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Myth-busting Monday

November 21, 2011

The Myth: Creatine supplementation is great for muscle growth, but damages your liver and kidneys.

This myth has mainly been spread via mass media portals (especially notoriously conservative news stations). The “evidence” dating back from the 90’s likely stemmed from college and professional athletes who were diagnosed with minor liver and kidney damage. Although these individuals reported creatine use, they were not questioned on their drug or alcohol consumption, nor were they examined for previous organ damage. Well aware of the lack of real evidence, researchers around the world conducted several well-designed clinical trials on creatine use.

The results show both true and false information to this myth.

The Facts:

A review on multiple creatine studies showed a drastic 2.3% increase of lean body mass (muscle) in creatine users. (Francaux et al 2006) However, they did document stomach discomfort in some individuals.

The Myths:

Kim and his team of researchers showed NO CHANGES in liver or kidney function in young or old people after several months of use.

Even a long term study lasting 5 YEARS showed “no evidence for deleterious effects in healthy individuals.” (Poortmans et al 2000)

Piece of Cake … Nutrition:

-Creatine is one of the safest and most effective daily supplements to increase muscle size and strength.

-If you currently have any liver, kidney, or other health concerns, it would be best to consult your primary physician when considering creatine use.


Francaux, Marc, and Jacques R Poortmans. “Side effects of creatine supplementation in athletes.” International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance 1.4 (2006): 311-323. Print.
Kim, Hyo Jeong et al. “Studies on the safety of creatine supplementation.” Amino Acids 40.5 (2011): 1409-1418. Web. 21 Nov. 2011.
Poortmans, J R, and M Francaux. “Adverse effects of creatine supplementation: fact or fiction?” Sports Medicine (Auckland, N.Z.) 30.3 (2000): 155-170. Print.
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