The Creatine Effect

It can be quite intriguing to scan the bodybuilding shelves of a health shop, or the fitness section of a supermarket. All the colourful supplement containers are somewhat a reminder of superheroes’ origin stories and yet most of the time you are looking at supplements intended for normal people.

There was one particular supplement that used to receive a lot of bad press, though some still persist
today. That supplement is called: Creatine Monohydrate.

I started weightlifting about 7 years ago and with great predictability I took an interest in
supplements. Whey protein is obviously a regular part of my diet, but I researched a little more and
found creatine. Among my group of friends and even colleagues, I was normally one of the few if
not the only one who actually took health seriously. Here’s what I typically heard from them, so imagine
yourself in a highly scripted scene, because most of the time the conversation is predictable:

You: I was thinking of trying this supplement called creatine monohydrate.
Friend: That stuff is like steroids, like juice in a powder. Don’t take it, brah!
You: Uhmmm… okay.
Friend then walks off feeling somewhat smug over a Pyrrhic attitude. You are then left with more
doubt and even more discouragement, because the person you spoke to was insecure. He was not
jealous at what creatine could do for you, he was jealous that you took an interest in benefiting your
own health!

So, without further doubting dialogues, let’s just get straight to the point -What is creatine?
Creatine is a naturally produced chemical in the body that acts as a backup generator during
anaerobic (muscle building) exercise. You can consume them from fish, meat and (surprise, surprise) sports
supplements.

It was first discovered by Michel Eugene Chevreul in 1821, a French chemist (Brits! leave the traditional rivalry at athletic events!). The supplement was accused of causing water-retention and stomach pains, backed up by
inconclusive research and more gossip for your “Friend”. The chemical is technically approved for use
by the European Food Safety Authority; by now this largely helps dispel any doubts and discouragement about its efficacy.

I used creatine for about 7 years and experienced no harmful side-effects, it often gives me the
welcome extra strength to push myself a little harder. There are other things to be wary of in life such as
smoking, excessive drinking and recreational drugs and that’s where the bad press needs to concentrate.

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