Despite being a well-known nutritional supplement, creatine is still surrounded by many myths related to its consumption. The fact that its sale prohibited by ANVISA for a certain time, a fact without any scientific justification, certainly contributed to the fact that this supplement was somewhat stigmatized.Currently, although there is no restriction on its consumption, a myth related to this nutrient still persists. The fear of water retention caused by creatine supplementation is very common. This fear makes it possible to sell products that have their price increased with the argument that “this creatine does not cause water retention”. This characterizes a way to deceive the consumer. The fact is that if creatine does not promote a certain water retention it will have no effect! To clarify this issue and remove the fear of water retention it is necessary to explain how creatine acts. The creatine molecule is stored inside the muscle cells and linked to the phosphate radical is in the form of energy storage for strength and power exercises. When you perform a more intense exercise program, such as weight exercises, a greater demand for creatine is created.
Supplementation will then meet this increased demand and promote greater creatine accumulation within the cells.
By increasing the concentration of creatine in muscle cells, an osmotic gradient (concentration difference) is created that causes water to enter the muscle cells. This is called water retention, which actually occurs. When this happens, it is a sign that the amount of creatine in the cells has already increased, and therefore there is more energy stored. If there is no water retention it is because no creatine has accumulated and no effect will occur.
The process does not end there. From the inflow of water into the cells, the cell compartment expands and on subsequent days this mechanism stimulates the synthesis of proteins, and consequently increases muscle mass. This is the effect of creatine. Therefore, water retention is not a problem when using creatine. It needs to occur and absolutely does not mean that the result is just water retention.