The vast amount of data on creatine and exercise performance does not support
the dramatic claims of muscle building and power development by manufacturers.
Documented side effects induced by creatine monohydrate are weight gain;
influence on insulin production; feedback inhibition of endogenous creatine
synthesis; long-term damages on renal function.
A major point that related to the quality of creatine
monohydrate products is the amount of creatine ingested in relation to the
amount of contaminants present. During the industrial production of creatine
monohydrate from sarcosine and cyanamide, variable amounts of contaminants
(dicyandiamide, dihydrotriazines, creatinine, ions) are generated and, thus,
their tolerable concentrations (ppm) must be defined and made consumers known.
Furthermore, because sarcosine could originate from bovine tissues, the risk of
contamination with prion of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or mad-cow
disease) can't be excluded. Thus, French authorities forbade the sale of
products containing creatine.
Despite numerous publications on the ergogenic effects of this naturally
occurring substance, there is little information on the possible adverse
effects of this supplement. Gastrointestinal disturbances and muscle cramps
have been reported occasionally in healthy individuals.
Liver and kidney dysfunction have also been suggested on the
basis of small changes in markers of organ function and of occasional case
reports, but well controlled studies on the adverse effects of exogenous
creatine supplementation are almost nonexistent.
Idiosyncratic effects may occur when large amounts of an
exogenous substance containing an amino group are consumed, with the consequent
increased load on the liver and kidneys. Regular monitoring is compulsory to
avoid any abnormal reactions during oral creatine supplementation.
Recent trends in football heatstroke fatalities toward significant increases
may, in part, be attributable to or aggravated by the use of dietary
supplements. Credible scientific evidence has been found that amphetamine
derivatives and the ergonomic aid creatine may contribute to subclinical
dehydration and heatstroke in selected individuals. Caution is urged in the
education and evaluation of football players who train during the hot summer
Creatine supplementation, in the dosages commonly used, results in urinary
concentrations that are 90 times greater than normal. The long term effects of
this have not been investigated, but there is possibility for a variety of
nephrotoxic, i.e., kidney damaging, events. There is potential for direct
toxicity on renal tubules where urine is formed, and for acceleration of kidney
Impurities are present in virtually every manufactured product, and in some
cases, even though the product may be considered harmless, the impurity is not.
Such was the case in the late 1980's when an epidemic of cases of
eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome, including over 30 deaths, were blamed on a
contaminant present in L-tryptophan, an amino acid supplement widely taken as a
Creatine, and other such supplements, are not regulated by the
FDA. No published investigation has been conducted on creatine to determine
what impurities might be present in creatine supplements, and what their long
term effect might be.
Study shows that creatine supplementation may result in abnormalities in
glucose homeostasis in the absence of changes in insulin secretion.
Creatine may have dangerous interactions with caffeine, Ephedra and other herbs
and supplements. Creatine may also interact with some prescription medications.
Consult with your physician before using.
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