Creatine is naturally produced in the human body, particularly in liver, kidneys, and pancreas. This chemical substance can also be obtained from fish and meat products. Creatine is mostly found in the muscles, which is in the form known as phosphoCreatine . This substance is used as the immediate energy for muscle contraction. Aside from that, Creatine also helps in muscle growth.
Creatine is widely used for the improvement of muscle performance and increasing the muscle mass, especially for athletes. As a matter of fact, it is popularly acknowledged both by amateur and professional athletes such as Sammy Sosa, John Elway, and Mark McGuire.
The Creatine supplement is considered as anutraceutical product that does not only serve as a food supplement, but it also assists in the treatment and prevention of certain diseases. Aside from improving a person’s muscle performance, it can also bring some medical benefits to anyone who has been using it.
This chemical is also known by its other names like CréatineAnhydre, Creatine Citrate, Creatine Ethyl Ester, Créatine Ethyl Ester HCl, Creatine Malate, Creatine Monohydrate, Creatine Pyruvate, Kre-Alkalyn Pyruvate, Di-Creatine Malate, Glycine, PhosphoCreatine , TriCreatine HCA, and TriCreatine Malate.
What is Creatine used for?
According to Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, Creatine can be most effective to the following conditions,
- Improvement of athletic performance especially for healthy and young people- There are several factors that can affect the effectiveness of Creatine in athletes which includes the age, fitness level, type of sport or activity, and dosage level. Studies show that Creatine may not be effective for older people (60 years old and above) and highly trained athletes.
- Heart failure- An on-going research is on progress in order to see if Creatine can also improve weakened heart muscle.
- Parkinson’s disease- Creatine may interrupt in the worsening of the symptoms in early stage of Parkinson’s disease.
- Muscular dystrophy- It is characterized by muscle weakness which can get worse as time passes. It is an inherited disorder that can pass through generations.
- McArdle’s disease- It is a disease in the muscle. Creatine helps in improving the symptoms.
What are the common side effects of Creatine?
Since Creatine is a natural supplement, it is likely to be safe for most people when used at the right dosage. But for some cases, some people may also experience its side effects including,
- Stomach pain
- Muscle cramping
In people who take Creatine orally with high dosage, some adverse reactions may occur including,
- Kidney problems (decreased urine can be one of the earliest sign)
- Liver dysfunction
- Heart problems
- Allergic reaction (Its manifestations are difficulty of breathing, rash or hives, swelling of the face, tongue or lips, and closing of the airway.)
Moreover, there are some conditions that Creatine is strongly contraindicated including,
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Kidney disease (Creatine can worsen kidney diseases.)
When using Creatine, special precautions in using the herb ephedra (Ma Huang) and caffeine is needed since it can increase the chances of having harmful or serious side effects.
Also, be aware that Creatine can lead to dehydration especially if you are exercising under the heat of the sun. Make sure to drink lots of fluids to make up for the body water loss.
Creatine may also interact with other drugs that can worsen its side effects or worse, it can lead to damage to organs like kidneys.
Some of the drugs that could cause interactions with taking Creatine are:
E.g. Biguanides, Sulfonylureas, Ergot alkaloids, Thiazolidinediones, Alpha glucosidase inhibitors, and Meglitinides
E.g. Thiazides (hydrochlorthiazide), Loop diuretics (furosemide, bumetanide), Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors, K-sparring diuretics (spirinolactone, triamterene, amiloride), Osmotic diuretics (ureas, isosorbide), Methylxanthines (theophylline, caffeine, theobromine)
- Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
E.g. ibuprofen (Advil), etodolac (Lodine), diclofenac (Voltaren), naproxen (Aleve), oxaprozin (Daypro), sulindac (Clinoril), diflunisal (Dolobid), tolmetin (Tolectin), ketorolac (Toradol)
Brand names: Trimpex, Bactrim, Proloprim, Sulfatrim, Primsol
Brand name: Benemid
Brand names: Tagamet, and Tagamet HB
It is necessary to stop taking Creatine while taking the drugs that are listed above. Special monitoring and dosage adjustments may also be done if you plan to take Creatine with any of the drugs listed.
Before taking any prescription or over-the-counter drugs, make sure that you’ll inform your primary care provider about your Creatine supplement intake.
Creatine side effects on children?
It is noted during an investigation that Creatine can also be beneficial not only on children who are engaging in exercises but also on infants and children with medical problems like traumatic brain injury, muscular dystrophy, and cancer. There are no side effects that significantly harm the children during the investigation, but still, the side effects listed above can be experienced by them if Creatine is not taken properly.
Creatine side effects on men?
Muscle cramping is a common side effect for men, or athletes in general, who take the supplements. Aside from that, weight gain and stomach upset is also common. When not taken properly, some adverse reactions, which are listed above, may also occur.
Creatine side effects on women?
Women may also experience the same side effects as listed above. For female athletes, they can also commonly experience muscle strain or cramping, weight gain, and stomach upset.
Creatine side effects on pregnant women?
Although there were not enough studies that can serve as an evidence or proof that Creatine can lead to possible harmful effects on pregnant women, it is still best to stay safe by avoiding the use of Creatine supplements during pregnancy. There are no data available on the particular effects of Creatine on pregnant women since further investigation is still needed.
Creatine side effects on elderly?
Elderly people who continue to take Creatine can still experience the side effects listed above. But generally speaking, the beneficial effects of this on elderly people,is not clearly seen. Creatine on elderly is more likely to be ineffective.