Due to its widespread use among athletes and sportspeople, you might be concerned about the safety of creatine. Learn about creatine’s safety and its side effects.
If you were to ask any athlete or sportsperson the performance supplement he identifies with, creatine would not miss on the list. This is because science has backings that point to creatine as being effective for performance. Yet, other people are increasingly becoming concerned about the safety of this performance supplement, even avoiding ittotally. Peer into this article to learn the basic facts you need to know about creatine, including its safety and side effects. After that, it’s up to you to choose whether to use the supplement or not for performance.
What is creatine?
Creatine is a molecule that’s found naturally in the body and can also be manufactured. When the liver and kidney process protein, creatine molecules are formed. These are then used to make adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy-giving molecule useful for every physical activity. As long as you take proteins, the body will have enough creatine. However, active people need more creatine for physical exercise and increased performance, hence the need for creatine supplementation. Still, creatine supplements must not be used as a replacement for protein. Even as you supplement with creatine pills, powder, or liquid, you still need to continue with your usual intake of proteins as the two have two different modes of operation.
Why do people take creatine supplements?
This is an important question whose answer you may want, especially because the body can produce its own creatine molecules. As mentioned previously, creatine refers to energy molecules. The supplements have a way of reaping more energy and availing it to the body than proteins. Once the supplements find their way into the body system, they fuel the muscles, yielding more energy for physical exercise. And with more energy, a person can work out more, resulting in the exercises being rewarding. That explains why people who work out in the gym take creatine supplements and experience better results.
Side effects associated with creatine supplementation
Despite the evident health benefits of supplementing with creatine, some sportspeople refuse to try this type of supplement, especially because of the purported health effects. Depending on the person you ask, you will receive various answers about the side effects linked to creatine use. Some of these effects include;
- Gaining weight; this happens due to an increase in weight water as early as the first week of creatine supplementation.
- Kidney damage; some people have complained of kidney problems.
- Liver damage; although research is needed for this, some active people on creatine supplementation have complained of liver damage.
- Muscle cramping; even with the great muscle buildup, some individuals have reported muscle cramping.
- Digestive issues; bloating, gassing, and irritable bowel syndrome (IRS) are some of the digestive issues linked to creatine supplementation.
- Dehydration; some individuals on creatine supplements have had issues with dehydration, especially after ending exercise sessions.
- Rhabdomyolysis and compartment syndrome are also related to creatine supplementation.
Besides the effects stated above, some people have linked creatine molecules to steroids, thereby claiming that they are inappropriate for teenagers. The same people, therefore, think that only professionals should supplement with creatine. Still, reputable bodies such as theInternational Society of Sports Nutrition highly regard creatine and place it at the top of the list of the best sports supplements. They say that creatine is safe and that its usage would not threaten a person’s life whatsoever. In fact, top researchers have taken creatine into deep research and deem it one of the safest performance supplements. Some medical advisors even recommend creatine to treat health issues such as concussions and type 2 diabetes. Both muscle loss and problems with neuro-muscles have also been solved using creatine supplements.
How do creatine supplements work?
As mentioned at the outset, the human body has creatine by default. As you eat foods rich in proteins such as meat and fish, you fill in the creatine stores in the body. Besides, the amino acids in the body form a good basis for creatine manufacture in the human body, and that creatine generates energy in the form of ATP. Still, that energy might not be enough to yield performance for sportspeople, and that’s where creatine supplementation features in to boost energy. Typically, the body reaps about 120mmol/kg from creatine in the muscle stores.
However, with creatine supplementation, the figure can be raised to 140mmol/kg-150mmol/kg. With such a boost in energy, a person can work longer, thereby yielding results faster.
Key concerns about creatine supplementation
This section looks at some of the critical concerns people have had about supplementing with creatine. These include;
Creatine interaction with other drugs
Just like you would be careful about taking other supplements with other medications, you definitely want to take precautions when using creatine supplements and other supplements. The supplements have been shown to interact with drugs such as ibrufen and gentamicin.
Creatine and muscle cramping and dehydration
Some individuals have reported cramps and dehydration after supplementing with creatine. Of course, creatine drives the cellular water to the muscles. However, this effect is minor and not efficient to cause dehydration. Still, more research is needed in this area.
Creatine and liver/kidney problems
Although some individuals on creatine supplements have had kidney and liver issues, there is no scientific backing that the supplements were responsible for these problems. And even though creatine supplementation may heighten creatine levels in the kidney and liver, this does not necessarily mean the damage of these organs.
Creatine and weight gain
The other concern with creatine supplementation has to do with weight gain. Of course, supplementing with creatine will increase your weight. As you take supplements, more water is pumped into the muscles, adding weight water and the overall weight. The muscles build up faster, something most active people look forward to. Hence, weight gain in creatine supplementation does not come with fat buildup but muscles buildup.
Creatine is one of the widely used performance supplements across the globe. The supplements generate energy for the cells, enabling a person to work out longer and yield more results. Still, some people are shy about trying these supplements because of the purported health benefits. This article looks through all you might want to know about creatine, and you will definitely find this helpful.