Creatine supplements are widely used by athletes since 1990s. However, excessive consumption of this substance can prove harmful to your body. Read this NutriNeat article to know its side effects.
The effect of intake of these high-energy products on an athlete’s performance has been well-documented. However, extensive research has yet to be carried out regarding the adverse effects they may have on a person, if consumed in large quantities.
What is Creatine?
Creatine is an organic acid produced in the liver and kidney, that supplies energy to the entire body of all vertebrates. Creatine supplements are thus such products that enhance the performance of an athlete by boosting his energy level. The supplements also help in gaining muscle mass, as it enhances protein synthesis.
Side Effects of Creatine Use
Using creatine for a very short period of time is said to be harmless. It is the abuse of this substance over a very long period of time which is dangerous. Listed below are the dangers of these supplements, if consumed for a long time.
- Weight Gain: Weight gain is as a result of high water levels in the muscles. It also leads to increase of lean muscle tissue, which may cause increase in weight.
- Kidney and Liver Damage: Sustained usage shows high concentration of ‘creatinine’, a creatine waste product, in the urine. High concentration of creatinine is an indicator of problems with the kidneys. The kidneys have to work overtime to remove excessive creatinine from the body. Hence, it is advised to increase your water consumption. The other problem is kidney stones. Prolonged usage can cause kidney stones. Increasing one’s water consumption can control the problem but not prevent it.
- Nausea, Diarrhea: The person feels nauseated or has diarrhea after its consumption as creatine does not get completely dissolved in the stomach.
- Muscle Cramps and Muscle Pulls: Cramps are caused due to lack of water or fluid in the body. This performance-enhancing supplement draws water to the muscles. Hence, the consumption of water or fluids should be increased to avoid muscle cramps. Muscle pulls have also been reported, probably due to its excess consumption.
- Dehydration: Lack of fluids in the body due less intake of water and/or fluids can cause dehydration, and consumption of creatine increases the chances of suffering from the same. Dehydration can also cause stones in the kidney. Bloating has also been experienced by some athletes.
- Lack of Creatine Production: The body is not able to synthesize creatine, after the sustained use of its supplements, which means that now you will have to substitute the inability of your body to create this acid, with external sources. If the supplements are used for a shorter period of time, the body gets back into its original routine and is able to undertake creatine synthesis.
- Other Side Effects: Fever, intolerance to heat, excessive thirst, mild headache, restlessness, and depression are also observed.
If you are an athlete and feel the need for a such supplement, I would recommend eating creatine-rich foods such as, tuna, beef, pork, salmon, herring, and cod. Therefore, knowing the harmful side effects of surplus consumption of this supplement, it is better to stick to natural creatine than its harmful supplements.
Disclaimer: This NutriNeat article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.