Creatine Side Effects – Should You Worry About Taking Creatine?

Creatine is one of the most clinically studied sports supplements in the world. Many studies have been performed on humans to test creatine’s side effects. Dr. Paul Balsom of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, is one of the world’s leading experts on creatine. He states in a review article published in 1994 in Sports Medicine that “to the best of our knowledge, the only documented adverse effect that has been associated with creatine supplementation is an increase in body mass.”

I don’t know about you, but an ‘increase in lean body mass’ doesn’t sound like an adverse side effect. I am pretty sure getting bigger is why the majority of us are taking creatine.

How Long Can You Continuously Take Creatine?

I know people who take creatine year round and I know some people who cycle creatine every 6-8 weeks. Creatine isn’t toxic and it won’t screw up your bodily functions. The main fear with creatine is that it might cause kidney damage. The fear is theoretical, however. In fact, a few years ago researchers in Brazil reported that creatine supplements improved kidney function.

What are the side effects if you have been taking creatine for months or even years? No one can really say. The majority of studies that I read were typically short-term studies (1 – 2 months in duration). Therefore, if there are any consequences of long-term creatine us, experts don’t know what they are.

Can You Take Too Much Creatine?

If out of ignorance you neglect the manufacturers suggested use and you take too much creatine, it may cause an upset stomach, really bad gas, or worst case scenario you get both. Just be sure you are always close to a bathroom.

If you notice an upset stomach, simply reduce the amount you are taking and then slowly work your way up to higher levels. Some people have reported cramping while taking creatine. Preventing cramping is simple: Drink more water.

What Are The More Common Effects of Creatine?

Apart from increasing your body mass, creatine has many other effects on the body (most of them positive). Here are a few of those effects:

  • Increase in strength, power and energy
  • Fuller more ‘pumped’ muscles
  • Decrease in lactic acid buildup in muscles
  • Increased water retention
  • Gas and bloating
  • Decrease in muscle fatigue

Will you feel all of these creatine side effects? Probably not as the results tend to vary from user to user. If you follow the manufacturer’s suggested dosage and do your creatine loading correctly, you will reap the rewards that creatine will have on your physique, strength and endurance.

So, Should You Really Worry About Creatine?

Taking creatine has been shown in many clinical studies to be safe. If there was one aspect of creatine supplementation that shouldn’t be neglected it is the importance of getting enough water. A general rule of thumb is to drink 1.5 ounces per pound of lean body mass DAILY. Creatine will not give you the results you want if you don’t drink enough water.

As stated above stick to the manufacturer’s suggested dosage, especially if you are getting your creatine in a stimulant loaded pre-workout supplement. Creatine supplements come in many different forms. Capsules, raw powders, flavored pre-workout drinks and even chewable candies. Whatever form of creatine you prefer, we can help you find the best creatine supplement.


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