6 Side Effects of Creatine – Myths Debunked!

Author: Nicole Adler   Date Posted: 27 July 2016 

Creatine is a supplement that is widely used in the fitness world. Creatine gives you more energy during your workouts and can therefore provide you with better results. That being said, there are a lot of myths that surround this supplement, which leads to many people not using this fantastic supplement. Let us take a closer look at six common myths about creatine and judge for yourself!

Myth 1 – Creatine Can Cause Damage to My Kidneys and Liver

The first myth is easily debunked, considering the fact that numerous scientific studies have shown that the long-term use of the supplement has no negative effect on the liver or kidneys whatsoever.

So where did this myth come from? Most stories surrounding a new supplement start in the media. Medical professionals like to make statements when a new supplement comes out, even if they do not have any scientific evidence to support their claim at the time.

Fortunately, the world of science does like to prove its theories and has debunked the first myth surrounding the supplement quite quickly. The main concern of health professionals was the effect creatine supplements could have on the filtration of blood in the kidney. More than a hundred studies followed, all proving that the use of the supplement has no negative effect on the function of the kidneys or liver.

creatines side effects

Myth 2 – Creatine May Cause Digestive Problems

When you use creatine, it is important to realise that too much of the supplement, or taking the supplement on an empty stomach, may lead to stomach pains; this means that there is a little bit of truth in this myth. That being said, the myth is not totally true, so let us see why.

Athletes who use the supplement properly will not struggle with stomach pains or digestive problems. For that reason, it is advised to read up on the supplement before you take it. If you use it the right way, you can still enjoy the benefits without the side-effects. Doses are implemented for a reason, so athletes should stick to them to avoid problems.

We also need to mention that supplements have evolved as well.  The supplement in question also comes in micronized form nowadays, which increases its solubility in substances and reduces the chance of stomach pains and digestive problems.

Myth 3 – Creatine Can Cause Dehydration

The myth that the supplement may cause dehydration is another prime example of scientists making statements in the media without any data to go on. In fact, the statement could not be more wrong, given the fact that the supplement has shown to increase the total amount of body water. A study of the San Diego State University has even uncovered additional benefits of the supplement. During the study, scientists have proven that the supplement was able to keep the core temperature of test persons from rising during 60 minutes of exercise in hot weather. On top of that, the supplement has proven to have a positive & profound effect on temperature regulation during workouts. Dehydration? Far from it!

Myth 4 – The Use of Creatine Supplements May Lead to Compartment Syndrome

Compartment syndrome is a condition caused by pressure within a confined space in the body, for example the leg of the forearm. There has been a myth that the use of the supplement may lead to compartment syndrome, but when we look a little closer at some scientific studies, we can see that this is not the case.

The myth of the compartment syndrome actually started because of football players who used an excessive amount of the supplement. The recommended dose of the supplement is 5 grams a day, while the football players in question took an astonishing dose of 25 grams a day. The misuse and excessive use of creatine may cause compartment syndrome, but studies have shown that the recommended dose cannot cause compartment syndrome at all.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to taking the right dose. When you take certain medications or supplements, it is advised to take the recommended dose and not increase it to an unsafe level. Some professional athletes will start to increase their dose to get results faster, which leads to problems down the line. Conclusion? The supplement will not lead to compartment syndrome when the right dose is taken.

creatines side effects

Myth 5 – Creatine Can Lead to Rhabdomyolysis

Rhabdomyolysis is the breakdown of skeletal muscle. The breakdown is caused by a combination of creatine kinase and the compartment syndrome. Rhabdomyolysis tends to occur frequently in athletes who exercise excessively in hot, humid climates.

The myth of rhabdomyolysis can be compared to the myth we debunked earlier, more specifically the myth in regard to the compartment syndrome. Some high school football players claimed to suffer from the condition after taking the supplement, but scientific evidence has shown quite the contrary.

First of all, there is no evidence whatsoever that the use of the supplement leads to Rhabdomyolysis. Quite the contrary actually, because studies have shown that the use of the supplement can be beneficial when exercising in hot weather. The use of the supplement has a positive effect on your hydration levels and can regulate body temperature more efficiently.

A conclusion we can draw from this is that most myths surrounding the supplement stem from the misuse of the supplement. A lot of high school football players will ignore the recommended dose and experience problems because of it. In short, using the right dose of the supplement will not lead to Rhabdomyolysis.

Myth 6 – Creatine Will Lead to Massive Weight Gain

Contrary to what most people believe, this supplement cannot make you gain weight. Studies have shown that use of the supplement can promote hydration and this is where the myth comes from. The water that is being absorbed in the muscle because of the supplement is wrongfully seen as fat, but it actually keeps your body cool and hydrated during an intensive workout.

Conclusion? When starting to take the supplement, you may experience a slight increase of weight due to the water being absorbed in the muscle. However, it is important to realise that this is not fat and actually fuelling your muscles for better results!


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