In 2004, Santos and colleagues studied the effects of creatine supplementation on muscle cell damage in experienced endurance athletes running a 30-kilometre race. Although debate about long-term creatine use tends to focus on safety, the purity of the product you use is just as important. Caffeine impairs your body’s ability to use creatine, and it also increases your risk of dehydration. Most of the supposed dangers of creatine are unfounded. It will take seven to 28 days to see energy effects depending on how much creatine you already have in your body. Avoid drinking caffeine (coffee, tea, soda) or taking herbal stimulants such as ephedra or Ma Huang while you are taking creatine. Therefore it is not possible to say with absolute authority that there are no potential creatine dangers. Schroeder, C., Potteiger, J., Randall, J., Jacobsen, D., Magee, L., Benedict, S., & Hulver, M. (2001). Weight loss drug DNP linked to deaths. Gastrointestinal complications have been commonly reported among users of … Taken appropriately and consistently, creatine can be one of the most effective supplements for increasing lean body mass and improving body composition, strength, and high-intensity performance. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional prior to beginning any diet or exercise program or taking any dietary supplement. Over the last couple of decades, creatine has become a supplement staple for guys looking to build strength and lean muscle mass. Cycling for this reason is a reasonable thing to do. Stockler, S., Hanefeld, F., & Frahm, J. Gastrointestinal pain 6. Supplementation with creatine serves to increase creatine stores and PCr availability in the body, resulting in faster ATP formation. © 2020 Bodybuilding.com. Users have also reported increased anxiety, acne, male breast formation (Gynecomastia), and a reduction in penis size and hair loss. Fact: While there may be a transient increase in pressure following high doses of creatine, supplementation at recommended doses does not induce compartment syndrome. Studies have not shown creatine to be toxic to the kidneys. The suggestion that creatine supplementation induces rhabdomyolysis has no backing in scientific literature. One of the dangers of creatine could arise in the form of muscle pulls. In this way, by allowing the body to resume production by stopping use every couple of months, it is hoped to avoid this and similar potential creatine side effects. The lowest sodium content was 20ppm and the highest was 500ppm. However, this "false positive" is in no way harmful to your body. Kreider, R. B., Melton, C., Rasmussen, C. J., Greenwood, M., Lancaster, S., Cantler, E. C., ... & Almada, A. L. (2003). 1 glass of warm water. 2004;152(3):275. Although there have been media reports of creatine supplementation inducing compartment syndrome in collegiate football players, they don't hold up to scrutiny. High doses of creatine, more than 10 g per day, can cause rapid muscle breakdown. All of this combined has led to great confusion over the safety of creatine usage. On the contrary, creatine supplementation has been proposed to increase total body water, helping to maintain hydration status. The increased levels of creatinine in those supplementing will correlate with their increased muscle creatine levels.Studies have not shown creatine to be toxic to the kidneys. Creatine studies have shown that the body has no problem starting production up again after short stints of usage. However, the participant had been an avid bodybuilder for five years previous, and had been supplementing 25 grams a day—5 times the recommended dose—for a year. Use of creatine … Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. How will we ever grow? So theoretically, the risk of compartment syndrome may be increased while supplementing with creatine because of fluid retention in the muscle cell and increased overall size of the muscle tissue. If there is even a hint that it could possibly be involved in the death or medical ailment of an athlete, they jump all over the story. Kern, M., Podewils, L., Vukovich, M., & Buono, M. (2001). Dizziness 5. Effects of oral creatine supplementation on muscular strength and body composition, Dietary creatine monohydrate supplementation increases satellite cell mitotic activity during compensatory hypertrophy, Creatine replacement therapy in guanidineoacetate methyltransferase deficiency, a novel inborn error of metabolism, Creatine supplementation with specific view to exercise/sports performance: an update, Effects of creatine supplementation on repetitive sprint performance and body composition in competitive swimmers, 12 weeks of creatine supplementation has no effect on blood lipid profiles. The creatine I use and recommend on this site is Optimum Nutrition’s Creatine Powder. Creatine (sometimes referred to as creatine monohydrate) has been called a “phenomenon” in the bodybuilding community and is among the best-selling supplements to gain muscle.To date, well over 500 research studies have evaluated the effects of its supplementation on muscle growth, metabolism, exercise capacity and many other markers of health. If having medical tests performed along these lines, it is a good idea to inform your doctors if you are using creatine. Compartment syndrome is a condition referring to excessive pressure in the muscle compartment. People with kidney and liver conditions should evaluate creatine risks at a different level. Suppression of the Body’s Ability to Synthesize Creatine – The fear here is that the body will lose its ability to synthesize creatine after relying on supplementation for prolonged periods. Indeed, creatine kinase levels are elevated following supplementation, but these levels are nowhere close to the levels associated with rhabdomyolysis. Creatine supplementation can lead to 2-4lbs of weight gain in a week – your muscles retain water in order to heighten protein synthesis (the building of muscles). One product being sold illegally but still available online, mainly from suppliers based outside the UK, is 2,4-Dinitrophenol (DNP). Creatine is a relatively new phenomenon and, as such, long-term studies have not yet been completed. Understanding the supplement and its true abilities can alleviate concerns and increase results. Creatine is a natural nutrient found in our bodies. Moreover, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that chronic supplementation with the recommended creatine dose is detrimental to kidney function.[3]. It is not a cause. As with all dietary supplements, buy at a reasonable price from a trusted manufacturer. Learn how creatine works within the body to help the trainer gain weight and build muscle – What it can do for you and what it can’t. Taking the stimulants caffeine and ephedra with creatine can increase the risk of side effects. In an attempt to reduce the level of GI distress, micronized forms of creatine, which have been ground into smaller form, have become readily available. Learn how supplementing with this anti-catabolic amino acid may help you preserve and build muscle. Creatinine is the broken waste molecules of creatine, which is generated during metabolism of muscles. [7,8], To date, studies have not found significant changes in renal, hepatic, cardiac, or muscle function with creatine supplementation.[9]. Extensive research has been conducted and found supplementation to have no serious side effects. Sauret, J. M., Marinides, G., & Wang, G. K. (2002). Dosages are assigned differently for different purposes. Fact: All available evidence suggests creatine is safe to use, although it may cause some minor GI distress. Among serious side effects creatine causes kidney and gastrointestinal disorders. The premise of micronization is particle-size reduction to increase solubility of the substance, potentially reducing GI distress. 2006;22(3):332-3. While it can be used as an indicator, it is often misinterpreted as a cause. Dalbo, V. J., Roberts, M., Kerksick, C., & Stout, J. If anything, creatine has been shown to have a beneficial effect on hydration by increasing water retention, lowering body temperature, and reducing exercising heart rate.[25]. According to reports, the athletes in this case were in a training camp where they performed exhaustive bouts of repetitive exercise in a hot and humid wrestling room. You can do a lot to limit this risk by, again, drinking sufficient water. Creatine products such as creatine monohydrate can and do vary in purity, with significant differences in the amounts of potentially toxic impurities present. But let's be real for a second. Greenwood M, Kreider RB, Melton C, et al. … At the levels found in these creatine products, the amount of sodium added to the diet is very small and should pose no creatine dangers, even to the most sodium phobic person. For sure there are concerns regarding use. [9] Bottom line: Creatine does not cause damage to the liver, kidneys, or any other organ for that matter. [12,13,14,15] Researchers out of San Diego State University reported that creatine supplementation was able to blunt the rise in core temperature during 60 minutes of exercise in the heat. Schilling, B., Stone, M., Utter, A., Kearney, J., Johnson, M., Coglianese, R., ... & Stone, M. (2001). It's difficult to conclude whether the problem resulted from chronic supplementation with a high dose, or if the participant was training incorrectly, or if he was using any other supplements not reported in the study. Most of the needs of creatine of the human body can be fulfilled through a balanced diet. Buford, T. W., Kreider, R. B., Stout, J. R., Greenwood, M., Campbell, B., Spano, M., ... & Antonio, J. Nausea 3. The effects of pre versus post workout supplementation of creatine monohydrate on body composition and strength. There are few reports that creatine supplementation has protective effects in heart, muscle and neurological diseases. Kidney and Liver Damage – This remains one of the legitimate potential creatine dangers although its risks are often misinterpreted and overstated. The 7 Most Worrisome Side Effects Associated With Creatine. While anecdotal reports are not a reliable indication of anything, there is a plausible reason that the research would show creatine supplementation to be safer than it has actually become in practice. It may also allow for a quicker mix and faster absorption.[10]. Be the first to receive exciting news, features, and special offers from Bodybuilding.com! (2008). This also calls into need the importance of drinking lots of water to help the body eliminate the extra creatinine. Do Not Copy. Rhabdomyolysis refers to a severe breakdown of skeletal muscle due to injury that typically presents with elevated creatine kinase levels and anterior compartment syndrome. Even if you're relatively new to the world of bodybuilding, you've probably heard of it. Mendel RW, Blegen M, Cheatham C, Antonio J, Ziegenfuss T. Bemben MG, Bemben DA, Loftiss DD, Knehans AW. (1997). The muscle breakdown releases chemicals and proteins that can overload and damage your kidneys. Does it cause weight gain? Ut oh. Gastrointestinal disturbances and muscle cramps have been reported occasionally in healthy individuals, but the effects are anecdotal. It is a hot topic because it is a rare example of a supplement that actually lives up to much of its hype: It works. Toxicol Lett. Lugaresi R, Leme M, de Salles Painelli VT, et al. This goes a ways to explain not only the media’s approach to creatine but that of the conservative medical establishment. Kidney stones are a potential risk and often anecdotally reported. You Will Need. There is no truth to the occasional rogue media stories claiming that creatine causes kidney stones or liver failure. Fact: There is no direct evidence that creatine supplementation promotes rhabdomyolysis. A systematic review with meta-analyses, The effects of creatine loading on thermoregulation and intermittent sprint exercise performance in a hot humid environment, Effects of creatine on thermoregulatory responses while exercising in the heat, Creatine supplementation during resistance training in college football athletes, Physiological response to exercise in the heat following creatine supplementation, Physiological responses to short-term exercise in the heat after creatine loading, Creatine supplementation during college football training does not increase the incidence of cramping or injury, Acute quadriceps compartment syndrome and rhabdomyolysis in a weight lifter using high-dose creatine supplementation, The effects of creatine dietary supplementation on anterior compartment pressure in the lower leg during rest and following exercise, Creatine supplementation and anterior compartment pressure during exercise in the heat in dehydrated men, When exercise goes awry: exertional rhabdomyolysis, Exertional rhabdomyolysis and acute renal failure in marathon runners. "Other major effects of steroid use include increase in blood pressure, direct kidney and heart damage, liver damage, acne and sexual promiscuity," he says. Combining this product with these substances may increase your risk of having a stroke or other serious medical problems. Creatine’s direct role in ATP production means it … Improves high-intensity exercise performance. [16], Moreover, several studies have found that creatine supplementation can provide performance enhancements in hot and humid environments, and that supplementation has no effect on muscle cramping.[17,18]. Ultimately, that is an individual decision. (For a discussion on cycling, see the How to Take Creatine Page.) Creatine is one of the most popular supplements on the market. 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. The benefits afforded to older adults through creatine ingestion are substantial, can improve quality of life, and ultimately may reduce the disease burden associated with sarcopenia and cognitive dysfunction. This myth became a media favorite shortly after an article published in the New York Times claimed creatine supplementation was possibly linked to rhabdomyolysis in high school football players. There is an increased risk of dehydration when creatine is taken with diuretics. Cooper, R., Naclerio, F., Allgrove, J., & Jimenez, A. Compartment syndrome is more likely the direct result of injury or trauma—or potentially later on as a result of treatment to an injury—that leads to inadequate blood flow to tissue. My opinion is that creatine is safe and can be a valuable addition to an otherwise strong training program. Fact: There have been numerous studies conducted on creatine supplementation, all of which have concluded long-term creatine use does not appear to have any negative side effects on the liver or kidneys. So theoretically, the risk of compartment syndrome may be increased while supplementing with creatine because of fluid retention in the muscle cell and increased overall size of the muscle tissue. Ingesting creatine immediately following each set of resistance training may therefore increase creatine uptake into skeletal muscle, which over time could lead to greater gains in muscle mass and performance compared to placebo. There is a common claim that all the weight gained with creatine supplementation is due to water weight. One of the most common concerns about creatine supplementation is that it can cause dehydration or cramping, particularly in hot and humid environments. All Images, Illustrations and Text Copyrighted.Any and all reproduction without EXPLICIT permission strictly prohibited. The reason for this is that intake of creatine draws water into the muscles and that reflects as an increase in weight. The effects of creatine supplementation on cardiovascular, metabolic, and thermoregulatory responses during exercise in the heat in endurance-trained humans. The only problem with this is that our body cannot use ADP for energy. Creatine is a hot topic these days. Therefore, this is the first systematic review and meta-analysis study that aimed to investigate creatine supplements and their possible renal function side effects. People supplementing with may show increased levels of creatinine (the waste product of creatine metabolism) in urine concentrations. Water intake has to be increased to … Creatine supplements are intended to improve performance, but there are indications that it can overwhelm liver and kidney functions, reduce the quality of life, and increase mortality. (1996). The safety of creatine supplements has not been confirmed during pregnancy or breastfeeding, so women are advised to avoid it at this time. If the level of creatinine increases, it can lead to kidney diseases. [26,27] This is likely due to a higher concentration of PCr and ATP stores, allowing for higher training intensities and volume.[1,28]. One of the reported side effects of creatine is weight gain. In order for a muscle to contract, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) must break off a phosphate group, leaving behind ADP (adenosine diphosphate). Side effects and dangers of creatine supplements can include: weight gain; muscle strains and pulls; muscle cramps; upset stomach; diarrhea; high blood pressure; dizziness; liver dysfunction; kidney damage. Dangers of Creatine. Creatine also increases the risk of kidney damage when taken with cimetidine. Muscle cramping 2. Creatine isn't recommended for people with kidney or liver disease, or diabetes. The solution? Dehydration can cause many problems ranging from crystals forming in the liver to headaches and inability to concentrate. Avoid becoming overheated or dehydrated during exercise and in hot weather. Creatine is one of the most highly researched supplements available. Perhaps the confusion comes from elevated levels of creatinine (a marker used to diagnose kidney problems), which occurs following supplementation with creatine. Creatine is a relatively safe supplement with few side effects reported. Call your doctor or get medical help if you have any side effects that bother you or do not go away. High creatinine concentration levels in urine are often used as an indicator of kidney problems. Nutrition. 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