Creatine is a popular supplement among athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness-minded individuals. But are there any side effects associated with it?
Since the mid-1990s, creatine has become extremely popular among those looking to boost their strength and power. Creatine is a nitrogenous organic acid that occurs naturally in muscle cells, and this supplement helps to rapidly increase the energy produced within our cells. Many individuals have used creatine supplementation for enhancing athletic performance and boosting muscle mass after clinical trials demonstrated its effectiveness.
However, users should be aware of potential side effects before taking steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs. Here’s a look at the potential side effects of creatine, and what you should know about this dietary supplement before taking it.
Nausea and Upset Stomach
One of the common adverse effects of creatine supplementation is that it can cause mild nausea and upset stomach. The new creatine dosage may be causing this reaction in your body. To prevent these side effects, try spreading out your doses throughout the day and ensuring that you are staying adequately hydrated while taking creatine.
Another possible side effect is weight gain, as creatine can cause your body to retain more water than normal. This may result in rapid weight gain in a short period of time due to an increase in total body mass. If this occurs, cut back on your calorie intake to keep your weight in check or adjust your water intake accordingly.
Dehydration and Heart Stress
Apart from cramping, dehydration, and heart stress, excessive creatine use can also cause cramps. High muscle-cell concentrations of saturated creatine can draw water from your cells into your bloodstream drying them out, thus leading to cramping or contractions that you feel during exercise resulting in a decrease in performance capacity. This additional stress on your cardiovascular system caused by being highly dehydrated can lead to an increased risk of stroke, irregular heartbeat, or heart attack due to over-exertion relating to the lack of fluids available for circulation around your body.
Increased Risk of Kidney Damage
Long-term oral creatine supplementation may pose an increased risk of damage to normal kidney functions due to its ability to reduce blood flow in the kidneys which can lead to inflammation and damage over time. This risk tends to be higher for people who already suffer from untreated kidney disease or any pre-existing kidney problems. For this reason, it is important that creatine is taken only under the supervision of a doctor. Also, consult your doctor before engaging in any strenuous physical activity, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions.
Muscle Cramping and Strain
Taking high doses of creatine supplements can cause the body’s muscles to strain more easily during exercise. This results in both pain and soreness afterward. Furthermore, creatinine can raise lactic acid levels, which may further reduce exercise performance due to muscle cramps. For this reason, it’s important to pay attention to proper hydration and rest periods. Furthermore, also use creatine wisely when supplementing by tapering upwards from small amounts.
One other possible side effect of taking too much creatine is insomnia as it may increase agitation or anxiety levels. This happens when some people when take it too late into their bedtime routine. To avoid this problem altogether, try limiting each daily serving of creatine to shortly after waking up or early afternoon so that it will not interfere with restful sleep at night.
In conclusion, creatine supplementation has numerous benefits, taking high doses or consuming the wrong type can lead to harmful side effects. It’s important therefore that individuals weigh their personal needs appropriately before starting any forms of creatine.