Creatine – The Good, Bad And Ugly

Creatine is a commonly used supplement that body builders swear by and which is seen to be a beneficial and performance enhancing supplement.

Though Creatine has been shown to be largely safe in studies, there are side effects that one should know about before starting to take it.

The benefits of Creatine:

  • Creatine offers short bursts of enhanced energy to user so that performance that requires sudden spurts of energy such as sprinting, weight lifting etc is significantly enhanced by taking it.
  • It is also seen to help athletes recover faster after situations that required sudden expenditure of large amounts of energy.
  • Creatine is found to be very beneficial for body builders who want to quickly gain muscle mass in terms of bulking up.
  • It can help increase intensity and duration of workouts. Users notice more energy and what is known as ‘bursting’ power.
  • Users notice themselves being able to lift heavier weights and feel less fatigue.

The possible negatives and side effects of Creatine:

  • Creatine may help up performance in the short term and offer bursts of energy but is not seen to increase endurance. It is therefore not a supplement that helps athletes who need to increase stamina and endurance as much as other athletes.
  • The muscle gain may be caused by water retention rather than actual build up of muscle mass. This is the reason that many body builders find that using Creatine results in softer muscles.
  • In some very rare cases, use of Creatine has been associated with formation of kidney stones.
  • Some users notice that taking this supplement results in gas and bloating.
  • Also use of the supplement in excess of the prescribed dosages can result in diarrhea for some people.
  • Though many studies have been conducted into the efficacy and safety of Creatine, not as many long term studies of possible side effects are available. In the event, we don’t fully understand how long term use of Creatine impacts the body. In particular, the impact that this supplement has on the heart is not fully understood, since the heart is also made up of muscle and this is a supplement that principally impacts muscles of the body.

The fact is that Creatine is among the safer supplements that you can use for body building, however like all supplements it should be taken in moderation and in the prescribed manner.