Creatine is one of the most researched and popular sports performance supplements available on the market.
However, some people still avoid creatine supplements fearing they may be bad for their health.
Many websites claim that creatine supplements can cause cramping, hair loss, weight gain, and issues with the liver, the kidneys, or digestion.
However, hundreds of medical and scientific studies refute these claims and support the safety profile and efficacy of creatine.
Let's look at the side effects and myths of creatine.
Is Creatine A Steroid?
Some people wrongly believe that creatine is a type of anabolic androgenic steroid and is not suitable for teenagers and women.
However, this is not true. In fact, creatine is considered to be extremely safe by the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
It hails creatine as one of the most beneficial sports supplements available with no adverse effects. Creatine is often used to treat health concerns such as diabetes, muscle loss, concussions, and neurological disorders.
Is Creatine Safe To Take Every Day?
Research has demonstrated that it is perfectly safe to consume creatine supplements on a daily basis, even over many years.
There is no evidence suggesting any side effects in people who consume high dosages of creatine supplements for up to 5 years.
In fact, research shows the positive health benefits of creatine supplements in athletes who consume creatine on a daily basis and for long periods of time.
How Does Creatine Work Biologically?
Creatine is available throughout our body with 95 percent of it stored in our muscles. It is naturally produced in the body from amino acids.
The stored creatine helps our muscles produce more energy during high intensity exercises.
However, the levels of naturally-producing creatine may not be sufficient to handle strenuous workout and this is where creatine supplements come into the picture.
Does Creatine Cause Weight Gain?
It has been thoroughly documented by research that the use of creatine supplements triggers a quick increase in body weight.
Studies have demonstrated that people who take creatine experience an increase in body weight but this is because of increased muscle growth and not because of increased body fat.
How Does Creatine Affect Your Liver And Kidneys?
Creatine can trigger a slight increase in the levels of creatinine in the blood. But it does not mean that creatine harms your kidneys or liver.
Till date, there hasn't been a single study that has offered any evidence of harm to liver and kidneys because of creatine supplementation.
Does Creatine Cause Dehydration Or Cramps?
Creatine alters the stored water content in our body and thus drives a flow of additional water into our muscle cells. There is no research till date that creatine causes dehydration.
In fact, a study found that those consuming creatine had fewer cases of muscle injuries, muscle cramps, or dehydration than those not consuming it.
Another study found no difference in electrolyte or hydration levels that play a big role in muscle cramps. All in all, creatine doesn't cause muscle cramps or dehydration. In fact, creatine protects against muscle cramps and dehydration.