Do you need creatine powder for your workouts?

“Should I add creatine powder to my smoothie to improve my workouts?” I hear this question a lot. Particularly from my younger clients who are hoping to build muscle and improve their level at the sport they play. You may have heard that creatine can boost your athletic performance, but what is it? Creatine is a natural chemical that exists in our bodies, which helps your muscles make energy.

I feel if athletes are eating enough protein, they do not need to supplement. I am referring to both recreational athletes hoping to “up their game”, and competitive athletes who play in college or even professional leagues. Red meat and seafood are naturally high in creatine, and some vegetarian proteins like seeds, nuts, and beans also contain lesser amounts, so you are able to get a sufficient amount of creatine with your food choices.

I am wary that the FDA does not regulate the supplements nor is there a lot of research on its safety. There are also no long term studies about creatine use for an extended amount of time. Additionally, people report side effects include nausea, dehydration, muscle cramps, and diarrhea. And taking too much creatine is hard on your kidneys, liver, and heart (ugh!). 

I often say, let food be thy medicine — in this case, let protein fuel your workouts and not powders. 

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