In the kingdom of workout supplements and powders, creatine has a rightful position of royalty. This nitrogenous organic acid plays a vital role in helping muscle grow and sustain. Users consistently report that it helps improve their performance. More than most others ingredients, creatine can enhance your workouts from a variety of perspectives. Lift more, last longer, recover faster. It’s all good. Or is it? It is a general rule in the world of health and wellness that no ingredient is without its downsides. This one is no exception. Let’s take a look at some of the creatine side effects that one might encounter when supplementing workouts. But first, a quick overview of what creatine is and why it helps.
Along with whey protein, creatine ranks as one of the top selling muscle supplements out there. It is a naturally occurring chemical substance in the body, present in muscles as well as the brain. You can get it through dietary means, with sources including red meat and seafood. It can also be created synthetically in a lab. Science supports the ability of this ingredient to help boost athletic performance. Muscle strength is one of its specialities. This is why creatine supplements are so popular among body builders and fitness enthusiasts. It can be particularly helpful for aging individuals who are losing some of their strength and endurance due to natural processes.
But are the creatine side effects worrisome enough to cause concern?
Creatine Side Effects
There are a number of known creatine side effects. The majority of them tie to overuse. In general people tend to avoid adverse reactions if they take the advisable dosage. However, even in moderation, the ingredient can cause issues. Like most must muscle supplements, creatine has the possibility of causing digestive and stomach issues. These include cramps, diarrhea and nausea. There is some belief that the supplement could lead to an irregular heartbeat although we couldn’t find specific examples of this occurring.
One fairly common issue associated with creatine use is weight gain. For those who are trying to add muscle and cut down fat, this can be a problematic outcome. This owes to the fact that creatine causes muscles to hold more water. As such, there isn’t a real connection to fat gain. Still, if you see the number on scale rise, it shouldn’t come as a huge shock.
Among the more troubling potential creatine side effects are those relating to kidney function. There has been some evidence suggesting that long-term creatine intake can lead to kidney problems. Again, this typically does not occur with moderate usage under the standard guidelines. As with any supplement or ingredient, it really is important follow instructions and stick to the plan. However, if you have existing kidney conditions or issues, it is wise to at least consult a physician before starting to use creatine to supplement your workouts.
At the end of the day, creatine is largely a safe ingredient and users don’t need to worry too much if using it properly.