Pros and cons of creatine
Creatine use is becoming extremely popular because of its effects to build muscle, increase strength and produce energy. Many athletes use it to improve their athletic performances. The problem is that creatine use has both benefits and consequences. Before anyone decides to start using creatine it is important to understand its effects – both good and bad.
Creatine is a substance that is naturally produced by the body. It is made up of amino acids and provides short bursts of energy to allow for muscle contractions during exercise. Creatine can be taken as supplement for people who desire more of these energy bursts.
Advantages of Creatine
- Creatine improves athletic abilities. This supplement improves athletic performance by creating faster and more powerful athletes. For example, sprinters who use this supplement have more powerful and faster take offs than their opponents and they are able to hold these increased speeds for 30 seconds longer than sprinters not taking creatine.
- Creatine produces energy by replenishing ATP reserves. ATP is one of the body’s natural energy sources – it creates muscle contractions. When we work out ATP energy reserves are depleted so we become tired. Creatine replaces lost ATP providing more energy and it also prevents muscle fatigue which allows you to have longer training sessions.
- Creatine improves strength and creates bigger muscles. This supplement gives athletes bursts of energy that allow them to lift heavier weights in the gym. The ability to lift heavier weights for longer periods of time will result in muscle growth.
- Creatine makes the recovery process faster. When you are exercising your muscles experience a lot of pressure which can result in damage or exhaustion. Creatine supplements help you recover faster from injury because it produces proteins. Proteins are the building blocks of our body and our muscles need protein for growth and reparation. By creating more protein, creatine is improving recovery times because damaged muscles are instantly being repaired. This supplement also prevents muscle soreness and has been known to heal bone fractures faster.
Disadvantages of Creatine
- Creatine causes water retention which can result in weight gain. Retaining water can have negative side effects such as bloating and feelings of being sluggish or slow.
- The fact that the muscles are retaining water also raises a flag for dehydration. It is very important when taking this supplement to drink a lot of water because any liquids in the body are being sucked into the muscles so dehydration is a common side effect. Dehydration has various negative side effects such as; nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, and confusion.
- Excess amounts of creatine can result in kidney problems. This supplement is naturally produced by the kidneys, liver and pancreas. When we take excess amounts the body cannot dispose of it properly so it starts to be excreted in urine. In order for this to happen it has to be filtered by the kidneys. The extra creatine forces the kidneys to work overtime and can eventually cause kidney stones, as well as kidney disease in severe cases.