Often thought of just a bodybuilding supplement, years of research show that Creatine is more than just a sports supplement. There’s benefits not just to workouts, but brain function, heart health and more recently, potential benefits to arthritis.
But what is Creatine exactly?
Creatine is a nutrient naturally found in all our bodies. It is a combination of 3 amino acids; arginine, glycine and methionine. Creatine helps provide the energy our muscles need to move, particularly quick and explosive movements. Muscle contraction is initially fueled by ATP (adenosine-triphosphate ).
Nevertheless, like every other non-FDA sanctioned properties, there are concerns that Creatine is unsafe.
Some of the reported side effects of taking Creatine are:
- stomach pain
- muscle cramping
- harm to kidney, liver, or heart functions
- stroke risk when combing with caffeine or herb ephedra (also called Ma Huang)
- skin condition called pigmented purpuric dermatosis
- water weight gain
- increase the production of formaldehyde
After reading the short list above, you might think Creatine is the most unsafe supplement on the planet and how could or would anybody want to take this?
Because side effects of taking Creatine as listed above are non-conclusive and no studies prove the linkage from the use of Creatine to the above reported side effects.
While it is true you will gain some water weight while on Creatine, that is because the cells are retaining more water with the usage. That’s not a negative. It’s also true that you can experience some stomach discomfort and/or diarrhea if you take too much of the product. Stick to the recommendations. More is not better.
But did you know there have been some deaths from Creatine supplementation?
There have been some reported deaths from the use of Creatine. In one case, the person took significantly more than the recommended amount for an extended period of time and in the others the individuals had pre-existing kidney (renal) problems.
If you have kidney problems or diabetes, Creatine supplementation is not recommended.
If you do not want to drink fluids (water) and keep properly hydrated, Creatine supplementation is not recommended.
If you cannot or will not follow dosage recommendations, Creatine supplementation is not recommended.
Otherwise, this is one of the most beneficial and safe supplements next to protein and water. While roughly 30% of the population is non-responsive to Creatine supplementation, the benefits far outweigh the reported side effects which have little to no research behind them. In fact, many have been disproved but are still listed as side effects of taking Creatine on thousands of websites.
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