What are the Side Effects of Creatine Supplements?

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Creatine Explained

Creatine is an organic constituent in the human body produced from amino acids. It is mainly produced by the kidney and liver and is used by the skeletal muscle for energy. Creatine was first discovered as a key component of skeletal muscle in 1832 by French Chemist Michel Eugene Chevreul.

In the 1970s, it was found that oral creatine supplements have the capability to boost athletic performance during certain activities like sprints. Later in the 1990s, supplements became popular as a non-artificial way for improved athletic performance and muscle contraction. In other words, they fuel workouts and increase the performance of athletic activities. You can check out different creatine benefits to understand how oral creatine supplements work to enhance performance. These supplements are available in powder form or in the form of capsules and are purchased at online food stores. However, most people want to know the side effects of creatine.

According to published reports and surveys, almost 25 per cent pro baseball players and 50 per cent football players consume these supplements. Those who think creatine is banned from competitive sports are wrong, because it is generally considered as a natural nutritional practice, just like carbohydrate loading (carb loading) which is mainly employed to enhance performance. However, a player has to use caution regarding the long term creatine side effects.

What are the Key Side Effects of Creatine?

While consuming creatine supplements for a short term is generally considered safe, the long term effects are still unfounded. Some sportspersons have reported gastrointestinal problems and muscle cramps after long term creatine ingestion. Here are a few creatine side effects:

  • Muscle breakdowns or cramps, which results in muscle tear.

  • Increase in body mass and weight gain

  • Dehydration, seizures due to electrolyte imbalances caused by long term creatine consumption.

  • Pain in the lower leg due to reduced blood flow and inflammation (anterior compartment syndrome).

  • Blood clot in the legs, also called as deep vein thrombosis.

  • Other possible creatine side effects include anxiety, nervousness, depression, abnormality in heart beats, dizziness and sleepiness.

  • Studies have shown that the supplements are converted into a waste product (formaldehyde), after digestion. This can result in potential damage to blood vessels, cells and DNA molecules.

  • Consuming them with diuretics should be evaded as it may lead to electrolyte imbalances and dehydration.

  • If taken with vitamin supplements like A, E, and K, the supplements may reduce their effectiveness.

  • Weight lifters wonder what the side effects of creatine are, especially on their kidneys. Research suggests that individuals with kidney disease should not consume these supplements.