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Originally published June 9 2004

Creatine gains in popularity as safety questions abound; the FDA can't wait to regulate or outlaw the substance

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

Creatine has rapidly become wildly popular among people looking for an edge in strength training and sports performance. One study indicates as many as 16% of teenagers use creatine, and 57% of people who frequent health clubs also take the nutritional supplement. Creatine has been clinically proven to increase lean muscle mass and boost performance, but is creatine safe?

When it comes to creatine, you can count on two things happening. First, some users will abuse it and consume ridiculous levels of the substance in a desperate effort to boost their performance. And secondly, the FDA and organized medicine will do everything they can do discredit creatine as part of their campaign to regulate or outlaw all nutritional supplements. These two actions go hand in hand, of course: as a few isolated abusers of creatine are found to exhibit negative side effects, the FDA will leap at the opportunity and publicly declare creatine to be "dangerous to everyone" in a sensationalist manner. The campaign to discredit creatine will, in fact, closely mirror the FDA's campaign to suppress ephedra -- a common weight loss herb that is actually remarkably safe, despite what you may have heard in the popular press.

Creatine is like most other nutritional supplements: if used widely, it can assist in reaching health goals like losing weight or attaining greater physical strength. But if abused, it can overload certain body organs (the kidneys, especially) and ultimately cause serious health problems. The key is to understand that the substance is not the problem, it's the desperation and lack of nutritional wisdom of certain individuals that's the actual source of the problem. The FDA would argue that since a few people can't figure out how to limit their consumption of creatine to safe levels, then the substance should be removed from the reach of the entire population. It reminds me of the state of Oregon, where it's illegal to pump your own gas at a gas station. Minimum wage attendants have to pump all your gas for you in Oregon, because the state legislature decided that the average gasoline consumer somehow has even lower intelligence than the attendants who work there.

The FDA thinks the same way about the general public: since a few people are too stupid to limit their consumption of creatine, it should be restricted from everyone. It's an insult to the intelligence of the thinking, lucid people in American society. Yes, the number of lucid people may be shrinking rapidly thanks to brain-destroying diets (hydrogenated oils, aspartame, MSG) and food additives, but there are still tens of millions of people running around this country who can think for themselves, and in my view, the FDA has no right to restrict their access to relatively safe nutritional supplements like creatine. Technically, creatine is no more dangerous than coffee. There are probably thousands of deaths caused each year by the frequent consumption of coffee, yet the FDA isn't at all interested in banning that substance.

Do I use creatine myself? I tend to stay away from it, but on occasion, I will consume a tablespoon of creatine as part of a pre-workout protein drink made with soy milk, stevia and whey protein. In my experience, it definitely helps with the workout. But I don't rely on it as a foundation of my physical health, and I would never consume it on a daily basis. It's not like vitamins and minerals -- creatine isn't something you need on a daily basis. It can, however, help the intensity of your workout if used wisely.


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