As far as supplements go, creatine is one of the better options as it is simply giving your body more of what it already has naturally.
There are no harsh chemicals, and you will feel much better for adding it to your regime, particularly if you are working on building your muscle mass and endurance.
However, in the chance that you are no longer able to take creatine and would like to go all natural then you may experience some side effects which are not totally unpleasant but good to be aware of either way.
What Is Creatine?
The word creatine comes from the Greek word meat is a natural source of energy created by the body to contract the muscles.
About half of the creatine used in our bodies comes from the meat that we consume as part of our diet and the other half is produced by the kidney and liver which is then sent to the muscles to be used.
The skeletal muscles store about 95% of creatine so that it can be accessed quickly during physical activity.
It is essential for giving the muscles a continuous supply of energy, but you can also find small amounts of creatine in the brain, heart, and other tissues throughout the body.
Foods such as red meat, seafood, and milk have creatine and the average person who has an omnivorous diet will consume about two grams of creatine a day whereas vegetarians will have lower amounts in their bodies.
Creatine is passed out of your body through the urine and must be released every day to keep the levels normal, the right amount of creatine depends on how much muscle mass you have.
Even though your body is able to produce creatine by itself, you still need to include some in your diet to make sure you have the right amount.
Why Do Some People Take Creatine?
Creatine supplements are mostly taken by athletes as they can benefit their performance by increasing their strength and helping them recover from injuries.
These supplements are safe to take for healthy people, but you should always talk to a professional before taking any.
Increases Bone Density
Bone health is very important, especially as you age as you are more prone to getting osteoporosis which is a condition caused by your bones losing their mineral density.
In fact, one in three women over the age of 50 will fracture their bones due to having osteoporosis, and one in five men will fracture their bones, most commonly their hip.
Taking creatine supplements will make your bones denser and healthier which will greatly reduce your chances of breaking and fracturing your bones and will maintain their structure as you age.
Improves Brain Performance
Your brain will also experience some benefits when you take creatine as it reacts in the same way as it does with your other muscles.
During intense mental tasks such as difficult mathematical problems, your brain can experience fatigue just as a muscle would during physical activity. Therefore, taking creatine will
Improves Physical Performance and Recovery
There have been lots of studies done that have shown that creatine is able to improve power output, strength, training volume, and body composition which are all very beneficial for both strength and endurance athletes.
What Happens if You Stop Taking Creatine?
When you stop taking creatine, you might notice some changes in your body.
First and foremost, since creatine is focused on supplying energy to your muscles – when you stop taking it you will notice that you will not have as much strength in your muscles as you did while on creatine. Do not worry though because this loss in strength is not major.
Water Weight Loss
Creatine makes the body store more water and if your goal is to build muscle, then it will make them look fuller and bigger but does not actually add muscle tissue.
Therefore, when you stop taking creatine, you will lose this water weight that is stored in the muscle cells which will make them look smaller.
It depends on how long you were taking the creatine but sometimes it can make you lose up to seven pounds of water weight when you stop taking it.
However, losing the water weight might be what some people are hoping for, especially those who are wanting to look tight instead of bulky.
It will also make your muscles harder and less puffy when you stop taking creatine because the water weight is infused into the muscle.
Decrease in Muscle Mass
This relates to the previous side effect which is the loss in water weight because you will experience an overall decrease in muscle mass.
If you still stick to a training routine and eat a high protein diet the amount of muscle mass you lose will not be that much and can be regained within the span of a few weeks anyway.
Lower Natural Creatine
Having a lower amount of natural creatine depends on how long you were on the supplements and how much you were taking.
Either way, when you stop taking creatine, your body might not produce as much creatine naturally as it would prior to taking the supplements.
This is because whilst you were taking the supplements, your body took that into consideration so that it maintained the correct levels and therefore got used to producing less by itself.
During this time, you will likely feel like you don't have a lot of energy, but it should take about a month for your body to bounce back and produce the correct amount of creatine naturally again.
Should You Stop Taking Creatine?
If you are taking your recommended dose of creatine a day which is usually about five grams, there is no reason why you should stop taking it.
Similar to any supplement or diet regimen, you should discuss it with a healthcare professional before you take creatine.
You should also think twice about taking it if you are on any other medications that affect the function of the kidney or liver.
Creatine may interact with medications such as gentamicin, cyclosporine, aminoglycosides, ibuprofen, and many more.
Other than these precautions, there have been no known common side effects that are caused by taking creatine as long as you take the recommended dose and do not take it with a non compatible medication.
There are a few side effects that you may experience when you stop taking creatine, but they are all relatively minor such as a loss in muscle mass and energy, but your body will be able to bounce back in a matter of weeks.
Other than personal preference, there is no real reason why you should stop taking creatine as it has a lot of benefits especially if you are an endurance or power athlete.
Just remember to take the recommended dose of five grams a day and you will be feeling like an energized machine ready for anything.
Thanks for reading!
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