When you study the biochemistry of creatine, you learn that most people make about one gram per day in their kidneys, pancreas, and liver. If they eat meat, they get another gram per day. Two grams per day pass from the blood into the muscle where 95% of creatine is found.
Creatine acts as a storage place in the cell for energy that comes from food. It is not energy or a source of energy in itself. Creatine only acts like uncharged battery that when charged with energy from food, becomes the major source of energy for immediate anaerobic muscle contraction of fast twitch (type ll) muscle fibers. What happens if there is a creatine deficiency? Two experiments help answer that question. First, in animal experiments, when creatine is blocked chemically from getting into muscle cells, there is loss of type ll fast twitch muscle fibers.
Secondly, a genetic defect has now been identified in children that prevents them from making creatine. These children have muscle loss and weakness plus brain disease. Creatine supplementation strengthens these children. This experiment of nature and the animal experiment show that creatine is a necessary muscle nutrient.
High Dietary Intake of Creatine
In times past, hunters such as the buffalo eating American Plains Indians, African Tribes, and Eskimos ate meat as almost their total energy source. Since meat contains one gram of creatine for each half pound of meat, these hunters consumed 3-5 grams of creatine per day depending of their total caloric need. This creatine dosage is similar to that recommended now by many scientists. Since mankind began as a hunter, is it likely that heavy meat eating is toxic? None of these hunting peoples suffered any known ill effect from this heavy creatine meat diet.
Early Use of Dietary Creatine for Training
History shows that old time strong men commonly trained by eating a pure meat diet. The earliest known example was Milo of Croton, the most famous Olympian of all time. Milo of Croton was a wrestler who lived in the 5th century BC. He won five gold medals and was known for prodigious feats of strength. He trained by lifting a calf each day. Then as the calf grew he lifted more each day and gradually gained strength. As a part of his lifting program he ate a pure meat diet. Thus, he was the first athlete to use modern training techniques of weight lifting and creatine supplementation.
Joe Fraizer, the boxer who became world heavyweight boxing champion, trained by chewing meat, swallowing the juice and then spitting out the rest. Strongmen, in the last and early part of this century, who demonstrated their strength by lifting heavy objects such as horses and anchors, often trained by eating a raw meat diet. These strong men knew what science is now learning. Creatine helps strengthen muscle.
Creatine Supplement Use Not New
The Russians and other Eastern Block countries used creatine as a sports supplementation for at least 20 years. Maybe this helps explain how the Eastern Block countries beat us so badly for so many years in the Olympic games. Recently I spoke to a Russian Sports scientist who told me that the Russians never found any toxic effects of using creatine during all those years in their athletes.
Creatine Use In the United States
In the West creatine has been used for about 10 years. Creatine was used by successfully in the 1992 Olympics. As creatine began to be available here in the United States many athletes began taking creatine in massive amounts. For example, a common loading dose of creatine is 20 grams per day for one week. Muscle builders have been known to take 20, 40, and even 60 grams a day, every day, all without injurious effect on the athlete’s health. If creatine were toxic, this would have been clearly demonstrated by these human guinea pigs over this 10-year period.
Physicians Using Creatine Have Found No Creatine Toxicity
Physicians have begun to use creatine supplementation for heart and muscle problems. In none of these carefully done studies, have doctors found and any injurious effects on the body. On the contrary, many of these studies show promise that creatine can help support the heart and muscle systems.
In summary, I can find no evidence that creatine is harmful in anyway.