Creatine is a supplement that is so effective, that it can even seem somewhat worrying for some users. That’s because this supplement is able to increase energy during a workout and increase the size of the muscles pretty much instantly.
If you take creatine and you do nothing else, then your muscles will look up to an inch larger and you’ll be able to lift heavier weights for 1-2 more repetitions.
Sounds pretty amazing doesn’t it? It also sounds a little like a steroid. And with that comes some concerns.
And then this is where things get weird, because if you type ‘creatine rage’ into Google, you actually get a fair number of results come up. And many of these are people posting on Bodybuilding.com forums asking if creatine can make them angry. Why? Because when they take creatine, they notice their temper starting to get shorter.
It would be easy to dismiss these claims as nonsense – especially seeing as creatine should have no bearing on the way they think. But then again, if that many people are all noticing the same thing, it might be a little short-sighted to immediately rubbish the idea. So let’s take a closer look and go about this the fair way…
The first thing to do is to look at how creatine works. That way, we can ascertain whether there is really any possibility of it leading to rage.
Essentially, creatine works by allowing the body to recycle used ATP. ATP is the most fundamental form of energy in the body that comes from broken down glucose. The body produces creatine naturally and it also comes from the liver and what this does is to collect up used ATP molecules and recombine them so they can go again for another round.
Using creatine, the body is able to help you squeeze out just a little more exertion during a sprint or a heavy lift before you switch to the glycogen-lactic acid system and start to feel the burn.
And at the same time, creatine encourages the muscle to draw in more water. This is what can help the muscles to immediately look fuller and to give you more size and more power during your workouts!
As you can see then, creatine has no bearing on testosterone – which is the male hormone that causes roid rage. So what’s everyone going on about?
Look, there’s no scientific way that roid rage can come from creatine. This is a naturally occurring substance that doesn’t affect hormones and that athletes have been using for decades.
But if we play along, we could point out that creatine is able to make people smarter. Studies show that creatine boosts the IQ by allowing brain cells to get slightly more energy – it’s just like being slightly more awake. And maybe with slightly more brain activity you could conceivably have a shorter fuse as you respond to provocation more quickly and with a sharper wit.
You know what though? That is a massive reach, seeing as there’s correlation between energy/intelligence and rage. In fact, studies show us that we are more moral when we’re more energetic. As the day gets later and we get tireder we become grumpier and more likely to make immoral decisions.
So what else could it be? One theory is that it causes a little dehydration. When using creatine, you need to drink more water seeing as more is being drawn into the muscles. If you don’t drink enough water, you could end up getting dehydrated more easily than you normally would and of course this can have a negative impact on your mental state. This is the most common, sensible solution put forward for ‘creatine rage’.
But what’s actually even more likely is that it’s purely coincidental. As any psychology student or scientist will tell you: ‘correlation does not equal causality’. In English, that means that just because two things happen at the same time, that doesn’t mean that one necessarily causes the other.
What’s more likely is that there’s a third factor causing both these things. When guys start taking creatine, they are likely to also start working out more. And when guys start working out more, they begin to produce more testosterone. Testosterone, as we’ve seen, is what causes roid rage.
Now, the change is likely to be very minute, which is why most people won’t notice a big difference. But if you’re very susceptible to these changes, then that is probably what’s making you grump!