What Is Creatine?
Creatine is a performance-enhancing substance that is commonly used by athletes in order to empower their physical strength. Basically, it increases muscle mass and also helps in achieving bursts of power.
Creatine is actually a natural substance that converts into creatine phosphate when enters the body.
Creatine phosphate further helps in making adenosine triphosphate which supplies energy for the contraction of muscles.
Our bodies also produce some creatine naturally and it can be gained from consuming protein-rich foods like fish or meat.
Vegetarians have reportedly low creatine levels because they do not consume meat which is the main source to gain natural creatine in the body.
The reason why this is very common and popular among athletes is that it is easily available in just about every market.
You can get it in the form of tablets, powder, energy bars, or drink mixes from any drug store, nutrition store, and supermarket without even a doctor’s prescription.
It has proven as a safe substance for high-intensity training but only in the short term. In this article, we will discuss various health benefits and health hazards of using creatine supplements.
Why Should I Use Creatine?
Creatine has the ability to improve our athletic performance and health in many ways. For performing a high-intensity exercise, creatine provides ATP to increase muscle power.
It is the key to getting enough energy for heavyweight lifting and building muscles for running, jumping, and other athletic activities. It helps in gaining muscles in the following ways:
- Increasing cell hydration
- Improving cell signaling
- Raising anabolic hormones
- Reducing protein breakdown
- Boosting workload
Impact On Your Brain:
The brain also requires an adequate amount of ATP for the best functioning.
Creatine also increases the amount of phosphor-creatine inside your brain which improves brain health and helps to prevent neurological diseases. It can improve the brain’s health in the following conditions:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Spinal cord injuries
- Huntington’s disease
- Motor neuron disease
- Ischemic stroke
- Brain function in older adults
Effect On Exercising Strength:
It is considered to be the most beneficial and harmless substance for gaining strength and muscle mass that is used to perform hard tasks when playing sports.
Other health benefits:
Creatine can also help with:
- Low blood pressure
- Improves quality of life in old and weak adults
- Improve muscle function
- Helps to treat fatty liver disease in non-alcoholic
How much creatine a normal body needs
The human body naturally creates 1-2g of creatine daily. In order to build muscles 20g of creatine should be taken for a limited time. You can consult your doctor or dietician if you want to get extra muscle mass.
Side Effects of Creatine:
1: Kidney or liver damage:
There is no clear evidence to prove that creatine can initiate kidney damage. However, a high concentration level of creatine in urine can indicate a kidney problem.
If you are having any liver or kidney issues, I would recommend that you discuss this with your doctor and let them know if you are taking any creatine or other supplements.
Due to these health problems, you should stop the usage of creatine because your kidney or liver will have to work harder to eliminate the creatine byproducts or toxins from the body.
This is why it is very important to drink plenty of water, especially when taking any supplements. This can help avoid many problems caused by increased amounts of nutrients from the supplements.
2: Nausea or Diarrhea:
These can be minor side effects that can affect beginners but this is a very low possibility. But if you face this issue of nausea or diarrhea, this may be due to the creatine not fully dissolving in your stomach.
You can increase your water intake and consult your doctor to adjust your dosage according to your stomach.
3: Muscle pulls:
This is a very common side effect; many people complain about muscle pull after taking a few dosages of creatine.
Well, this is because after sudden increases in energy level people tend to exercise harder and the muscles pull due to a sudden increase in inactivity.
There are no unrealistic effects of these supplements, it works slowly and affects your muscles for the long term.
4: Muscle cramps:
Muscle cramps after using creatine can be caused by a deficiency in fluid intake.
When we take creatine, it draws water to the muscle cells for their growth and strength, that’s why we need to compensate for the water in other body cells.
We must drink a lot of water, especially during the initial or loading phase. Not drinking enough water will cause dehydration and severe muscle cramps.
But people who stay hydrated and intake large quantities of fluids do not suffer from muscle cramps as often as those who do not drink enough water.
5: Dehydration or heat intolerance:
As explained earlier, creatine draws water from all over our bodies toward muscle cells.
This can make the body extremely dehydrated, which can further lead to other health issues. Heat intolerance due to a deficiency of fluids inside the body has also been reported by many users.
This indicates the importance of drinking water for creatine supplement users. It can save you from many complications in the future.
Creatine supplements can cause many to gain weight. This can be good news for people who want to get healthy, but people who do not want an increase in weight should use this sparingly.
Athletes cannot gain too much weight as it would become a problem for them to run fast in-game.
All the above-mentioned dangers of creatine are very rare but do happen. If you follow the directions carefully and do not take too much, then you will be perfectly fine and get results.
However, results are not instant. It takes a little time and effort before you start seeing the results you are looking for.
Final Thoughts on Creatine
It is concluded that using creatine supplements is totally safe for people who use them responsibly.
This means to make sure that you are not overtaking this supplement in order to get a faster result. There are no shortcuts in this, going overboard would just harm your health and can cause serious conditions.
Simply go with a normal dosage while drinking plenty of water to maintain your overall health and to avoid possible side effects.
Also, avoid getting cheap creatine supplements because they can present other side effects. Always buy from a trusted manufacturer that sells high-quality creatine.
Be sure to discuss any questions and concerns with your doctor before and while you are taking any supplements.
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