What are possible Negative Side Effects of Creatine?

MGS Banner

What are negative creatine side effects? Creatine has become a very popular supplement today. Although, creatine might not have the same effect on everybody, is has been proven that athletes of specific sports benefit from it. Before starting the first treatment, most people are worried about possible negative side effects of creatine. Below you'll find the most frequently asked questions and answers about creatine and its effects. The following stuff is no medical advice! It is just information we gathered ourselves or got from our own experiences. For any serious advice always ask a doctor!

What is Creatine?

Creatine is a non-artificial substance built by the body (liver) itself. It consists of three amino acids, including one essential amino acid (Methionine). Together with phosphate (creatine phosphate) and atp (adenosine triphosphate) it provides a small amount of energy in muscle cells. Similar to glucose the energy provided allows maximum power for the body for only a short period of time. Therefore this kind of energy is very useful for short exertions of force, like a set of weight lifting with 10 reps or a 100m sprint. Although, the creatine intake is assured by regular eating, one aims at an even higher pool of creatine phosphate when using creatine as a supplement.

Negative Side Effects?

"Creatine is an anabolic steroid and has similar side effects like hormones, etc."

False. Creatine is no steroid. It is part of an energy delivery system for the body. See above.

"Creatine causes stomach problems"

Might be true. Some people suffer from stomach problems or diarrhea (or gas). These problems will be avoided when enough water is consumed. Creatine is difficultly dissoluble. The powder stays in your stomach for too long and causes gas, etc. So, at least one gallon per day should be drunk. If you still encounter problems, also check for overdosing.

"Creatine causes weight gain"

True. You gain weight by storing water in your muscle. But this is actually what you want. It supports the process of gaining muscle strength and will disappear after the treatment.

"It might damage the kidneys/liver/..."

False. All creatine not used by the body (overdosing) will be excreted by the kidneys (urine). As with any other overdose (except for extreme overdosing!) filtered by the kidneys (e.g. too high protein intake), just make sure to drink enough water.

"You have more power and strength during a creatine treatment"

True. As stated above you get an additional energy source to provide more power for a few more seconds than usually. For example, if you're doing bench press and your maximum weight for 10 reps was 200lbs, you might make it to 12 reps or 10 reps at 220lbs. You can use more weight or workout longer and hopefully build up more muscles. This is one of the creatine side effects you want to encounter!

"Creatine can cause muscle cramps and dehydration"

This is a rumor which has not been scientifically proven. If you get muscle cramps, take magnesium tabs. And again, drink as much water as you can.