Whenever you are considering taking a foreign substance into your body proper research should be performed. It doesn’t matter if it is an over the counter supplement, vitamin, or even a prescription. As professional sports associations always tell their athletes, “It’s your body, you should know what is going it in.”
Not to say the creatine is similar to a steroid or other harmful substance that people are warned about; but there concerns with almost any foreign substance and there are dangers of creatine.
Danger of Creatine
Here are the most common concerns as cited by medical professionals:
- Dehydration – The creatine in your muscles make those muscles absorb additional water. This helps create a fuller, larger look within the muscles as the cells swell larger. But that water needs to come from somewhere. That along with intense training sessions can mean your body quickly runs low on fluids. Typically the symptoms are mild such as thirst and fatigue but there are also the severe cases of dehydration (not from creatine alone) that can lead to a coma or death. Make sure fluids are increased during any loading phase as well as during regular cycles.
- Gastrointestinal – Some people have more sensitive stomachs. That means taking in certain substances, including foods, can cause irritation. This can lead to stomach pain and diarrhea. Creatine has been known to cause stress in people without sensitive stomachs and can also create a decrease in appetite, nausea, and vomiting. Often this is due to too large of a dose. One way to avoid this is by starting with a smaller loading phase and increasing doses in regular increments to pinpoint any issues you might have based on dose amount.
- Body Damage – In some cases people end up pushing too hard, too fast. With the gains they make in strength they can then lift more weight for longer periods. But while muscular strength has increased the body does not build up an overall tolerance as quickly which can lead to strains or sprains. Cramping can also occur but typically it is related to dehydration. Instead of going too fast, make regular increases of moderate size.
- Kidney Damage – There is concern with overuse of the kidneys due to an overly high dose of creatine over a regular period. Doctors have concluded that regular doses of 10 grams or more per day can lead to rapid breakdown in the muscles. While this is good for building and repair it is awful for the kidneys that are now expected to deal with far more chemicals and other materials traveling through them than they can easily handle. This overload can cause damage. Generally speaking people only take doses that high during a short loading phase and then reduce intake to half of that to ensure that the bodily systems can handle it.
As you can see there are some dangers of creatine. For all of them it is more a matter of monitoring intake properly as well as staying hydrated and being smart. While there are some dangers, overall they are rather minor for a person using common sense and a good diet and supplementation plan.