November 21, 2014
Is Creatine Bad for You? What About Side Effects?
Creatine is a chemical found in the muscles of the body that provides energy to function properly. Adding more creatine to your body through a creatine supplement is a very popular way to see even more of the benefits of creatine.
If you are an athlete who participates in sports that require short bursts of energy like sprinting, football, or baseball, you may benefit from adding creatine to your diet. It may increase your overall muscular energy levels and allow you to train more so your athletic abilities are enhanced. For endurance athletes, however, creatine is not likely to be very effective, since it only provides the muscles with short energy bursts.
Even though many athletes are using creatine, it has gotten a bit of a bad reputation over the years for its possible side effects. Creatine is the most studied sports nutrition food, however, so there is a lot of information available about the safety and side effects of creatine.
Reported Side Effects
Is creatine bad for you? This is an important question to ask yourself before you commit to using it. Some creatine users report experiencing stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, or muscle cramping after using creatine supplements. However, there have been no studies that have verified any of these side effects. It is likely that the users who experienced these problems after taking creatine were actually experiencing the side effects of other supplements.
Creatine and Your Kidneys
Another common concern that athletes have about creatine is its effect on the kidneys. Those with healthy kidneys have no reason to worry about taking creatine because the kidneys will be able to aid in the use and digestion of creatine. On the other hand, you should definitely not take creatine if you have an existing kidney problem. This is because creatine creates a substance called creatinine, which is impossible for unhealthy kidneys to process. Speak with your doctor to make sure that your kidneys are healthy enough to digest creatine.
You should be aware that creatine will always cause weight gain. During the first week of use alone, you will gain 2-4lbs from retained water. If you use creatine without working out, you will continue to gain water weight because it pulls water into your cells to stimulate further protein synthesis.
After your first week, you will continue to gain weight from increased muscle mass because the creatine will allow you to lift heavier weights for longer during your workouts. If you do not workout while taking creatine, however, you will only continue to gain water weight.
Effectiveness of Creatine
Unfortunately, creatine doesn’t work for everyone. Based on your genes, you may not see any results from taking creatine. Some individuals just do not respond to creatine. Fortunately, you will know within the first week of use whether or not your body reacts to creatine.
From what we can see of creatine, we think that it is completely safe for most users. For those with kidney problems, stay away from creatine. However, if you are healthy, active, and spend a lot of time in the gym, you can feel comfortable using creatine to help increase athletic performance.