Is Creatine A Steroid? Facts And Myths

There is a range of supplements on the market that can help increase muscle in the body.

One of the most widely used is creatine. This supplement is not only one of the most popular out there but it is also one of the most misunderstood.

Scientifically proven to aid in the building of muscles, creatine has grown a poor reputation despite its common use.

This bad rep is mainly down to people misunderstanding what the supplement can actually do.

In a world rifer with conspiracy theories than ever before (thanks internet), many thoughts and worries have been shared about creatine that has frightened herds of people away from ever using it.

But, are these worries justified? Read on to find out more.

Creatine is one of the most effective supplements available in terms of building muscle. It is used by recreational gym-goers as well as seasoned athletes.

“If athletes use creatine, it can’t be a steroid, right?” Well, the view that creatine is a steroid is a commonly shared belief with many around the world.

But, it simply is not true. This, along with a myriad of other misunderstandings, is going to be cleared up, once and for all in this article today.

We’re in the mood for some myth-busting so please join us as we debunk some of the wildest and most common creatine myths below.

Is Creatine a Steroid Facts and Myths

Instead, we will inform you of the true facts about this affective supplement and how it can affect performance and adapt to the body.

Myths vs. Facts


Creatine Is An Anabolic Steroid: Myth

Let’s get this misconception about creatine out of the way first. Although it is not the most widespread theory regarding creatine, the question of whether this supplement can be classed as a steroid does come up now and again.

The truth is that creatine is not an anabolic steroid.

As a matter of fact, it does not have any similar effect or work in a way that steroids would function.

Creatine has nothing in common with a steroid in terms of structure. In reality, the supplement’s structure and function are closer to a vitamin or mineral which are accepted more positively than a steroid’s effects.

Bear in mind that many professional athletes use creatine to help increase their muscle strength.

The use of steroids is prohibited for these athletes and the World Anti-Doping Agency does not feature creatine on its list of banned substances.

Creatine Can Damage Your Kidneys: Myth

One theory that has gathered momentum in recent years is that creatine can have a negative impact on the kidneys.

Many believe that the kidneys get damaged by the byproduct of the phosphocreatine system (blood creatine) as it increases in the body which can lead to the formation of kidney stones.

The good news is that this belief is unproven and there is little validation in its claims.

In fact, creatine metabolism products are almost exclusively removed from the body by your kidneys. Therefore, using creatine can help you and doctors understand how well your kidneys are working.

An extensive study investigated creatine supplements and the possible renal function side effects in the short and long term.

Studying a range of dosages, the study concluded that creatine did not affect serum creatinine levels, a marker of kidney function, and possible damage to the organ.

Creatine supplements have been thoroughly tested time and time again. Each time, it has appeared safe on the kidneys when taken in recommended dosages.

Creatine Can Increase Body Fat: Myth

If you’re looking to build muscle and use a supplement to help in this quest, you will probably want to stay away from things that can increase your body fat.

This is why many people stay away from creatine as a common belief is that it can cause weight gain.

While this rumor has been circulating online and throughout different fitness communities for years, it simply is not true.

The truth is that users may notice a slight weight gain when first taking creative but this is generally attributed to a little intracellular water retention as well as a decrease in urinary volume.

So, does creatine cause water retention? Yes, but only a little. Does creatine cause an increase in body fat? No.

You, Will, Lose Muscle Mass When You Stop Taking Creatine: Myth

You, Will, Lose Muscle Mass When You Stop Taking Creatine Myth

Many believe that all the muscle creatine helps you build will begin to decrease once you stop taking the supplement. The truth is that creatine can make you look somewhat ‘softer.’

This is why bodybuilders tend to stop using it after a few weeks before entering competitions.

Creatine causes water to flow into the muscles. This additional water increases the volume of the muscles. However, this volume does not look solid.

Instead, it has a more doughy appearance and feels. Therefore, after you stop taking creatine, you will not lose any muscle mass. Instead, you will be carrying dry muscle mass.

If you continue to work out and eat a balanced, healthy diet for muscle building, then you will not lose any muscle when stopping creatine.

Creatine Can Cause Hair Loss: Myth (But Needs More Studies)

Ask many gym-goers and they will be confident in their belief that creatine causes hair loss. This relatively common theory is mostly attributed to a single study.

This examined the increased levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) after taking creatine supplements.

As you can probably gather, one study is not enough to declare this belief a fact or a myth. Overall, most people who experience hair loss are genetically predisposed to it.

This is if you inherit hair follicles that are more sensitive to DHT. In turn, this can lead to androgenetic alopecia, more widely known as male pattern baldness and female pattern baldness.

You may be thinking that this one study is a little concerning. However, it is important to note that none of the participants in the study experienced any form of hair loss whatsoever.

All in all, there is currently not enough evidence or data to prove that creatine supplements can cause hair loss or even contribute to it in any way.

That being said, for those who are predisposed to pattern baldness, it is recommended that you consult a healthcare professional before taking this or any kind of supplement.

In Summary

Many myths around the supplement creatine are alarming and scare people away.

However, creatine has been vigorously researched and tested in various studies and these have concluded that it is not a harmful supplement.

And it is certainly not a steroid.

Yes, more research is required to find the truths about certain side effects but overall, creatine should be regarded as a safe supplement that can help you build muscle over time.

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