Creatine Side Effects: Pros and Cons
Creatine occurs naturally in the vertabrates and supplies energy to muscles and nerve cells. It was first discovered in 1832 as a component of skeletal muscle. Everyday our bodies synthesize creatine from three different amino acids - arginine, glycine, and methionine. Ninety-five percent of it is later stored in the skeletal muscles.
In 1992, creatine supplements were introduced as a performance enhancing supplement because of evidence showing that the skeletal muscles total creatine content increases with oral creatine supplementation. Although creatine has been known to enhance physical performance since the early 20th century it didn't gain public attention until after the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. Several medal winners, including two gold medalists were creatine users.
In 1993 a company called Experimental and Applied Sciences (EAS) introduced creatine to the sports nutrition market under the name Phosphagen. Research showed that consuming high glycemic carbohydrates with creatine increases creatine muscle stores and performance. Creatine is often taken by athletes who wish to gain muscle mass through body building. There are several different forms but the most common is creatine monohydrate which is a creatine complexed with a molecule of water. Creatine side effects are as follows: Continuous intake of excessively high dosages of creatine may lead to a number of side effects. When taken in the recommended doses, creatine is an effective performance enhancer and muscle builder.
Creatine Side Effects
A number of high quality studies have shown an increase in muscle mass with the use of creatine. Studies examining creatine's effect in aging suggest that creatine may increase bone mass when combined with resistance training.
There is scientific evidence that taking creatine supplements can marginally increase athletic performance in high-intensity anaerobic activities. It has been suggested that the increased performance is due to muscles not tiring as quickly. It has been studied in cyclists, females, high-intensity endurance athletes, rowers, runners, sprinters (general), swimmers, and the elderly.
Short term and long term use of creatine in healthy individuals is considered safe. There are possible side effects from using excessively high dosages of creatine. It has been hypothesized that consistently high dosages could lead to hypertension because of increased water retention. In all the studies that have been done nothing significant has been found beyond the occasional dehydration due to increased muscular water uptake from the rest of the body. Still it is unwise to take excessively high doses of almost anything because of potential serious side effects.
Patients with kidney disease should avoid use of this supplement. Similarly, caution is advised in those with underlying liver disease. Creatine can't be recommended during pregnancy or breastfeeding due to a lack of scientific information.
Creatine is a naturally occuring substance in the human body. Taking creatine supplements have been found to have performance enhancing effect. Taken in proper dosages creatine side effects are non existent and can be a valuable addition to any althletic training program.