Are you Aware of the Dangers of Creatine Supplementation?

November 12, 2012

Are you Aware of the Dangers of Creatine Supplementation?

If you are an athlete or bodybuilder, you are no new comer to creatine. Creatine has been used in sports and in particular the Olympic games for decades to supply athletes with energy. This sparked the interest of scientists so creatine was well studied to fully understand its metabolic pathways and overall function in the body. Supplementation with creatine is known to work well however, there seems to be contradictory information available that can cause confusion in whether you should take it or not. In fact, some information pointing to the dangers of creatine are overly unfounded.

Creatine is made in the body from 3 amino acids known as arginine, glycine and methionine. Creatine is one of 3 ways cells can regenerate ATP supplies. ATP is the energy currency of the cell and runs most metabolic reactions. Phosphate can attach to creatine and act as a donor of phosphates to ADP. When ADP gets a phosphate from creatine, ATP is regenerated.

Creatine is found in all cells of the body however, it is highly concentrated in skeletal muscle, kidney and liver. Creatine is primarily made in kidney and liver and then is shipped by way of the blood to skeletal muscle where it is used and is necessary for skeletal muscle contractions.

For individuals who exercise a lot, or may be bodybuilders or athletes of some type, it may be important for these people to supplement with creatine. At the moment this may not seem obvious to you however, shortly it will. Granted that we can make creatine from other amino acids, we actually get very little of it from our diets. Creatine is found in red meats such beef and oily fishes for the most part and very little is found in vegetables. But, here’s the problem. As a protein creatine is sensitive to heat, so when you cook fish and beef most of the creatine is denatured and no longer in useful form. So in order to get it from your diet, you would have to eat raw meat which most people are not going to do.

So, are there any real dangers of creatine supplementation? Yes and no however, there are two items you need to pay attention to but otherwise creatine is safe to take.

The first danger involves any medical conditions you might have that would produce adverse side effects when taking creatine. And, of course this is true of any supplement or prescription drug you might take. Even though creatine is natural and made in the body, you should consult with your healthcare provider before supplementing yourself and once on supplementation keep your doctor informed on any side effects you may be experiencing along the way.

The second possible danger is that creatine has been reported to cause dehydration however, these reports are anecdotal at best but still need to be considered. The scientific literature indicates that creatine does not cause dehydration or cramping for that matter. Headaches have also been reported by athletes. At any rate, athletes need to have a higher water consumption to begin with, so chances are they didn’t take in enough water whether they were supplementing with creatine or not. But, simply drink more water if you begin to feel dehydrated.

Bloating has been reported and apparently depends on which form of the supplement you take. The creatine supplement comes in two forms. One form is creatine monohydrate and the other is creatine ethyl ester. Creatine ethyl ester costs more but you may find it works better for you because it has a higher absorption rate which also means you take less of it. Creatine etheyl ester seems to eliminate a number fo the dangers of creatine.

Overly, there are no real dangers of creatine supplementation. At least not according to scientific studies. However, there is anecdotal reports by athletes that should not be ignored. The only concern is with any preexisting medical conditions that might bring on the dangers of creatine supplementation generating adverse side effects.

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