Creatine Side Effects
by: Jennifer Bailey
Creatine is an amino-acid based compound that is produced naturally in the human body. The body produces half the required creatine endogenously from internal amino acids and the rest is produced from the food we take. Creatine is found largely in fish and red meat. Creatine is produced by the liver, pancreas and kidneys and is sent to the muscle tissues through the blood. It is converted into phosphocreatine molecules that store energy in muscular tissues. This allows the body to release large bouts of energy when the body is exerted.
Creatine is taken as a food supplement like vitamins and minerals. This is to create additional phosphocreatine in the body for generating more energy. Creatine supplements are generally taken by people participating in sports like weightlifting, wrestling and sprinting as these sports require sudden bursts of energy for short periods. Creatine supplements are approved by the FDA and under the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act. Creatine also has other benefits like promoting lean-muscle mass and reducing muscle wasting in post-surgical patients. It is also believed to help heart patients by increasing their exercise capacity, reducing heart spasms and thus increasing heart function. Some studies have also indicated its usefulness in treating neuromuscular disorders though tests are still being conducted.
Use of creatine as a food supplement is on the rise. Despite its usefulness, creatine is found to have some side effects albeit few. The most common side effect is weight gain due to more water in the muscle and increase in the lean-muscle tissue. Other side effects observed were dehydration, muscle cramps, nausea, diarrhea, gastrointestinal distress and seizures. For persons with existing kidney or renal disorders, creatine was found to cause renal stress because of more stress on the kidneys.
The long-term effects of taking creatine over a long period of time havenï¿½t been established yet. Its side effects when used along with other medications or supplements also havenï¿½t been determined yet. Hence it is better to be well informed about the likely side effects of creatine before using it, especially in the ï¿½loadingï¿½ method. Most creatine supplement products sold over-the-counter have the precautions and the likely side effects listed on the label. Manufacturers also provide information when requested. There are several websites over the Internet that provides useful information about creatine supplements and their side effects.
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