Creatine Side Effects
Creatine has been a blockbuster sports nutrition production for years now. It is widely used by bodybuilders, athletes, and by nutrition enthusiasts alike. The primary reason for this is because of creatine’s ability to build muscle size and strength in a relatively short period of time. It has also been known to give people a lot more energy before and during workouts to help push through fatigue, or when a person is lacking motivation to perform a workout. However, with all these good things that creatine provides, there is also some side effects that you should be aware of before you start taking a creatine supplement.
Does Creatine Affect Your Kidneys and Liver?
One of those side effects is possible kidney and liver damage. This may seem ironic on its face because creatine itself is created in the kidneys and liver. That is where the creatine chemical has its first origins before it is dispersed throughout the body in the blood stream. However, when an individual takes creatine in excessively high levels, this can lead to overpowering their kidneys and liver, which can cause them to malfunction or shut down entirely. The reason is because both organs can only produce so much creatine, before it starts becoming a poison for the body.
Drink Plenty of Water With Creatine Supplements
Creatine can also cause dehydration. This can happen because what creatine does is help move nutrients and protein to the muscles for consumption so it can feed the muscle fibers. However, creatine also moves water from the body to the muscles as well. What can happen if you’re not careful is that too much water can move into the muscles that leave the rest of your body dehydrated. So when you are taking a creatine supplement, be sure that you are drinking plenty of water to keep your body hydrated.
Does Creatine Make You Gain Weight?
Another side effect of creatine that is related to this is weight gain. This happens because as creatine moves water into your muscles, that water actually doesn’t turn into muscle, but settles in the muscles as “dead weight”. This is one of the reasons that taking creatine can give you the appearance of “bigger muscles”. However, because it is not actually muscle, but rather water stored in your muscles, your body has the tendency to gain weight after you start taking a creatine supplement.
Creatine and Cardiac Issues
One of the more severe, but less common types of side effects from creatine is having an irregular heartbeat or stroke. There have been studies that have shown a connection between people who take large amounts of creatine and those with an irregular heartbeat. While on its surface an irregular heartbeat may be nothing to worry about, it also can be a precursor for cardiac issues down the road due to taking too much creatine.
Creatine and Caffeine
Since creatine is already a chemical that stimulates the body and gives you energy, it can also give you a tingling sensation by increasing blood flow in the body. However, these side effects can be amplified if you consume caffeine with creatine or any other type of energy drink. Combining these can result in overpowering your blood supply to your brain, which can cause you to have a stroke. This is why it is advised that you never take caffeine or energy drinks with a creatine supplement, and always consult with a physician first before you start taking creatine in large amounts.