Creatine (creatinine) is an amino acid derivative that is needed by the muscles. These natural compounds synthesized in the liver and play an important role in the production of adenosine triphosphate.
Creatine is synthesized in the body from arginine, methionine, and glycine. Rich food sources of creatine include meat and fish. Most of these organic acids stored in skeletal muscle.
Because creatine helps build strength and muscle mass, people who are doing exercises to build up the muscles of the body often use creatine supplements.
People who frequently exercise or physical activity of high intensity can get adenosine triphosphate that is required through the consumption of food sources of creatine.
Apart from food, there are also creatine supplements in the form of phosphate salts, citrate and monohydrate.
Although primarily used to increase muscle strength and maintain stamina during intensive exercise, these supplements also help treat neuromuscular disorders.
People affected by muscle weakness disorders, muscular dystrophy, stroke, congestive heart failure, Parkinson’s disease, and Lou Gehrig’s disease may also benefit from the use of this supplement.
Because it gives energy to the muscles, creatine can also help fight muscle fatigue and speed up recovery from injury.
How Does Creatine Work?
Creatine works by providing phosphate required for regeneration of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
When someone performs a high-intensity muscle activity, phosphate molecule is used for energy synthesis. Because the amino acid derivative is acting as a supplier of phosphate, the energy requirements for exercise or physical activity such as running, weightlifting can be fulfilled.
However, something that excess remains poor. High levels of creatinine, which is a byproduct of creatine, may increase the risk of kidney problems.
Because the waste products should be filtered through the kidneys, this organ will perform excessive work. Excess creatine also triggers kidney stones. That’s because, people affected by liver and kidney disease should limit taking these supplements.
Dehydration is another side effect because creatine absorbs water from various areas of the body into the muscle. If not taken according to the prescribed dose, excess of creatine will cause muscle cramps, diarrhea, nausea, bloating and loss of appetite.
Creatine monohydrate is believed to be the best synthetic form of the amino acid derivatives, although users should remain aware of the overdose.
Although it is a potential source of ATP, creatine should be taken according to the recommended dosage and duration to reap maximum benefits.
Side Effects of Creatine
Using creatine for a short duration is not considered harmful. Conversely, if used in the long run, creatine supplements can trigger a variety of health problems.
Weight gain usually occurs due to water accumulation in the muscles. Excess of creatine triggers an increase in muscle tissue that causes weight gain. However, if someone needs to gain weight safely, it is advisable to consume natural HGH (human growth hormone) supplements.
Kidney and Liver Damage
Urine of creatine long-term users showed a high concentration ‘creatinine’ which is a waste product of creatine. A high concentration of creatinine is an indicator of kidney problems. Kidneys have to work extra to remove creatinine excess from the body.
Therefore, it is advisable to increase the consumption of the water to reduce the concentration of creatinine.
In addition, long-term use of creatine supplements can cause kidney stones.
Nausea and Diarrhea
Nausea and diarrhea arising from excessive consumption of creatine cannot completely dissolve in the stomach.
Cramps are caused due to lack of water or fluid in the body. Creatine supplements are known to draw water from the body to the muscles.
Therefore, the consumption of water or fluids should be increased to avoid muscle cramps.
Lack of fluid in the body can lead to dehydration, and the consumption of creatine increases the chances of the same thing. Dehydration is known to trigger the stones in the kidney. Additionally, bloating is also reportedly experienced by some users.
Lack of Natural Creatine Production
The body is unable to synthesize creatine naturally after sustained use of these supplements. This inability to force a person must provide the creatine from external sources.
When supplements are used in the short term, the body will return to its original routine and capable of creatine synthesis.
The Other Side Effects
Fever, heat intolerance, excessive thirst, mild headache, anxiety, and depression are also observed as other side effects that may arise.