Creatine Monohydrate Side Effects

creatine monohydrate side effectsBefore I put into view which are the main creatine monohydrate side effects, it’s important to explain what creatine really is and how does it work.

Many athletes use creatine monohydrate to increase their muscle mass, strength and athletic performance. It’s a naturally occuring amino acid (not a steroid as many people think), commonly found in muscle tissue. Around 95% of the total of creatine in the human body can be found and is used by the skeletal muscle tissue.

One of the best natural sources of creatine is red meat. However, consuming red meat to increase the protein and creatine level in the body may be way more harmful that just taking creatine as a powder. For example, red meat can increase level of cholesterol and this way increasing the risk of heart disease.

The main effect of creatine is to increase the availability of instant energy to the skeletal muscles. It delays fatigue and increases muscle strength, helping athletes to gain muscle mass more quickly. Creatine forces more fluids into the muscle cells, creating the pump that most athletes and bodybuilders need, also making the muscles firmer.

There’s a specific way for the intake of creatine monohydrate. It actually has two phases: the “creatine load” phase, and the long-term intake. The load up consists on an intake of 20g of creatine per day, for 6 days, to saturate your system with creatine. The second phase consists in a “treatment” with 5g of creatine per day, to maintain a high level of this compound in your system.

Now, although creatine is mostly harmless to the body, it doesn’t mess with any of the bodily functions and there’s a very low risk of anything happening to you if you take it as a supplement, there are a few creatine monohydrate side effects to know about. These are:

Dehydration. Since creatine will supplement your muscles with more fluids than normally, various other tissues in the body may be prived of their normal level of water. However, this shouldn’t be a major problem. If supplementing with creatine, just drink more water than normally, for the whole day, not only during the workouts.

Muscle cramps. Some of the athletes using creatine may experience muscle cramping due to the dehydration process. However, most of the cramping experienced specially by bodybuilders is one of the effects of heavy weight lifting.

Kidney damage. Although cases of kidney damage as creatine monohydrate side effects were very rare, there were reported cases of kidney inflammation as result of creatine monohydrate use. Therefore, if you know you have lazy kidneys, or have a history with kidney problems, it’s best to ask your doctor before taking creatine.

Drug interactions. Creatine doesn’t usually interfere with the action of other drugs. However, since creatine may induce a certain dehydration to the body, it’s not a good idea to take it if you also take diuretic drugs. Plus, coffee or alcohol also favor dehydration so, it would be for the best to reduce the alcohol and coffee consumption if supplementing with creatine.

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