Is Creatine Harmful for You?

Even if you have just started working out, chances are you have already heard people talk about the wonders of creatine. This dietary supplement is supposed to help you maximize your gains. While there certainly are some benefits associated with the use of creatine, there are many misconceptions as well. Some of its claims are not backed by scientific research, which is why it is important to educate yourself about it and know if creatine is bad for you. Just like any other dietary supplements, it is better to talk to your healthcare provider before taking creatine to avoid any potential side effects.

Is Creatine Bad for You?

Experts believe that whether or not creatine works for you depends on many factors. This amino acid is present in meat and fish. Your liver, pancreas, and kidneys also make creatine, which is then converted into ATP to provide your body with additional energy to handle strenuous workout sessions. You usually do not need to worry about any side effects when you take creatine as directed or do not exceed recommended dosages.

Possible Side Effects If Not Taken Properly

When taken as directed, there is no need to worry about the side effects of creatine. Nevertheless, there are some possible side effects associated with the intake of creatine supplements.

It is important to point out that there is insufficient scientific data to identify long-term side effects of using creatine. There is information available about the short-term effects of creatine. Some of the most common side effects of creatine are diarrhea, upset stomach, weight gain, muscle cramps, and abdominal pain.

Is creatine bad for you? It could be if not taken properly. You should stop taking creatine and talk to your doctor if you experience some side effects like fast heartbeat, seizures, drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion. You should also seek medical attention if you are feeling dehydrated after taking creatine. Some people may develop an allergic reaction and experience symptoms like swelling, hives, and trouble breathing. See your doctor if you notice any signs of allergic reactions.

Talk to Your Doctor Before Taking

In high doses, creatine increases your risk of developing kidney related problems. Creatine can also interact with caffeine and certain drugs, which is why it is important to talk to your doctor before including creatine in your routine. You should also do the same if you want to take creatine and are already taking some supplements.

The FDA has not regulated and evaluated dietary supplements, which means that there is always a chance that creatine you take is contaminated with other harmful substances. It is therefore important to buy from a reliable source while checking third-party certifications from ConsumerLab, NSF, or USP.

Possible Interactions

Is creatine bad for you? No, it is not, so long as you take as directed by your healthcare provider. Still, there is a chance of experiencing some side effects, especially when you are already taking other medications or dietary supplements.

It is not a good idea to combine create with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Creatine can interact with these drugs and increase your risk of liver and kidney damage. You should never take creatine if you are already taking diuretics because creatine can increase your risk of dehydration and kidney damage. Be sure to tell your doctor about any prescription or OTC drug you may be taking before you start taking creatine.

How Is It Used?

You can buy creatine in supplement form. Dietary supplements contain synthetic version of creatine. It is available in powdered form that you need to take orally. You should go for 2-4g of creatine a day. You can simply take half a teaspoon of creatine with a glass of water. You can also have it mixed into a beverage for better taste.

It is worth mentioning that sometimes athletes and bodybuilders take larger doses of creatine for 2-5 days. They call it a "loading period" and do it to build up creatine in their system. Most athletes try this option before a competition for a performance boost. 

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