Creatine supplement side effects are kidney damage, water bloat and inhibition of natural production of creatine in the body.
These are the popular warnings you probably heard of. Let’s examine the creatine side effect theory by understanding one simple fact that creatine draws water into the muscle.
Creatine supplement side effects:
- Dry mouth due to dehydration
- Dark Colored Urine due to dehydration
- Decreased appetite due to dehydration
- Headache due to dehydration
- muscle cramp due to dehydration
By examining the fact that creatine draws water into the muscle, supplementing creatine will increase water utilization exceeding water intake and may cause temporary dehydration the one and only possible creatine supplement side effect.
Dehydration can be avoided by solving the first symptom of dehydration “thirst”.
When the total fluid within the body is reduced by 2% the creatine side effects like dry mouth, dark color urination & mild headache can be felt. If the total fluid present in the body is reduced by 5% the headache can be severe and chances of muscle cramps are high.
Decreased appetite is another problem that is attributed to dehydration. Taking creatine supplements will increase appetite. If dry mouth is present due to lack of total body fluid you may not feel like eating.
The dehydration can be severe with additional reduction in total body fluid and creatine supplementation alone cannot be blamed if you aren’t drinking enough water.
Avoiding creatine supplement side effects:
- Drink enough water.
Debunking the other creatine supplement side effects theory
Creatine supplements inhibit natural creatine produced by the body once you stop taking it:
Creatine is produced in the body from two amino acids glycine and arginine. Once creatine supplementation is stopped your body will continue to produce creatine through glycine and arginine.
Creatine supplementation cause water retention:
Creatine doesn’t retain water subcutaneously. Creatine causes intercellular water retention and makes your muscle look huge. This is how creatine works in your body and it is not a negative side effect of creatine.
Creatine cause kidney damage:
Creatine doesn’t cause kidney damage however, creatinine levels may increase.
Normal serum creatinine level is 0.5 to 1.5mg/dl for men & 0.6 to 1.2mg/dl for women.
Creatinine is a discarded product of phosphocreatine during muscle contraction. The creatinine which is a waste product is removed from the body and excreted through urine by the kidneys.
If the kidneys fail to function properly the removal of creatinine in the urine will be less. The reduced filtration of creatinine will cause the remaining creatinine accumulate over time and the level of creatinine in the urine will be high proving kidney damage. This is how a creatinine clearance test will evaluate the clearance capacity of the kidneys.
Higher levels of creatinine will be present in people taking creatinine supplements, doing regular workouts and people with huge muscles. This high level of creatinine excreted through urine is not because of kidney damage. The higher the amount of creatine in the body the higher the conversion of creatinine. If your kidneys function normally the higher creatinine converted will be excreted through urine.