These improvements were still evident after four and eight weeks following the study. The amount of body weight you may gain depends upon your unique genetics and the amount of creatine that you're consuming through your regular diet in addition to supplementation. This is largely because creatine is an energy enhancer, and energy loss from dysfunction in the brain is a big factor in neurodegenerative diseases. This means that when creatine is sitting in your intestines, it will continue to draw water, but that water will accumulate in your intestines. Although weight gain is ideal in bodybuilding, athletes of other sports (such as martial arts) might not welcome this side effect. Also, muscle cramps are a common side effect of taking creatine, and muscle cramping often happens when your body is not absorbing enough water. It might help athletes who need short bursts of energy, like weightlifters and sprinters. And if you want to know even more about creatine, read The Truth about Creatine . A study reports the potential benefit of using creatine to protect patients’ brains against neurogenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. To be safe, he recommends using creatine only if you are healthy and have no kidney problems. and , Because creatine increases the intensity and duration of exercise that you can perform, your heart has to beat faster to keep up with your increase in activity and the amount of creatine that is being absorbed by your muscles. Creatine is also thought to help the brain endure trauma associated with the production of reactive oxygen species. One study that looked at advanced athletes found that supplementing with creatine added 5.7 lbs of muscle mass, allowing athletes to add 24 lbs to their bicep curl and 70 lbs to their leg press when doing just one rep. Also, a review of over 150 studies found an average increase of 2.2% in lean body mass and a 3.2% decrease in body fat in people supplementing with creatine. If you choose to take creatine, make sure to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, heat stroke, or an imbalance of electrolytes during your workouts. Claudia has a PhD in Physical Activity, Nutrition and Wellness and is a Registered Dietitian. Adverse creatine effects include kidney damage, dehydration and weight gain. Using creatine supplements can both increase the level of a glucose transport protein that is found in striated muscle and prevent reductions of this protein while muscles are repairing themselves following an injury. People take creatine to increase muscle mass and enhance athletic performance. If you’re into sports (especially weight lifting), then you’ve probably already heard about a supplement called creatine. Speaking of the prescribed daily dosage. What should I avoid while taking creatine? Experts believe creatine is safe for most people at recommended doses for short-term use. One study that looked at athletes over a period of four weeks found that people had an average of 17% improvement in cycling sprints, an 18-pound increase in one rep of bench presses, and a 20% greater work load when using a lower amount of weight when taking creatine supplements. Creatine has been shown to help resist the effects of fatigue from exercise or other athletic activities. He credits include Olive Oil Times, Live in the Now and Colgate. In a University of Sydney study, supplementing with creatine for six weeks has been shown to improve the research participants’ mental performance. Please do your own research before making any online purchase. Because of inconsistent findings, they concluded that its efficacy in sports performance is unknown. Has been linked to testicular cancer. Copyright © Without sufficient amounts of insulin to combat this buildup, diabetes may occur or worsen. Your brain cells use ATP energy to communicate with each other, and, without creatine, they are unable to perform this essential function. Creatine promotes weight gain by retaining water in the muscles. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Advanced Parkinson’s disease may involve dementia as well, presenting symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s. An average young male weighing 70 kilograms (kg) has a store, or pool, … The dangers of creatine include kidney damage, weight gain and dehydration. Read more: Side Effects of Kre-Alkyline Creatine. This means that if you use more of this supplement than needed, it will not lead to an increase in effects. But each is to a product that we've researched and highly recommend. Because creatine helps create the energy that your muscles need in order to work, when you take these supplements, the amount of creatine increases in your muscle cells, which draws water in with it. It could be if not taken properly. This influx of water in your intestines impacts your normal digestion process. Without signals from the circulating insulin in your blood, your cells won’t allow glucose to pass through them freely. Their damage to cell structures may possibly create a foundation for many neurodegenerative disorders. The levels of creatinine in your blood are the most commonly used indicator of your kidney health, so if the levels of creatinine are high, it means your kidneys are suffering. The U.S. National Library of Medicine warns that taking creatine with these drugs increases the likelihood of kidney damage. Parkinson’s, on the other hand, impacts movement control in the brain, leading to tremors and slowed movements. Creatine is not evaluated by the FDA for its safety, effectiveness, or purity. However, as with any dietary supplement, creatine has side effects. In a February 2018 review article published in Sports Health, researchers reviewed investigations of creatine for athletics. It may also worsen mania in people with bipolar disease. In fact, its popularity has made it the best-selling supplement in the bodybuilding world. Your creatine supplements should be purchased from a reputable source that you trust in order to minimize the risk of contamination. However, if you currently have kidney damage or issues, creatine may make these worse, so avoid creatine in this situation. Read more: The Only Muscle-Building Supplements Actually Worth Spending Money On. Helps maintain healthy levels of blood sugar. This increase in body water and bloating due to taking creatine is short-term and resolves itself in a few weeks. This concern is largely due to the fact that, when you take creatine, your muscles retain water. 2020 Protects the brain from neurogenerative diseases. Hopefully this information will help you make an informed decision on whether creatine is good or bad for you. Side bar: One simple health habit you can build is to drink this superfood green drink, which gives you a boost of energy and supplies your body with the nutrients it needs to get through the day. LIVESTRONG.com may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. Mary West is a health and nutrition writer, whose work has appeared in an array of online publications. In this study, 52 women between the ages of 19 and 65 who had been diagnosed with major depressive disorder were randomly assigned to take either creatine or a placebo in addition to the antidepressant Lexapro. Smaller daily doses of 4 to 5 grams are also likely safe when taken for up to 18 months. The human body can thus produce less than half the required amount, the other half must be taken from food. Lightheadedness is one side effect of creatine. That’s because your kidneys excrete creatinine, a breakdown product of creatine. No supplement has had quite as much hype as creatine, nor has any supplement had such extensive research performed on it. Creatine has been widely accepted as one of the most effective supplements to increase muscle mass, improve performance, and gain strength. In people with healthy kidneys, long-term creatine supplementation is safe, but there are no long-term creatine studies in people with kidney issues. 15. An irregular heartbeat when using creatine may result from dehydration and an electrolyte imbalance that can co-occur with creatine supplementation. However, it has been shown that the amount of creatine you need in order to get these mental benefits surpasses what you could possible get from your diet, meaning you would need to take a supplement. During the loading phase or the early part of their supplementation regimen, some creatine users have experienced bloating. Claudia is an expert at intuitive eating, nutrition science, and removing diets from your life.