In this article I am going to go over all the reported side effects of creatine and give my personal views towards the use of creatine. It’s important to consider both documented research results as well as anecdotal results due to the unique responses we all have to different chemicals. I have already written a post on ‘what does creatine do‘ which you should check out if you don’t know how creatine works.
Creatine Side Effects
Creatine is a very well researched substance, and there has yet to be a paper reporting creatine to be the sole cause of any sort of problem. Research involves looking at how creatine affects athletes performance in sports that are anaerobic or aerobic based. Many research trials have also been conducted into the affect supplemented creatine has on the kidneys and liver. It’s worth noting that 85% of users taking creatine reported substantial strength increases while taking part in anaerobic exercise.
Creatine side effects – Does Creatine cause kidney stones?
Research has showed that upon taking creatine urinary concentrations are increased by up to 90 times. Long term effects (i.e. Years) has not been fully researched. It is known that the formation of kidney stones is due to the build up of chemicals in the urine that combine to form small crystals then nucleate into a hard mass. Therefore speculations are made that having more concentrated urine will increase the likelihood of kidney stone formation. Doctors also recommend to people who have developed kidney stones to drink more water as this will decrease the chance of a stone forming.
This is one of the reasons you must ensure you drink enough water while taking creatine in order to dilute your urine. Although as of yet there has not been conclusive evidence to prove any link, drinking excess water can’t not be recommended as it is so crucial in any fitness program.
Creatine side effects – Can creatine damage my kidneys?
What else does creatine do in your kidneys? Well as with all things in our body, including red blood cells, plasma etc, it all get’s broken down and replaced. Creatine is the same and it is broken down in your kidneys to creatinine which is then mixed in with your urine and excreted. Studies have not shown any symptoms of renal damage in people taking 20g of creatine a day for a period of 3 years. So with this the answer is a no.
Creatine side effects – Does creatine cause acne?
This is where I am going to give you some of my own personal anecdotal evidence and thoughts. First of all creatine isn’t a substance that is recommended to people under the age of 18, why? Well as with all muscle enhancing substances growing muscle to fast and big while you are still developing can cause an array of problems when you are older. So this is advice is tailored towards 18+.
When I was a teenager I didn’t have particularly good skin, I did have spots. This made me very skeptical trying creatine when I was older as still even at the age of 21 having a chocolate bar, or a pint, I run the risk of getting a few spots. I can conclusively say that creatine has not given me any spots.
This though is very dependant on your own body and you really will not know until you try it. Research has not shown any link with acne but there have been plenty of reports that taking creatine has made peoples complexion suffer.
Creatine side effects – Does creatine dehydrate you?
Creatine as you may know, if not read my post mentioned at the beginning, will cause muscle cells to retain more water and thus require you to intake more water as this supply will be replenished day in day out. Dehydration is caused by not drinking enough water, so simply drink more of it, and creatine will not on-lay any dehydration effects.
Creatine side effects – Does creatine stunt growth?
This is again a huge myth and is not true. There have been no studies proving this to be the case. Also it’s worth noting if you take creatine after the age of 18 when you are recommended to, it’s unlikely you will grow a huge amount more, only really in rare cases do growth spurts occur past this age.
Creatine side effects – Does creatine upset your stomach?
There is absolutely no research saying that it does but yet some anecdotal evidence complains about it. I would say it has the possibility, just like all supplements I suppose.
Creatine Side Effects – Creatine Review
I have taken two types of creatine, monohydrate and ethyl ester and here are my reviews:
Creatine Ethyl Ester: This was the first form of creatine a took, and I used BSN’s cell mass which has ethyl ester as one of the main forms, in it’s unique creatine blend. I noticed results straight away, and it tasted great in it’s good mixing shake. It’s a much more expensive type of creatine, but it didn’t cause any stomach upsets, my skin remained exactly the same. I didn’t grow a third arm and I just felt as it it was a good product so it get’s my recommendation!
Creatine Monohydrate Review: This is the cheapest form of creatine, and it’s most simple form. I took this after using the ethyl ester and noticed much more prominent results. I took a month after taking creatine ethyl ester as I like to cycle this supplement by taking it for 3 months then having one month off. I gained a fair bit of weight from water mass, which in turn made me lift more, adding around 10kg of squats quite quickly. I’ve not noticed any complexion issues as yet but I’ve been taking this for 2 weeks and will update once i’ve used it a bit more.
In summary to answer the question does creatine have any side effects is a no.
Any questions would love to hear from you in the comments and happy lifting!