>Everyone wants results yesterday, and while you may be putting in your gym time and following a sound nutrition plan, patience may not be your strength.
This is where supplementation can come into play. We all know that certain supplementation can help to speed up results, but the key is in using them properly. One of these supplements proven time and again to be effective is creatine monohydrate. Two key points to the benefits of creatine are that it is the most effective and most tested nutritional supplement available in helping build lean muscle tissue, increasing strength and power output, and it has even been shown to help prevent injury and manage certain medical conditions when taken properly.
When creatine, which is a naturally occurring substance, was first discovered to be able to safely help athletes with their performance and physique goals, a whole blowup began with whether or not it was safe to use and just how to safely and effectively use it. The debate to the safety of this super supplement still rages on today after over a decade of studies, but as many will soon discover, not only does this supplement aid in performance and physique goals, it can actually help to prevent serious injury and possible fatal occurrences like training in hot and humid conditions. It can also help those with certain medical conditions.
Previous concerns have been with kidney problems or dehydration from the use of creatine, but this is just not the case. If you are exercising intensely or in certain climates that promote excessive fluid loss, one must take this into consideration and properly hydrate before during and after to prevent overexertion heat stress or other illnesses. That is just common sense and has nothing to do with creatine supplementation.
“Creatine does not cause dehydration, muscle damage, or increase susceptibility to heat-related illness in athletes involved in intense training in hot and humid environments. If anything, research shows that creatine promotes hyper hydration (i.e., whole body fluid retention) leading to less thermogregulatory stress during intense exercise in the heat.”1 – Richard Kreider, Ph.D., FACSM, FISSN, Texas A & M University.
This again is proof of the importance of using common sense, regardless of supplementation, and being sure to stay hydrated. The studies on creatine even show that it is effective in the prevention of rhabdomyolysis, which is a rapid breakdown of muscle tissue due to intense training or illness that can actually be fatal. In addition, creatine can even slow down the worsening of symptoms in those with Parkinson’s disease.2
The recent death of US National swimmer Fran Crippen has raised awareness of the conditions athletes compete under and how these must be taken into consideration for the well-being of all athletes everywhere. He was an amazing athlete that could have gone on to be an even more well-known superstar in athletics, but due to dehydration and overexertion, he passed while competing in the FINA Open Water 10-kilometer World Cup at Fujairah, east of Dubai. Had he possibly been using creatine in his regime with proper hydration, this could have potentially helped prevent his death. That may be an extreme statement, but quite literally it may be true. As stated above, creatine promotes hyper-hydration, which would have helped his body to handle the heat stress from not only the activity, but the warmer than usual water conditions the athletes had to race in.
While the case of Fran Crippen may be more of an exception than a rule, there are countless studies from over a decade of research showing not only the performance- and physique-enhancing benefits of creatine monohydrate and its safety, but current research is also enlightening us on how it can actually help to save or improve the lives beyond that of athletes.
1.International Society of Sports Nutrition. Creatine Helps Athletes in Hot Weather, Studies Show. Retrieved November 5, 2010, from http://www.npicenter.com/article/Industry/Creatine-Helps-Athletes-in-Hot-Weather-Studies-Show.aspx
2.Medline Plus. Creatine. Retrieved November 5, 2010, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/873.html
Creatine: Beyond the Benefits of Performance