportionatly stronger than hamstrings).

If anyone thinks most bodybuilders use creatine, they're in for a rude awakening.  Try test-e, equipose, d-bol, winny, etc.  Creatine won't hurt you... but I don't know if you'd like the results you'll get.

For most people, creatine supplements will help them lose weight ... in their *wallets*.

In fact, that's true for almost all of the advertised magic pills in bottles.

Don't get me started on "Sportlegs." No less than Andrew Coggan himself dispelled that snake oil.
Original Post by behanna:

For most people, creatine supplements will help them lose weight ... in their *wallets*.  Does anyone actually take creatine thinking it will help them lose weight?

In fact, that's true for almost all of the advertised magic pills in bottles. Creatine isn't usually found in pill form.

 

Creatine is an ergogenic, not a weight loss aid - and it's the most-studied supplement in sports science history.

 It's useful for power athletes and sports where you have to do intense anaerobic efforts for brief periods, not so much for sports where you have a sustained level of power output for prologed periods of time.

 In other words, cyclists aren't going to see any improvements from it, your sport has the wrong energy use profile. Sprinters, ball players, people who hit other people, and weight lifters who depend on brief spurts of intense effort for their sports are going to see improvements, because their sports have the right energy use profile.

 Sheesh, you guys have me sounding like a commercial now. But really - whether or not you're going to see any results from it is entirely sports-specific.
"...cyclists aren't going to see any improvements from it,..."

FWIW, "brief spurts of intense effort" are how most bicycle races are won.

You have to be near the lead for a brief spurt of intense effort to do any good.  Melkor is saying that Creatine won't help you get there.

True, I was thinking of the flats races - it's not going to improve your time there. But yeah, goal spurts, and possibly hill climbs might be helped - that is, if the extra water retention from creatine doesn't weight you down and worsens your performance by adding more weight your legs have to push.

 This isn't even getting into the subject of creatine non-responders, which as been theorized is either due to a lack of fast-twitch fibre, or because you're already eating enough creatine-containing food that your stores are full and no extra supplementation is going to help.

 And then there's the placebo effect - there's a 60% chance that you'll feel a placebo effect if you take a suplement with the expectation that it'll work, so you can't even go by feel :)
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying cyclist should take creatine.  I don't know anything about creatine and I don't particularly believe in sports supplements.  In fact, I think that protein powder is a waste of money for most people.  What I'm saying is that the guys that win a lot of bicycle races, like Mark Cavandish who won 4 stages of this years Tour de France, sit in the back of the bunch all day saving their energy, then they get towed to the front of the pack by their teammates in the last 10k of the race, and then win with a "brief spurt of intense effort" over the last 200 meters.

Edit: appologies to the OP for taking the thread on a tangent.

That's fine..I like to see what everyone has to say. That's what I post for! And thank you everyone for the help.

I am gathering that this probably isn't a supplement for me right now. Perhaps I should be a little more "heavily" involved. My thought process was that it helped to build muscle but I was unaware of all of the other details (water retention, placebo effect, non-responders, etc). I think I'll take my chances on a healthy diet and continued exercise! That's pretty much guaranteed! Okay, now I have to go stop my head from spinning!!!!!! Thanks again!

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