No, Creatine Isn’t a Steroid: Here’s Why


With their similar results, many people wonder if creatine is just another form of steroids. Is creatine really a steroid?

The simple truth is that no, creatine is not a steroid. Their chemical makeup is completely different, and they’re not related at all. While the effects might seem similar at times, creatine is not a steroid.

While creatine definitely isn’t a steroid, there are a few more things you need to know about. Below, I’ll start with the basics.

Here’s Why Creatine Isn’t a Steroid

Man about to lift a barbell.

As I said before, creatine and steroids have completely different chemical structures. Creatine is an amino acid, commonly found in the human body. Steroids are synthetic versions of testosterone.

While testosterone is also found in the human body, anabolic steroids are completely different from creatine and have vastly more harmful side effects than their amino acid counterparts. Creatine and steroids both have similar effects, but the similarities only go so far. They both increase muscle mass, but the cause of this muscle mass is vastly different between the two.

Creatine works by giving more ATP, or energy, to your muscles, while steroids work by giving you more testosterone, the male sex hormone. Creatine is also fine for women to take, while women who take steroids are likely to develop male features. Steroids can also have horrible side effects, while creatine’s side effects are almost always pretty tame, except in a few rare cases.

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As I mentioned before, the chemical structures of creatine and steroids are completely different. In fact, they’re so different that they’re not even related, let alone close to being the same. This means that while they both help you build muscle, they’re far from being the same thing. It’s a common misconception, usually by parents or spouses that are worried when they see someone creatine, a muscle-building supplement.

If you have somebody in your life that thinks creatine is a steroid, show them this article. Creatine and steroids are completely different, and shouldn’t even be thought of in the same way. Once again, creatine is usually completely safe to take, with very limited side effects. It’s one of the most studied and reviewed supplements to exists, and you can take it with confidence that you’re safe from side effects in most cases.

Steroids, on the other hand, are dangerous for almost everyone that takes them and are also illegal to take. Once again, to round everything up, creatine is not a steroid, and they’re very far from even being related to one another.

How Creatine Works in Your Body

The chemical structure of creatine monohydrate.

If you can think back to high school chemistry, you might remember that your body uses a chemical called ATP as energy. When your body is done with this ATP, it becomes ADP, which is basically useless until it becomes ATP once again.

Creatine is made up of amino acids, which are very different from steroids. Your body takes these amino acids from the creatine and converts the ADP back to ATP, which your body then uses as energy. In turn, this makes it easier for you to build muscle because your muscle cells have extra energy.

This is where the biggest difference between creatine and steroids comes into play. Steroids are made up of testosterone, or hormones. Creatine is made up of amino acids, which are very different from each other. In fact, creatine and steroids aren’t even related to each other.

While at times, the effects of creatine may make it seem like it’s the same as steroids, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The effects of increased strength and muscle growth may be similar, but the reasons behind these effects are completely different. Once again, creatine is not a steroid.

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Is Creatine Safer Than Steroids?

The simple answer is yes, creatine is safer than steroids. Steroids and any synthetic hormone can have very harmful side effects, especially if they’re not taken properly. Along with this, steroids are illegal, so there’s no way to guarantee that you’re getting a real, safe product.

Creatine is just amino acids, which are very different from synthetic testosterone, or steroids. Amino acids aren’t always good for you, but they’re rarely if ever as bad for you as steroids are. Once again, just because some of the benefits of creatine and steroids may be similar, doesn’t mean that any of the harmful side effects are.

While creatine is generally safe, you can’t always be 100% sure. If you get pure, untampered with creatine monohydrate, your risk of a harmful side effect are next to none. Unfortunately, it’s hard to know for sure that you are getting a completely clean supplement.

In short, creatine is 100% safer than steroids, but it’s not always completely safe. Watch out for impurities in your supplements, and make sure that you’re getting a safe and reliable product before you consume it.

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Are Steroids Ever Safe to Take?

Man injecting steroids into his arm.

No, steroids are not safe to take recreationally. Because they’re illegal, as with any other drug, there’s no way to know that you’re actually getting steroids, and that there’s nothing wrong with the chemicals you’re putting in your body.

Even if you could get a safe product, steroids still come with many harmful side effects. These include lower fertility, cardiovascular problems like heart attacks, and problems regulating your emotions.

On top of this, once you stop taking steroids, your body might not be able to naturally produce testosterone, which is a huge problem especially if you’re a man.

All this being said, steroids do have their place. Steroids are oftentimes prescribed by doctors to fix various conditions and can be very helpful in these cases. In short, while steroids have their place in the medical world, they’re never safe to take recreationally.

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Potential Side Effects of Taking Creatine

According to WebMD, taking normal doses of creatine is “likely safe”. This means that for most people, creatine is usually perfectly fine to take. This being said, there are a few side effects that you might want to be aware of.

The biggest side effects of creatine are stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, and muscle cramping. Not everybody experiences these things, but they’re relatively common. Though they might be common, they’re far less harmful than side effects from steroids.

Along with the side effects listed above, creatine can cause water weight gain, as it pulls water from the body into the muscle cells. This isn’t a big deal, but if you’re taking creatine, make sure that you drink a lot of water to avoid dehydration.

While creatine may have its side effects, they’re always going to be less extreme than the side effects of steroids. In the end, creatine may have less extreme results than steroids, but it’ll always be safer and better for you than steroids.

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Related Questions

Is Creatine Safe to Take? Creatine is the most studied supplement out there, and there are no commonly experienced harmful side effects. This being said, in rare cases, people can experience some side effects. If you’re worried or experience any side effects from taking creatine, see a doctor. You should also always talk to a doctor before you take any supplement.

How Do You Take Creatine? When you start taking creatine, you should do a loading phase, where you take about 20 grams per day, for a week. After this week, take about 5 grams per day. You don’t need to cycle creatine, so take 5 grams per day for as long as you want.

Is Creatine a Banned Substance? Unlike steroids, creatine is not banned at all. Steroids are illegal to take, and they’re also banned from every type of professional sport, including weightlifting and powerlifting. Creatine, however, is completely legal to take and isn’t banned by any professional league.

Pete Schenkel

My name is Pete Schenkel, and I've been into weightlifting since I was a teenager. Now, my main focus is growing Powerful Lifting and putting more information out there. In fact, I'm also currently working on becoming a certified personal trainer.

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