Everyone wants to look and feel good. Strength and agility is all in the hips, legs and core. And what do you need in order to have strength and agility? Muscles! Muscles are such a great advantage to our bodies.
For one, muscles help reduce body fat and increases lean body mass. It also keeps our bones strong and dense, on top of that energy levels increase, speeds up metabolism and a million other amazing reasons!
Yet, some people day to night eat healthy, live a pretty standard average life and gym quite frequently and still find it difficult to grow muscles. Many people resort to different supplements in order to achieve this. From protein to amino acids, to glutamine and even caffeine, but one that isn’t heard of so much nor often mentioned is creatine.
And if you have heard of creatine, you have probably have heard it has so many bad effects and it can damage your liver.
So, is creatine really bad for your liver? Well, I am here to tell you no, creatine is absolutely not bad for you liver. Creatine is actually found in everyday meals we consume. It is indeed a natural supplement. Furthermore, I found it has great impact on our cognitive functions and can help with certain diseases!
How do I know this?
Well, not only do I have a husband who LOVES to workout but I also have two very tactical brothers in laws who love their physique, a brother who can’t fail a physical test and me, a former firefighter that needed to out due all the men in her class! Jokes aside, I did some extensive research because I am just as interested in knowing the mystery behind creatine and I also want to look sexy! (wink,wink)
Where did the Myth Come From?
A myth that could’ve upstarted this roar of creatine being unsafe for the liver is the fact that when someone takes creatine high than usual levels of a substance called creatinine will be released thru urine from the kidneys. Creatinine happens to be an indication to doctors of kidney failure when test are ran. A doctor could misread these results and give false positive for kidney failure; you should always mention to your doctors exactly everything you are taking. And this one should be one of them!
Let me explain to you why creatine cannot damage your live and on the other hand how positive it is.
What Exactly is Creatine?
Creatine is actually in our bodies already! Crazy, huh? No seriously, ninety-five percent of it is stored in our muscles already, the other five percent is found in our brain, kidneys, pancreas, and guess where else? Yes, you got it, in our livers! Creatine is made up of three amino acids: L-arginine, glycine, and L-methionine. It is about one percent of the total volume of human blood. One to two percent is used daily in order for our kidneys, liver and pancreas to function properly.
Creatine lives as an amino acid (broken down from dietary protein) in our muscles which our body creates from creatine to phosphocreatine then stores in our muscles which in turn use as energy. It also helps compose a substance in our body called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP administers energy for our muscles to be able to contract. We’ll speak about how creatine and ATP affect us a bit more into the article.
In other words, it helps our muscles bulk out during heavy weight lifting or high intensity training. The amount of creatine our body produces and stores depends on our intake, everything from hormones, testosterone, meat intake, exercise and muscle mass.
How to get Creatine Naturally
Creatine is found in red meats and fish. (If you are a big fish eater, herring is VERY high in creatine)
Creatine is transported thru the blood to feed high demanded energy parts like our muscles and brain. Someone without a health condition that doesn’t affect their creatine production needs about one to three grams of creatine a day.
Why Do Our Bodies Need Creatine?
A few paragraphs up I mention a substance called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is found in our body. ATP is very important in factor with creatine. Our bodies demand energy to respond accordingly. When we do intensive training our muscles turn ATP into adenosine diphosphate (ADP) which allows movement thru energy.
Problem is there is a limited amount of ATP so the body turns ADP to ATP extremely fast in order to keep storage in order to be able to continue intense movement. And the quickest way it manages to do this process is through is by breaking down high energy phosphate molecules off of creatine! (I know what a complicated relationship! Took me a while to understand it but after reading it about 100 times it makes total sense.)
In other words and short, you need creatine to whip up explosions of energy on short period durations. When creatine is reduced, your energy drains rapidly. Studies have shown that when we increase our creatine balance we also increase our phosphocreatine to quickly reproduce ATP, making you stronger and quicker.
Jump squats, burpees, jumping lunges, mountain climbers, and many other exercises are considered high intensity training. So creatine isn’t important just to athletes or professional weight/personal trainers. Us, every day folks that gym on a daily basis, also need creatine.
Other Benefits of Creatine
Many studies have been done on creatine. Not only do studies and research show that it is amazing supplement for human exercise capacity but for the quality of your training increasing your volume and intensity, allowing you to train harder. Although creatine is living in our muscles already it just doesn’t sit around waiting for you to use it up. Creatine works hard with you to not only make you gain muscles, but to keep them safe and fresh.
- Sustained workload: Allows you to have higher volume of training every time you have a session. This is good for long term muscle gain.
- Upgraded cell signaling: Muscle stem cells respond to tissues and muscle injuries. Creatine aids in repairing and new muscles quicker.
- Raised hormones: A rise in buildup hormones.
- Elevated cell hydration: Water is a great source for our bodies to remove toxins and produces oxidants. Dehydration can cause many diseases, aging, and even death. Creatine lifts the volume of water content in your muscles into your cells, allowing you to sweat more significantly.
- Reduced protein breakdown: Muscle mass increases due to the decrease of muscle breakdown.
Creatine is also believed to help us adapt easier to training, for both our brain and body. Like said before, our brains store creatine and although a lot less requirement than the amount of muscles we have in our body, it helps with optimal function (a good nervous system) which affects our sleep, moods, focus and attention and even the ability to decrease anxiety and stress.
The research I did was incredibly shocking as to how great creatine helps our brain! One study showed how during just a six month old period on children who had traumatic brain injuries had seventy percent reduction in fatigue and fifty percent in dizziness.
Creatine has helped many with cognitive/neurological disorders or diseases, such as:
- Ischemic strokes
- Brain or spinal cord injuries
- Motor neuron
- Memory and brain function
As I had mentioned earlier in the article, we can get natural sources of creatine from meats and seafood, vegetarians have less creatine storage due to their lack of meat consumption. Creatine supplement is a great way for vegetarians to have their uptake.
In another study, subjects had a fifty percent increase in memory and twenty percent increase in intelligence quotient exams. (All you college kids don’t get any ideas now!) Some other awesome health and positive affects I found were a decrease in blood sugar levels and can actually help fatty liver disease!
Creatine and Our Livers
Once again, I cannot emphasize that we indeed already have creatine in our living human body. The theory of creatine damaging livers is actually a myth and has been debunked so far by three major universities: University of Alberta in Canada, the University of São Paulo in Brazil, and the Memorial University of Newfoundland, also in Canada. All three have carried out a study in which they realized certain properties in creatine can help fight off fatty liver disease caused by high fat intake diet.
Fatty liver disease is a very chronic disease that affects a majority of the population in the world. Other health issues can derive from it such as diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. So having creatine in your body and taking it as a supplement can also help us avoid pretty much deadly affects to negative decisions we take. (I sure do love pizza, though).
Whether you decide to take creatine as a supplement or consume more red meat and seafood or simply not take any, creatine is still an important substance to the development of our muscles and more importantly our health! It is safe to say many studies and research indicates that creatine does not damage the liver.