Although much has been said about creatine side effects, there are no studies that clearly demonstrate most of them. In this article I want to discuss the most common side effects that have been attributed to creatine that have some truth in it, and then I will tell you about the benefits of creatine supplements as well, and why so many people take it.
Differently from whey protein and weight gainers, which are largely used in the weight lifting world and not only, I found that very often people are not comfortable when it comes to take creatine, and usually the fears go from hydration and kidneys issues to suppression of the natural production in the body.
Let's take a look at each of them and find out what is true and what is a myth.
Suppression of the Natural Synthesis Being One of the Creatine Side Effects
It's been said that during the period of consumption of creatine supplements, its natural synthesis decreases.
In any case, its production would return to normal after the conclusion of the oral usage cycle.
Up to date there are no studies on humans or animals showing that the suppression of the natural synthesis could be long-term.
Could Lead to Kidney Disease
When you take creatine supplements there is no doubt that you have to drink plenty of water because of the water retention in the cells.
Now, in my case unfortunately I find it very hard to drink as much as required. Drinking even when not thirsty must become a habit, and even more if you take creatine.
If you don't drink enough I feel confident to agree that kidney disease can become one of the creatine side effects.
Cramps and Muscle Strains Due to Dehydration and Lowering of Potassium
A higher incidence of muscle cramps was pointed out in training at high temperatures. This is based on the fact that creatine would also cause water retention and/or electrolyte imbalance, which could cause cramps.
However, there is no study demonstrating the onset of cramps in relation to the intake of creatine supplements, even though the vast majority of studies were carried out with well-trained sportsmen and during periods of high intensity.
Creatine supplementation frequently causes weight gain. We should be careful in this regard, because the weight gain should not be confused with an increase in muscle mass.
The greatest concentration of creatine within the cells may cause an osmotic current of water to it, therefore it is possible that the weight gained is due to the retention of liquid and not to the increase of muscle mass.
Other Long Term Creatine Side Effects such as the Decrease in its Effectiveness
For the past 10 years a large number of athletes have been using creatine to improve their athletic performances.
Although long-term studies are needed (there are studies of up to two years old as today), there is no evidence that would provide the basis to believe that creatine supplements can cause disease in the long term if taken in recommended doses.
And at the same time there are currently no studies indicating that the effectiveness of creatine decreases after a long period of use.
Always remember this though, if you suffer from any illness it would be prudent to consult your doctor before starting to take creatine supplements because we actually have no reliable information about the side effects and you could risk to damage your health without even knowing it.
Are You Aware of Other Side Effects Related to Creatine?
Have you experienced or know someone that experienced side effects after long term creatine use?
Please share and let us know, your contribution is very important!
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