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Mom, Creatine Won’t Harm Me

Contributor Sara Sritharan 


Over the past few years, exercise supplements have become increasingly popular amongst athletes, fitness influencers, and even casual gym goers aiming to enhance their performance and achieve their fitness goals. With a plethora of options, each promising to help you achieve your fitness goals, it is difficult to choose which ones to take. Are they truly useful, or is your mom right about them being harmful? 


Protein Supplements 

Protein is essential for muscle repair and growth, thus making it a staple in the fitness community. Protein supplements come in different forms, the most popular being whey, casein and plant-based protein powders. These forms are all effective, but one may be a better fit, such as if you are vegan or lactose intolerant (Davidson ). While getting protein through one’s diet is ideal, protein powders offer convenience. The truth is that most healthy people need roughly 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram, and those looking to build muscle can attempt to eat 1.5 to 2 times as much protein required. Consuming a shake with 20 to 40 grams of protein is ideal to help reach such goals (Gelsomin). 


Pre-Workout Supplements 

Pre-workout supplements can temporarily boost performance by increasing focus and blood flow to the muscles during exercise. They contain ingredients such as caffeine and amino acids like Beta-alanine and taurine. There are various different forms available, including powder, capsules, and even gummies (Jesner). It is important to note that pre-workout supplements may contain 150 mg to 300 mg of caffeine per serving. If you choose to take it, consuming products with 200 mg or less per serving and taking up to 400 mg per day is vital. There are various side effects, such as a racing heartbeat, tingling, and nausea (Is pre-workout powder safe? Does it work?). However, regular use of more than 600 mg daily can cause long-term effects such as sleeping problems, stomach acidity, and increased blood pressure (Substance use: Common drugs). While it may improve your overall performance in the gym and help you achieve your fitness goals faster, paying attention to the amount of caffeine consumed is imperative.


Creatine 

Creatine is one of the most researched supplements and is known for its ability to enhance strength. It does so as it helps muscles produce energy through the production of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency of cells. It is also a naturally found compound in our bodies, particularly in muscle cells. While creatine supplements can benefit activities requiring short bursts of intense energy, such as weightlifting, they may not be as helpful for endurance athletes (Mawer). It is crucial to note that creatine is not a necessary supplement and there are potential side effects such as dizziness, diarrhea, and excessive sweating. Since it comes in several forms, such as powder, tablets, capsules, and liquids, one must pay attention to the dosage (Creatine). Overall, it is a generally safe supplement to take. 


In conclusion, exercise supplements won’t kill you. They can be a valuable tool for enhancing performance and promoting recovery, However, they are not a substitute for proper training and a balanced diet. Whether you need supplements depends on your goals, habits, and dietary deficiencies. You could consult with a dietitian or healthcare professional before adding new supplements to your routine to ensure they are safe. 















































Citation List

“Creatine.” Cleveland Clinic,https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/17674-creatine. Accessed 11 Feb. 2024. 

Davidson , Katey. Plant-Based Protein vs. Whey Protein: Which Is Better? https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/whey-vs-plant-protein 19 July 2021. Healthline

Gelsomin, Emily. “The Scoop on Protein Powder.” Harvard Health, 9 Mar. 2020, https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-scoop-on-protein-powder-2020030918986

“Is Pre-Workout Powder Safe? Does It Work?” Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, 27 Nov. 2023, https://health.clevelandclinic.org/does-taking-a-pre-workout-actually-work

Jesner, Leoni. “What Is Pre-Workout and How Does It Work?” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 30 Jan. 2024, https://www.forbes.com/health/supplements/what-is-pre-workout/

Mawer, Rudy. “Creatine 101: What Is It and What Does It Do?” Healthline, Healthline Media, 2 Nov. 2023, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-is-creatine#how-it-works.

Poison & Drug Information Service, Alberta Health Services. “Substance Use: Common Drugs.” MyHealth.Alberta.ca Government of Alberta Personal Health Portal, https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Alberta/Pages/Substance-use-caffeine.aspx#:~:text=Regular%20use%20of%20more%20than,pressure%2C%20it%20can%20get%20worse. Accessed 11 Feb. 2024. 

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