6 side effects of creatine: the destruction of myths


Creatine is one of the most studied among the existing sports supplements. Even if you are a relatively new person in the world of bodybuilding, you probably heard about this supplement. What is so great about creatine? Simply, it helps to fight fatigue during your workouts, which gives you the opportunity to work out muscle groups longer and at a higher intensity, allowing as a result, to maximize your body’s ability to increase strength and volume of muscles.

Let’s consider the influence of creatine intake on the bodybuilding organism and analyze the scientific processes and cause-effect relationships and finally, we will understand how it works.

In order to allow the muscles to contract, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) should separate the phosphate groups, leaving ADP (adenosine diphosphate). The hitch is that our body does not have the prerequisites for using ADP to release energy. What is the solution to this problem? ADP releases phosphate from the reserves of creatine phosphate (PCr) of your body to form more ATP. The intake of creatine promotes the accumulation and the availability of PCr in the body, from which the formation of ATP is accelerated. Essence: The more creatine phosphate (PCr) you contain, the more you can perform, before it interrupts fatigue.

sport nutrition
Sport nutrition: creatine

Adopted properly and based on a systematic approach, creatine is able to get the status of one of the most powerful and effective sports supplements for lean muscle mass (lean components), body composition improvements (external data), strength and high intensity activity. However, the myths and misinformation about possible side effects and safety of use to this day pursue such a nutritional supplement as creatine. Is it safe? It causes a set of excess weight? Is it harmful to the kidneys? Is it comparable with casein?

 If you can not wait to clarify these issues for yourself and solve these problems, you have come to the right place. Here are 6 common myths about creatine and the real truth behind them.


There is no conclusive scientific evidence that regular supplements of the recommended dose of creatine adversely affect the function of the kidneys

Fact: Numerous studies have been conducted on the intake of creatine supplement, the result of all of them was the conclusion that long-term administration of creatine does not cause negative side effects on the liver or kidneys.

There is no certainty in the occasional misleading articles in the media that declare that creatine causes kidney stones or liver failure. Most of the questions about the safety of taking creatine come from the problem of how well the kidneys filter the blood. There is a possibility that this problem is a derivative of an elevated level of creatinine (a marker used to diagnose problems with the kidneys), which occurs after the intake. However, this “false alarm” in no way harms your body. Moreover, there is no conclusive scientific evidence that regular supplements of the recommended dose of creatine adversely affect the function of the kidneys.

what is creatine
Creatine powder and caps

A number of studies to check the quality of blood filtering by the kidneys did not show any side effects from the administration of creatine. In addition, hundreds of studies have been conducted examining the general safety of this additive.

Okay, I think you got the idea. The safety of creatine has been demonstrated again and again, in some cases for five years (the fourth source of the above). The bottom line: Creatine does not cause damage to the liver, kidneys, or other organs, for that matter .


Fact: Judging by all the data collected and submitted , the use of creatine to increase muscle mass is safe, despite the fact that this food supplement can cause some minor disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.

It can not be said that there is a lack of truth in the statement that there are problems of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) from taking creatine, but this is a rarity. In fact, it was reported that only 5-7% of athletes after taking the supplement felt pain in the abdomen. An upset stomach is most often manifested under special conditions, for example, when the athlete often takes large amounts of creatine regularly and regularly at a single dose (for example, in the loading phase) or on an empty stomach.

In an attempt to reduce the level of gastrointestinal upset, the micronized form of creatine, which has been ground into a crushed form, is readily available. The prerequisite for micronization is grinding, increase the solubility of the substance, potentially reducing indigestion. This can also create the opportunity for faster mixing and accelerate absorption.


Fact: At the moment, there is no evidence that proves that it causes muscle cramps or dehydration.

One of the most widely known fears regarding the intake of creatine is that it can cause dehydration or seizures, particularly in hot and humid conditions. It’s just not an argument. In fact, the reception of creatine has been proposed to accumulate water in the muscle tissue of athletes, helping to maintain the state of water balance in the body.

 To date, there is no evidence that creatine intake has a devastating effect on maintaining the water balance in the body or the ability of the body to regulate its temperature, with most of the research reports not reporting changes in the worse or even reporting improved temperature control.
creatine myths
Bodybuilder’s body

Scientists from the State University of San Diego have demonstrated that taking creatine can dull the growth of internal temperature during one hour of exercise in the heat.

Especially, among others, there are studies that clearly show that creatine can create conditions in the body to increase productivity in hot and humid environments, and that taking creatine does not affect muscle cramps.


Fact: Given that there may be a brief increase in pressure in the muscles after elevated doses of creatine intake, the supplementation at recommended doses does not cause the syndrome of the interfascial space.

The syndrome of interfascial space is a condition, in view of excessive pressure on a muscular lacuna. So theoretically, the risk of developing the syndrome of interfascial space can be increased due to fluid retention in muscle cells and an increase in the total volume of muscle tissue from the intake of creatine. In this case, I propose to become realists for a second. Interfascial space syndrome – this is more likely to be a direct result of a wound or injury, or potentially, later as a result of wound healing – leading to an insufficient flow of blood to the tissue. If left untreated, the result can be damage to nerves and tissues.

what is creatine
Creatine and bodybuilder

However, the participant was an inveterate bodybuilder for five previous years, and took supplements 25 grams a day – this is the five-fold recommended dose for the year. It is difficult to conclude whether the problem is the result of chronic high-dose additives, or whether the participant has not properly trained, or whether he used any other supplements, is not reported in the study.

In a number of other studies, the effects of a high dose of monohydrate intake and interfacial space syndrome have been studied.

While the researchers observed an acute increase in muscle tension following a high dose of monohydrate intake, the symptoms are not similar to those that precede the syndrome of the interfascial space, and the pressure values ​​returned to normal shortly after the experiment.


Fact: There is no reliable evidence that the intake of monohydrate contributes to rhabdomyolysis.

This myth acquired the status of a favorite of journalists after the publication of an article published in the New York Times, which proclaimed that the reception of monohydrate may have caused rhabdomyolysis in players of the football team of higher education. Rhabdomyolysis leads to severe skeletal muscle damage due to injuries that usually occur with an elevated level of creatine kinase and a previous syndrome of interfacial space. This condition can result from excessive physical exertion in a hot, humid climate, especially when the exercises last several days.

Based on the data received, the athletes then stayed in a training camp in which they conducted exhausting fights, and over and over again experienced themselves training in a hot and humid wrestling hall. None of the participants in the events indicated that they were taking creatine. And yet, the researchers admitted that creatine could cause a problem.

Sportsman using creatine during training

The assumption that monohydrate causes rhabdomyolysis , has no evidence in the scientific world. Indeed, the level of creatine kinase was elevated by these supplements, but this level did not closely coincide with the levels correlated with rhabdomyolysis. This is confirmed by a number of studies that justify without the danger of taking creatine for the level of maintaining water balance in the body and kidney function.

In any case, the intake benefits to maintain the water balance in the body, increasing water retention in the body, reducing body temperature and reducing the frequency of heartbeats when playing sports.


Fact: Loading creatine can cause a starting weight gain of 0.8 to 2.9% to muscle mass during the first few days due to the influx of water to the muscles; However, it is less likely that this will happen if the low-dose protocol is followed.

creatineTraining in the gym

There is a widespread claim that the gain of all kilograms gained from the intake of monohydrate derivatives is the weight of water. Indeed, a number of researchers have discovered a sharp increase in the total amount of water in the body as a result of the intake.

However, not taking into account the fact that the initial increase in weight may be caused by the accumulation of water in the muscle tissue, the results of the study consistently prove that in addition to strength training, the use as a sports nutrition is recommended, which causes an increase in muscle mass and a decrease in fat mass. The result of this combination is the improvement in the composition of your body.

Obviously, this effect is associated with a relatively high concentration of PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and accumulation of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which makes it possible to increase the intensity and volume of training.