Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

Creatine isn’t necessarily a bad thing

I would like to point out a few discrepancies in the Oct. 19 front-page article, “Creatine fad muscles its way onto campus.”

The side effects from creatine use are not a reason for considering the supplement “bad” or a hazard to athletes. If someone eats a certain kind of food that does not agree with his/her system, then he/she may experience such symptoms as nausea or diarrhea. That person then would believe it wise to discontinue eating such a food. Such symptoms are a possible side effect to every type of food or drug one ingests, from over-the-counter medicine and prescription drugs to food.

Side effects occur with any type of substance one puts into his/her body. Some side effects are good and some are bad; some occur in certain people and not in others. With creatine, the possible side effects include increased bursts of energy and muscle torque, possible nausea, possible diarrhea and possible muscle cramping. Two of these effects are beneficial and have been shown to occur in athletes: the increase in bursts of energy, as well as the increase in torque.

The other effects are “possible.” Just as one would stop eating a food that upsets the stomach, one should stop taking creatine if he/she feels uneasy about using the product. I took creatine and noticed the increase in bursts of energy but never once felt sick to my stomach, nor did I have cramps or diarrhea. Why? Because these negative side effects are only “possible.” They do not occur in all users.

The wrestlers who tragically died as a result of dehydration died because they did not have sufficient water in their systems, not because of creatine. Perhaps the recent deaths among wrestlers have stemmed from a more competitive sport that has attracted more competitive participants, who, in an attempt to compete, have lost more and more weight.

There have not been any reported deaths related to creatine. The fact that wrestlers rely on the necessary water in their bodies to lose weight demonstrates that this method may not be the healthiest if carried to an extreme.

If the most conditioned athlete in the world was dropped in the desert without water, he eventually would die of dehydration just as an unconditioned person would. The body needs water to survive, plain and simple. The thought of losing 11 pounds of water in four hours, as one wrestler did before he died, seems rather extreme. The weight loss methods of wrestlers repeatedly have been criticized as unhealthy and questionable, but still continue.

A friend of mine who attended Florida State baseball camp introduced me to the creatine supplement. He doesn’t use the product during the season because it can reduce endurance. Creatine also requires consuming more water than average, which during a sports season is not always possible.

The key to proper use is knowing what one’s body can handle. In lifting, as well as all exercise programs, the key rule according to amateur bodybuilder Frank A. Melfa, author of Bodybuilding: A Realistic Approach, is “listen to your body.” If your muscles are sore, take an extra day off. If you feel a pain, that is an indication to stop.

Life is not completely safe. The stress of an average day is often enough to cause serious medical problems among many individuals. People need to know what they are capable of handling. If a person is experienced enough to lift weights, he/she should understand the proper techniques required. Not using the proper lifting technique can result in injury, just as not using creatine properly may cause some undesirable effects.

Perhaps the manufacturers should do a better job of educating the consumer on the use of the product. However, we cannot eliminate an advantageous product because of the ignorance of some users.

-The writer is a freshman.

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