Can creatine cause kidney problems? How safe is creatine? What does creatine do to your kidneys?
If you have these or similar question in your mind, this blog on whether creatine is safe for your kidneys will surely be of great interest to you.
Creatine, one of the most popular and researched sports nutrition supplements, may slightly increase creatinine (a breakdown product of creatine phosphate from muscle and protein metabolism, in your blood).
However, it doesn't mean in any way whatsoever that the use of creatine supplements is associated with liver or kidney damage.
Truth be told, there has not been a single scientific or medical study till day that has provided any evidence of harm to the liver or kidneys.
Scientific reviews on the safety profile of creatine supplementation have demonstrated that there are no adverse effects on kidney function in the short as well as the long run.
Most people can reap the innumerable benefits of creatine supplements with just 3-5 grams of creatine every day while people with high muscle mass and creatine non-responders can benefit from a daily dose of 10 grams of creatine.
In healthy people, dosages equal to or less than 5 grams a day are not associated with an increase in the levels of creatinine but higher dosages of creatine may lead to a false positive that there has been an increase in the levels of creatinine.
This might be misinterpreted by some as a possible sign of kidney damage. However, this is not the truth.
In fact, scientific studies have noted only a marginal increase in the levels of creatinine even with daily doses of 20 grams.
Studies have also shown that creatine supplementation is also a good choice for people whose kidneys don’t function optimally.
A study, which lasted for 4 years, concluded that there are no side effects associated with the use of creatine.
However, it is always better to seek medical advice before initiating the use of creatine supplements if you have an existing liver or kidney disease so that you always have the complete peace of mind.
Medical advice is also recommended if you at a risk for developing kidney dysfunction (e.g., people with high blood pressure, diabetes, non-Hispanic blacks, people over 60 years of age, or those with a family history of kidney diseases).
The use of creatine supplements should be done with caution and only after medical approval for people whose kidney disorders are being treated with diuretics that leads to water loss. This is because creatine can enhance water retention in the body.
You may consider evaluating your creatinine levels before you start using creatine supplements to get a baseline and keep a close check on your kidney function.
If you are already using creatine supplements and wants to get your creatinine levels tested, it is strongly advised that you cease the use of creatine supplements at least 3 weeks before testing to avoid a false positive.