Podcast Episode 14 Transcript – Creatine Monohydrate

The Ideal Nutrition Podcast

Leah

00:00:05 – 00:00:54

Welcome to episode 14 of The Ideal Nutrition podcast. I’m your host, Leah Higl, and I’m here with my co-host, Aidan Muir, and today we will be discussing the use of creatine monohydrate. So, creatine is a non-protein amino acid that can be found in a range of different animal foods. But it is particularly found in things like your red meat and your seafood. And then, obviously, it comes in a supplement form too, and that’s what we’ll be talking about today. So, creatine is really versatile in how it can be used. So, it can be used when we’re thinking about athletic performance and muscle building. But it can also be used in regards to brain health, which is a really interesting application of creatine. Within our body, creatine combines with phosphate to create phospho-creatine, 

Leah

00:00:54 – 00:01:17

which is then used for energy production. So, by increasing our stores of creatine in our body, we’re actually able to produce energy in a more efficient way because we have more of that phosphocreatine. So, whilst you can get creatine from your animal foods, if we’re really looking for the benefits that come from a high amount of creatine, supplementation is absolutely the best way to do it. 

Aidan

00:01:18 – 00:02:02

And the way I think about in terms of how can it help, is- I think about in terms of like, you know, how you’ve got aerobic and anaerobic kind of metabolism in terms of- like aerobic is that kind of like longer distance oxygen requiring activity, and anaerobic is that kind of short, sharp burst. Phosphocreatine or ATP- ATP is an energy source that is used for like the first 10 seconds of activity. And having higher phosphocreatine stores in your body, which could be due to creatine supplementation, allows you to produce ATP more rapidly. So, that allows you to kind of really recover a little bit quicker between sets and perform a little bit better on those types of activities. Anything that is a short, sharp burst of activity basically, and 

Aidan

00:02:03 – 00:02:40

Obviously because we care about lifting, that’s the easiest way we can think about it. I used to always talk about it in terms of- it’s like a 2% to 3% kind of boost and like I don’t like overhyping supplements either, but like creatine is probably- like it’s the most well studied and most consistently beneficial supplement, but I don’t like overhyping things. But as I was going down the rabbit hole again, like in prep for this podcast, because obviously I’ve been reading about creatine for- like it’s been a decade now. It’s been a long time, um, but going deep down that rabbit hole again, I started looking for specific numbers, and I realised- like I knew this. But like it’s not a 2% to 3% benefit, it is actually more on average. 

Aidan

00:02:41 – 00:02:55

So, the biggest meta-analysis on this topic showed that in terms of what you’d expect for improvements in one rep max, five rep max, eight rep max, and ten rep max, after using creatine for a decent period of time, is about an 8% improvement. 

Leah

00:02:56 – 00:02:58

8% is so huge for a supplement. 

Aidan

00:02:58 – 00:03:28

It’s massive, like not many supplements will give you that big of an improvement. And in terms of a specific load, the improvement you’d expect in terms of the number of reps you can perform is about a 14% increase. So, like that’s another decent improvement as well. Obviously, you’ve got to keep in mind these are averages, and you’ve got to keep in mind who’s in these studies like they’re not exactly like well-trained participants all the time. Like, um, obviously we work with a lot of power lifters and stuff like that. I don’t truly believe that if we give a powerlifter, who has been training a long period of time, creatine, 

Aidan

00:03:28 – 00:03:40

That a couple of weeks later, their one rep max is going to be 8% better. Like, I don’t think of it like if somebody could bench 150 kg, I don’t think of it taking it up to, like, you know, like, 170 or something like it’s a bit unrealistic.

Aidan

00:03:42 – 00:04:17

But like it is actually a pretty decent benefit. And the other thing that’s pretty clear, and although it’s hard to interpret, is that muscle growth actually increases in these studies, like if you take creatine for 12 weeks, you probably gain more muscle than if you didn’t take creatine at all. But it’s hard to interpret in these studies because there’s this increase in water weight, that intracellular increase in water. It’s not all intracellular, but that intracellular stuff is what we call about- that is lean mass. Like that is an increase in lean mass. So, if you look at a study that shows somebody gained one kg of lean mass, for example, who’s to say how much is water and how much is like actual muscle as well?  

Leah

00:04:17 – 00:04:54

Yeah, 100%. And I think I’m probably more sold on the fact that if you take creatine, and that allows you to provide more stimulus to the muscle than long term, it makes sense that you would gain more muscle mass. Um, but yeah, I think that’s a really interesting point. Um, so let’s talk about who should actually be using creatine. So, we touched briefly on the fact that it’s really versatile, um, and even outside of the gym, it does have its uses. Um, but when we’re thinking just from an athletic and performance perspective, I don’t think there is realistically any sport where I wouldn’t be recommending creatine. 

Aidan

00:04:54 – 00:04:58

What are your thoughts on like endurance athletes taking it? Like marathon runners? 

Leah

00:04:58 – 00:05:16

I think it still makes sense. When you think about its applications for even recovery and muscle recovery, I think maybe endurance athletes, maybe they won’t benefit from it as much or directly, but I still think there’s a benefit there in it being worth taking. 

Aidan

00:05:16 – 00:05:24

Yeah, I definitely see like an indirect benefit. Like I think part of the question comes down to, like, do we think water weight hangs around? 

Leah

00:05:24 – 00:05:25

Yes. 

Aidan 

00:05:25 – 00:05:53

Because if there’s no direct benefit and water weight hangs around- like say somebody gains two kg and that’s not like contractile muscle tissue that helps their performance. Um, but I don’t know fully where I stand on that. My current stance is that, like, your weight does increase a little bit. And if you take creatine for over a month, for example, I think the water weight balances out just because of how water homeostasis works, but I’m happy to be wrong on that one as well. But that’s- I didn’t used to think that, but over the last year has changed my thinking towards that which would make it more applicable to endurance athletes. 

Leah

00:05:53 – 00:06:08

Yeah, and I think in my experience, even tracking people’s weight when they do start creatine. I mean, I’ve not come across a particular scenario where I’ve seen an athlete’s weight spike really drastically over a kilo. What’s your experience been personally? 

Aidan

00:06:08 – 00:06:19

Yeah, personal experience. I don’t actually see it going much over a kilo. Some of the larger people I’ve worked with, yeah, maybe. But like the research does seem to show that. I just haven’t seen that in practise with people. 

Leah

00:06:19 – 00:07:04

Yeah, no, I understand that for sure. Um, so in talking more about who it’s relevant to, I think the idea of, can we just get it through diet does come up a fair bit. So, like, oh you know, I eat a ton of red meat that contains creatine. Do I actually need to supplement with it as well? Um, and my thoughts on that is that a normal diet- so, like a omnivorous diets contains, like, 1 to 2 grams of creatine per day. Um, and we’re looking for 3 to 5 grams a day in regards to supplementation. So even if you are eating red meat, you’re eating seafood regularly multiple times a day, I still think it makes sense to supplement with creatine. Um, I guess technically; you could get enough through red meat. 

Aidan

00:07:04 – 00:07:15

Um, but your intake of red meat would have to be so above what is recommended for health. Why would you even attempt to do that? Have you ever seen someone attempt to do it? 

Leah

00:07:15 – 00:07:48

I haven’t seen an attempt to do it for that purpose. So, my understanding is about one kg of red meat per day. I could be wrong on that, but it’s a pretty high number you actually have to get to. And, you know, I have had some clients do that. Like I’ve had people have, like, 500 grams at lunch and 500 grams at dinner like in that kind of strongman or maybe even powerlifting space as well. But like, it’s so rare to see that, as you said, talking from a health perspective and then ethical perspective. And then there’s a whole bunch of stuff that’s like, you have to really go out of your way to do that. And if you are doing that, it’s not for the small benefit of creatine, you’re doing it for other reasons most likely. 

Leah

00:07:48 – 00:08:33

Yeah, and on the flip side to that is plant-based people. So, I’m plant based. Um, so I’ve really gone down this rabbit hole of creatine supplementation within vegans and people that don’t eat animal products. Um, and the research does show that vegetarians and vegans do tend to have lower creatine stores in their muscle. Um, and that they could actually benefit more from supplementation than people that are eating meat on a regular basis. So, I think that’s quite interesting, because the application there for vegan athletes is really quite strong. Um, and there’s a really strong argument for vegan athletes to be taking it in general. Um, so talking more about, like, the athletic context we talked a little bit about endurance sports. Yeah, that could be, um, 

Leah

00:08:33 – 00:09:04

Definitely a secondary reason for taking creatine, but it is definitely relevant to strength sports. So, obviously we work with powerlifters and different kinds of strength athletes. Um, and if you’re not taking creatine, you’re just like missing out on this one easy thing that you could absolutely be doing to boost your performance. Um, and like Aidan said before, it’s probably more than then like that 1% to 3% we talk about. It could potentially be more, specifically if you are just starting out in a strength sport. 

Aidan

00:09:04 – 00:09:40

For sure, and even in terms of those other applications, like we do have things like rehab and if you play another sport that creatine- like including endurance stuff but like any other sport that creatine might not directly help. If there is any kind of strength training or resistance training or anything involving muscle building or anything like that, it makes sense to do that. Like rehab protocols do actually seem to be improved with creatine supplementation. Anytime you get an injury, it makes sense to have that. There is interesting research, I don’t know how much I buy into it, but like, for example, when people say tear an ACL and then they get immobilised. We know that people lose quad size really, really quickly.  

Aidan

00:09:41 – 00:09:54

But the research on taking creatine during that time frame or before that time frame, just before you get immobilized, seems to prevent some of that muscle loss. And if you lose less muscle while being immobilized, you could probably return to sport a little bit quicker. 

Leah

00:09:54 – 00:10:30

Yeah, that’s always going to be what you want right? To lose the least amount of muscle when you’re not training. Um, so creatine does have that relevance as well. Outside of that, what I think is interesting about creatine supplementation is its relevance to concussions. So, I see it talked about a lot in the combat sports community. Um, so, obviously in combat sports, you can get the benefit of creatine in regards to like that quick energy production that’s obviously relevant to combat sports. Um, but it could actually reduce the risk of what happens after concussion. 

Aidan

00:10:31 – 00:10:52

And even as a question for you because, like, I sometimes take creatine out during weight cuts and everything like that, you’d really want it in your system if you’re going into a fight where there’s a chance of getting concussed. Like, it’s a difficult kind of balance being like we’ve got to make weight. But like in a perfect world, every time you go in a position where you’ve got a good chance of getting concussed, you want creatine in your system. 

Leah

00:10:52 – 00:11:21

Yeah, we know there’s a pretty good link between brain health and having creatine. So, if you’re going to get hit in the head multiple times, like I think I’d want creatine in my system for that as a bit of like a safety net. Um, and we know there is some good research there for creatine in that application. Um, so when we’re thinking about weight cuts and cutting creatine, it’s always- for me, it’s one of those- like if we need to, I will, but I prefer not to. Particularly in like a contact sport. 

Aidan

00:11:21 – 00:11:26

Yeah, and then brain stuff. If you didn’t lift, would you take creatine still? 

Leah

00:11:26 – 00:11:36

Only because I’m plant based. I think there’s definitely- for someone that doesn’t eat any animal products, I think there’s an argument for brain health and creatine supplementation. 

Aidan

00:11:36 – 00:12:20

Yeah, I completely agree. Like, if I was playing it safe and I didn’t lift, I’d probably still take creatine. Without that aspect? Probably not. Like there is- it has got evidence showing it improves memory. I obviously care about that. Like that is something is really important to me. I probably wouldn’t take creatine just for that. There is evidence of it hoping to prevent Alzheimer’s. If you were somebody who was at risk of that, and more concerned about that than the average person, it’s such an easy thing to add. And then another thing to think about is that it seems to be pretty helpful for people who are elderly as well. For a few reasons, one: it can help prevent just that natural muscle wasting that occurs over the years, it can help prevent some of that. It can help preserve some lean mass and strength. 

Aidan

00:12:20 – 00:12:26

But then- an example I’ve had somebody else talk about is like when you get pretty old, how long does it take to get out of a chair? 

Leah

00:12:27 – 00:12:29

Yeah, I mean, it depends on the person. 

Aidan

00:12:29 – 00:12:31

It becomes near a ten second event. 

Aidan

00:12:32 – 00:12:46

So, like I don’t think that’s a big aspect. And like I wouldn’t actually- like I’m not out here trying to get my grandparents on it or anything like that. But I have heard other sports dietitians, which is why I use that example, would be like yeah, I’ve got my grandparents on creatine for this very reason. 

Leah

00:12:46 – 00:13:02

Yeah, and I think- I mean, in that case, I’d probably try to be more active throughout my life to sustain that muscle. But yeah, look, if you can just take something once a day and it’s going to help reduce muscle wasting, it makes sense to do it. 

Aidan

00:13:02 – 00:13:36

Easy win. Cool. So, in terms of how to take a dosage in which form- as we said or as Leah said at the start of the podcast, we’re talking about creatine monohydrate. Um, I’m pretty- like I actually haven’t looked too far into the other creatine forms. I’ve tried but it’s so boring to me because it is very, very clear that other forms of creatine, at best, are as good as creatine monohydrate. Yeah, like they- some of them are worse but at best, they are good. And like, because I’m so outcome focused; I only care about what is going to help people. 

Aidan

00:13:36 – 00:14:17

I don’t want to spend too much time looking into other things that aren’t going to. So, it’s just doing due diligence just to be like I’ve got to try and do my job, but like that’s all I’m really trying to do with that. So, creatine monohydrate is definitely the type that I recommend. The standard dosage is typically called five grams per day. Um, but it really depends because really for the average 80 kg person, it probably takes about three grams of creatine per day to get to and maintain that saturation level, which is what we’re trying to achieve. We’re trying to, um, saturate our muscles with creatine, the maximum amount that we can hold is really the goal. And it seems to take about 30 days of loading in that format. Do you do loading phase or anything like that? 

Leah

00:14:17 – 00:14:57

I don’t. I find it really impractical for a lot of my clients. Like so- I mean, you could do that fast loading where you do the 20 grams a day. And sure, you could probably take that all in one hit. But the chances of like gastrointestinal distress, well I guess not high, but it’s just dependent. Like some people are going to have bad reactions to taking that much in one sitting. Um, but you could do it, you know, five grams four times a day. I find that so impractical. No one realistically does it. So, I never do like the fast loading aspect of creatine. Look, let’s just do slow loading and after four weeks, we’ll see your- like the performance benefit from it. It’s just an extra few weeks. 

Aidan

00:14:57 – 00:15:11

Yeah, and like I have a slightly different opinion, like I always put it into my plans for clients being like optional loading phase 20 grams per day, 5 to 7 days. Um, the research on like gastrointestinal distress is really interesting cause it doesn’t actually line up with practical experiences from what I find. 

Leah

00:15:11 – 00:15:13

That’s what I find so interesting. 

Aidan

00:15:13 – 00:15:47

Yeah, it seems like in- the research is like yeah, it’s so rare to get gastrointestinal distress whereas, like with clients like I think it’s like one in three, maybe even higher, seem to report it at 20 grams. Um, even lower, some people at five grams notice it. But that’s another point. That’s like, okay, average 80 kg person probably requires about three grams per day. A lot of companies will just say five because it just covers everybody. Like what if you’re a 100 plus kilo lifter like it makes sense to have five just to cover that, there’s no real downside outside of the tiny chance of gastrointestinal distress as it gets a little bit higher. The difference between three grams or five grams isn’t a lot, 

Aidan

00:15:47 – 00:16:02

But if you’re somebody who’s prone to that, wouldn’t you use the minimum effective dosage? Like wouldn’t you use, if three grams seems to cover it and you were, say, 80 kg, you would use that. If you were 60 kg, wouldn’t use like 2.5 or something like that? You’d use the smallest amount that you really need to get to that level. 

Leah

00:16:02 – 00:16:13

I don’t know if you know this, but it kind of just came to my mind, but in the research, when they’re talking about that 3 to 5 gram dosage, is that on top of like the usual dietary- 

Aidan

00:16:13 – 00:16:17

So, it’s basically assuming that you’re doing it. So, it’s just a supplemental dose. 

Leah

00:16:17 – 00:16:27

So, with all my plant-based people, I tend to go for that higher end even if they are a smaller person because that makes sense to me. They’re just not getting any through their diet or that’s my reasoning behind it.

Aidan

00:16:27 – 00:16:54

For sure. In terms of other stuff, because I get a lot of questions about like, should I have it pre-workout, post-workout, with carbs, whatever? And it’s a borderline frustrating one to answer, because there’s a grain of truth behind- like those things actually do matter. So, like, oftentimes I brush it off and sometimes I feel- like do people like walk away thinking, am I the idiot? I just haven’t read the research, but basically the grain of truth is that it is actually better absorbed, 

Aidan

00:16:54 – 00:17:16

Around the time you work out, pre-workout or post-workout. If you actually look at the outcomes, which is obviously what we care about in terms of like muscle growth, and strength performance, and stuff like that, the studies they’ve used at post-workout seem to get better lean mass gains and better strength outcomes, over even the studies that use a pre-workout, which is interesting, but like I’m not really sold on that. Like I don’t think that matters that much, but we know it is better absorbed if you do that. 

Aidan

00:17:16 – 00:17:56

Another thing we know is it’s better absorbed if you have it alongside carbohydrates. So, the study is using quite a lot of carbs. They often use like 100 grams of carbohydrates to show that you absorb it better. Other studies have even tried using protein alongside because protein can spike insulin, because that’s the thing we’re talking about. We’re talking about insulin allowing you to get more creatine into your system. Protein also sparks creatine, so you could have 50 grams of protein and 50 grams of carbs, which is what they’ve done in the research, and that comes out the same as 100 grams of carbs. My big thoughts on this topic, though, one: you’re going to reach the saturation point regardless. Like I don’t think you need to cycle on and off creatine which- we could talk about that in a little bit. 

Aidan

00:17:56 – 00:17:58

I don’t think you need to cycle on and off creatine. 

Leah

00:17:58 – 00:17:59

Yeah, I agree. 

Aidan

00:17:59 – 00:18:07

It’s naturally in food anyway. You’re not going to cycle on and off of your food intake, and it’s hard to rebuild the habit after you stop as well.

Leah

00:18:07 – 00:18:36

Yeah because it’s consistency that matters. So, you want to be consistent with your creatine supplementation, so you keep that optimal saturation in the muscle. So, anything that’s going to stop you from being consistent is just working against you in regards to creatine supplementation. So, I definitely agree whilst- like having carbs and doing it post-workout is slightly better. If there’s another part of the day where you can be more consistent with your intake, that would be what I would go for. 

Aidan

00:18:36 – 00:19:05

For sure, and most people don’t train every day as well. So, it’s like if you have a rest day and you’ve linked it with your workout every other day, you might forget to take it for example. And- yeah, so these things do help you absorb but you’re going to reach it regardless. It really does not matter. So, I just say have it whenever- but that’s what I’m getting at. There is a grain of truth behind it. If you’re trying to absolutely maximise your absorption, firstly you would be doing the loading phase to start off with to maximise getting to that point, and you will do this as well. But the big thing is, we know creatine- I say that 2% or 3% benefit, maybe it’s 8% or whatever, 

Aidan

00:19:06 – 00:19:28

But, like, do you really want to adjust your diet? Like do you want to add in 100 grams of sugar to facilitate this creatine uptake? Like if you have to make a change to your diet to allow it, you’re probably making a bigger difference through that than you are getting in terms of gains from the creatine. It makes more sense to just take creatine consistently, and if you happen to line it up with your post-workout or whatever, that makes sense. But I’d rather just have it consistently; whatever time works. 

Leah

00:19:28 – 00:19:49

Yeah. For me personally, I know that I have pretty much a protein smoothie every day at around 10 a.m., and I always put my creatine in there because I know I do that pretty much seven days a week. Um, so whilst- yeah, I could do it post-workout on the days I train. I don’t do it because looking at the research to me, it doesn’t- it doesn’t make the difference. 

Aidan

00:19:49 – 00:19:50

Very similar. 

Leah

00:19:50 – 00:20:12

Uh, so let’s touch on safety in regards to creatine monohydrate. So, we do know that creatine is very safe. So, like you said before, there’s, like, a decade plus of research telling us very strongly that creatine is a safe supplement to take for pretty much everybody. Um, is there anybody that you would specifically rule out of taking creatine? 

Aidan

00:20:13 – 00:20:18

It’s a good question. Um, I don’t know who I’d rule out. 

Leah

00:20:18 – 00:20:22

Do you- if you have, like, a teen athlete, would you recommend it to them? 

Aidan

00:20:22 – 00:20:38

Yeah, that’s a hard one. So, like, I don’t- I don’t recommend it, but if they’re like, I want to take this, I say yes. In a lot of cases- like that’s just a thought that- like it’s just- just a bias honestly. Like it’s just a bias. Like I don’t think young athletes should be having a lot of supplements or anything like that. But we know it’s safe. 

Leah

00:20:38 – 00:21:07

We know it’s safe. Yeah, yeah, I thought- I just thought that was interesting because, yeah, I don’t personally recommend it to my teen athletes, but I guess there’s no research telling us that it isn’t safe for them. Um, so yeah, it is a little bit of a bias. Yeah, I just thought of- um but when we’re talking about creatine, the things that do typically come up is that gastrointestinal distress. So, I personally have- many times I’ve run into a client who was like, I’m taking three grams a day and I’m getting gastrointestinal distress and like okay, I don’t know how. 

Leah

00:21:07 – 00:21:43

It doesn’t make a lot of sense because the research would tell us that GI distress and creatine supplementation are not that linked. But in my experience, it can be quite frequent. Usually, when it’s the fast loading, as opposed to the daily dose. But yeah, even sometimes when we’re taking that 3 to 5 grams, some people, particularly ones that have IBS or some other issues, do run into some GI distress. Um, although part of me thinks that because I think in our heads we do- when we’re in the athletic world, we’ve heard of creatine, and we’ve heard that it might cause some GI distress. I think maybe having a bit of that fear 

Leah

00:21:44 – 00:22:19

Already in your head, can sometimes create- be the problem behind it. Yeah um, so there is that. And then the second thing we briefly touched on before is the water weight that you might gain when you do start taking creatine. So, whether or not that water gain is transient or long term, we’re not really sure. Um but for most people, I feel like it’s not going to be an issue. Definitely not going to be an issue health wise. Um, but even when we’re thinking- like, if there’s an extra kilo on a powerlifter and they’re taking creatine, that’s not going to make a huge difference to the bottom line.

Leah

00:22:19 – 00:22:27

I still find- like I work with lower-level powerlifters and more so female- so I still find like a lot of people freak out if their weight changes. 

Leah

00:22:27 – 00:22:52

Yeah, as soon as I say look- because I always give that caveat like- so your- your weight may spike, you know, between 500 grams to almost up to two kg maybe, um, if you’re doing that fast loading or within the first four weeks when you are building up your saturation. Um and I’m like, oh you know, it’s nothing to worry about, it’s fine, but they’ll be like, I’m not taking it then. 

Aidan

00:22:52 – 00:23:20

Yeah, and another thing I used to say up until this year, to try and alleviate that kind of fear a little bit, is- I used to say it’s all intracellular. It’s all intramuscular water. It’s all inside our muscles. It’s basically like having bigger muscles. And that was my easy sell because it’s like anyone who’s trying to gain muscle, like it’s a good thing, like it’s all inside our muscles. But I don’t know where exactly I stand on that, because it seems to be a bit more complex than that. Obviously, everything in nutrition is never that simple. It’s like- it’s not all intracellular.

Aidan

00:23:20 – 00:23:41

Some of it is extracellular. It is just how much- some show as much as a 50-50 ratio. Some show that it’s in favour of intracellular. So, like the big thing to come back to is, it doesn’t make you look bloated. It doesn’t make you look puffy. It doesn’t affect how you look in a negative way. Even if it’s a 50-50 ratio, it doesn’t really change how you look at all. It is literally just the scale changes that’s all. 

Leah

00:23:41 – 00:24:15

Just a little bit of scale weight, which I know does mess with some people. So, I completely am compassionate about that in people’s relationship with scale weight. But look, putting on a little bit of water weight for the benefit you’re gonna get from creatine, it just makes so much sense to take creatine. Um, I remember when I was, like, 15 when I first heard about creatine, like the water weight was the first thing I heard about. People would be like, oh yeah, he just started taking creatine, and that’s why he looks like all puffy and has a moon face, like it does not have that kind of effect. No way. 

Aidan

00:24:16 – 00:24:58

Cool. So then, the next thing to talk about in terms of safety or the two biggest concerns, one is kidneys. So, one really interesting thing about creatine is it increases creatinine on a blood test, and creatinine is often considered a marker of kidney function. We know, as a bit of a factual statement, that the increase in creatinine related to creatine doesn’t affect kidney function at all. It’s like a red herring. Like you might pop up on the blood test saying that you’ve got high creatinine and that’s a sign of kidney dysfunction, but the creatine hasn’t actually caused any issues. So, it’s pretty confusing to interpret. And you need- you need doctors that actually understand that because always they might freak out. 

Leah

00:24:58 – 00:25:18

Um, interesting in regards to doctors. I actually had a medical doctor as a client a while ago, and when I mentioned taking creatine, because he was getting into strength training, he was like, oh no, it damages your kidney health. It increased- last time I took it, it increased my creatinine, and I’m like, wow, so even a medical doctor doesn’t-

Aidan

00:25:18 – 00:25:58

Yeah, and we can’t really expect them to know the ins and outs of like niche supplements. Um, the other big concern is hair loss. So, this comes up all the time and I understand where the concern comes from. But it’s based on one study, so there literally is only one study that has ever been done on this topic, and it’s from 2009. So, it’s a long time ago, and it included 20 rugby players, and they did seven days of loading creatine, and after seven days, their DHT, so dihydrotestosterone, increased by 56%. And after two more weeks, where they dropped back to maintenance, so they did a loading dose to start off with, it was 40% elevated. 

Aidan

00:25:59 – 00:26:21

They didn’t measure hair loss, like they just measured DHD and DHT- like elevated DHT is linked with hair loss. That is all we’ve got. But like as we were speaking about earlier, like, hormones can fluctuate up and down, and like one study with 20 people where there’s an elevation in that, like if it’s said that their testosterone it increased by 56%, 

Aidan

00:26:21 – 00:26:50

I would have been like- I don’t think that’s what’s happened. Like I would dismiss it almost completely because we have other studies on creatine and testosterone. There doesn’t seem to be a link, but like we don’t have any other studies on creatine and DHT, and we have no studies on creatine inhalers. This has been a concern for the entire time that I’ve been lifting. It’s been a long time that this has been going on for and it has not been studied since. My thoughts are the reason it has not been studied since is because anybody who spends time looking at this space has probably come to the conclusion that they don’t think it’s going to lead to hair loss. 

Aidan

00:26:51 – 00:27:10

I do understand the concern because it’s like DHT is linked with hair loss. If I was losing my hair, would probably be a little bit more concerned than I am, like I think that’s fair. But from the outside perspective, I don’t see any concerns based on what research I have seen and being in and around the community. There’s nothing to kind of convince me to be concerned about that. 

Leah

00:27:10 – 00:27:19

Yeah. So, I guess in summary, creatine supplementation is not going to make you puffy and bald would be my take away from that.

Aidan

00:27:19 – 00:27:34

For sure. So, yeah creatine is something that is relatively easy to do, it is very cheap, and it’s probably one of the easiest wins you’ll get for improving your performance. That will wrap up today’s episode. So, this has been episode 14 and thank you to everybody who has been listening so far.