Should I use Creatine for Workouts?

Patient

Q: I have heard creatine is good for helping my workouts Is this safe and should i take it If so how much should i take and when, should i take it before or after?

Doctor

A:   This is a common questions amongst individual seeking to enhance muscle mass from their strength training work outs.
Creatine is naturally produced in the human body but the majority of creatine is derived from ingestion of meat.  It is a source of energy used by the muscles of the body.
The theory is that supplementing your diet with Creatine will enhance your workouts and enhance your muscle mass.  While several studies have shown an increase in muscle mass, it is unclear if this is simply through enhanced water absorption or actual increase in muscle bulk.  Most users often report a decrease in their muscle bulk after stopping Creatine use.
Despite its perceived benefits, there are numerous side effects reported amongst otherwise healthy people. I usually cautions against use of Creatine in individuals with asthma, allergies, kidney disease, liver disease, diabetes, seizures, and individuals taking prescription medication, herbal drugs or dietary supplementation known to  affect glucose or electrolyte levels.
Healthy individuals should advise their doctor they are taking creatine and then advise their doctor if they experience any adverse symptoms or general unwellness.  Some doctors will perform routine blood work and EKG's on a regular basis to monitor for electrolyte or biochemical abnormalities.
Safe and toxic amounts of Creatine have not been established and likely vary from individual to individual.
Please be cautious.

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