The latest theory about what prompted UCSB shooter Elliot Rodger to snap and murder people: his "addiction" to the weightlifting supplement creatine. This can be properly understood as "complete fiction." (Update: and as complete trolling.)

The Mirror UK interviewed Chris Akin , who had known Rodger for years, and reports that Akin "noticed a sinister change in him after he started to take creatine." Like what???

He claimed he saw the "anger and changes" in the student - the son of Hollywood director Peter Rodger - during their weekly chats on Skype...

"He would also tell me how he wanted to get into the bodybuilding lifestyle and started on creatine around four months ago. I could notice the anger and changes every time we spoke on Skype.

"I believe he took it everyday. He wouldn't answer my questions about his usage but as time went on you could totally tell the changes in his character.

If by "changes in his character" Akin means "a moderate increase in muscle mass due to the ability of creatine supplementation to provide increased energy to skeletal muscles during intense workouts," then yes, this is possible. If by "changes in his character" Akin means "creatine made him go crazy and shoot people," then no, this is not possible.

Creatine is not steroids. It is not a hormone. It does not cause "roid rage." It does not cause anything, really, except some water retention, and the ability to hit a couple more reps at the end of a really tough set, because your muscles use it for energy. It is not crystal meth. It does not hype you up. It does not make you feel anything. Creatine is probably the single most widely used weightlifting supplement, and it is well-studied and considered very safe: "Extensive research has shown that oral creatine supplementation at a rate of five to 20 grams per day appears to be very safe and largely devoid of adverse side-effects, while at the same time effectively improving the physiological response to resistance exercise, increasing the maximal force production of muscles in both men and women."

Literally any other drug of choice that Elliot Rodger could have chosen would be a more likely candidate for making him crazy, because creatine does not make you crazy. It does not make you anything, except more physiologically prepared to lift weights should you choose to do so. It is found naturally in food such as meat. One might as well compare Outback Steakhouse to a crackhouse as compare creatine to a crazymaking drug.

The most insane part of this story is that it's already spread all over the whole world! (Thanks to the fine journalistic efforts of News Corp papers.) And it is completely implausible. If Chris Akin is just a troll, he is a very successful one.

Update: It looks like "Chris Akin" is a troll. Here is a thread on the message board in which a user writes, "okay so im sitting here wackin it nd i get a message from some freelancer reporter bisch asking questions about elliot, as i have/had a few friends who were troll accounts that were pretending to be him. now, ill just let you read the messages." He then posts screenshots of Facebook messages sent to him by Mirror reporter Emma Foster, who was apparently emailing all of Rodger's Facebook friends. "Akin"'s replies—which are, as we noted, complete fiction—match the quotes in the Mirror story. Screenshots of the full conversation are posted here.

And that's how easy it is to make a complete lie into worldwide news.

[Pic via]