Creatine is one of today’s most popular sports supplements and even if you are just starting a fitness routine chances are you have already heard of a dietary supplement called creatine from someone at the gym.
Creatine seems to be clouded with many rumors some of these rumors are indeed true but many are just locker room banter with no scientific basis supporting the claims. Having said that, just like any other supplement you should do some homework and get yourself familiar with what creatine is and the potential side effects that can occur.
What makes creatine appealing is its effectiveness. Almost everyone who takes creatine will gain extra strength, power and muscle growth and real independent research actually backs this up to! In fact, creatine is one of the most studied supplements and is widely taken by athletes such as footballers.
What Are The Creatine Side Effects?
To be honest, if you are not taking creatine because you are afraid of the potential risks and side effect, those risk and side effects have probably already been looked at and studied in a laboratory style setting. Let take a closer look at some of the potential side effect of creatine.
Potential Creatine Side Effects
Is creatine bad for you, quick answer is no. creatine will most likely not harm you if taken correctly and as directed. However, there are some commons side effects associated with taking creatine.
For example, creatine supplementation causes your muscle to retain water and in-turn your body’s demand for water increases. This can lead to dehydration, so it is important to keep your body well hydrated and this especially important for athletes using creatine who play or train in hot climates.
A lot of people hear that taking creatine can damage your kidneys. Yes it is true that taking creatine can put extra stress on your kidneys, but this hold true with many other supplements as well. If you keep yourself hydrated there should be no problems with your kidneys unless you have some sort of underlining condition.
Some over side effect of creatine include muscle cramping, diarrhea, and water retention. In most case creatine will cause no side effects and is generally well tolerated by most.
Long-Term Side Effects of Creatine
At the time of writing there have been no long-term controlled studies looking at the safety of creatine. However, studies carried out by the University of Maryland Medical Center found no significant side effects of creatine when it was consumed for six months. Some researchers have concerns that taking creatine could potentially prevent your body from making its own creatine, but this hasn’t been proven or verified either way.
Possible Creatine Interactions
At the end of the day creatine is a supplement and as with all supplements people will react differently, there is no one rule for all. What might be perfectly fine for one personal might cause side effects for another.
When it comes to creatine even if you take this supplement as directed there is still a small chance that is could adversely interact with other medications. For example, taking creatine along with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain relief drugs such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen and/or NSAIDs could potentially increase the risk of liver or kidney damage.
Also to note, when you are taking any form of creatine supplement you should never take any type of diuretics at the same time. Because creatine by itself can cause dehydration taking diuretics can increase the risk of potential kidney damage.
Bottom Line – Is Creatine Safe To Take?
The quick answer is yes, creatine is not bad for you if taken correctly and as recommended. Current studies and research suggest that creatine is safe and doesn’t cause any damage to the liver, kidneys, and the heart or even to skeletal muscle. However, it is probably wise not to take any form of creatine if you have any type of kidney disease or kidney disorder.
To be honest, modern athletes treat creatine as any other vitamin. Creatine is safe, cost effective and for most people it works.
What Kind Of Creatine Should You Take?
Creatine comes in a few different forms such as powder and capsules being the most popular varieties. When it comes to choosing which creatine to take, powder is definitely the way to go. When choosing a creatinine powder 100% is the best option, many brands contain fillers such as electrolytes and other ingredients to try and bulk up their powder. However, tests indicate those ‘added’ ingredients do little to improve performance.
When taking a powdered creatine try and mix it with a fruit juice rather than just plain water. Fruit juice? Yes you got it! The sugars found in fruit juices will help to raise your insulin levels which in-turn will help to increase the creatine uptake into your muscles once consumed.
There is also liquid creatine and creatine ethyl ester (CEE) readily available, but this form tends to be unstable and in most cases will break down in your blood system before you can reap any benefits from the actual creatine. Don’t even waste your time with this form of creatine.
When choosing which creatine powder to buy try to spend as much as you can afford. At the end of the day this stuff is going inside your body so now isn’t a tine to get cheap.
You can easily tell if you creatine powder is of poor quality if you notice that it is hard to mix and dissolve or if there is any residue left in the bottom of the glass – you want the powder in your body not in left in the bottom of the glass! If your chosen creatine brand leaves residue in the glass after drinking it’s time to switch brands. Check out our favorite brand for creatine here.
In closing; as with any dietary supplements always consult with your health care provider before you start to take them and if you notice any strange side effect stop.