Negative Effects of Creatine
Creatine is a natural nutrient found in our bodies. Most of the needs of creatine of the human body can be fulfilled through a balanced diet. However, bodybuilders, athletes and a vast majority of individuals following a fitness regime resort to creatine supplements because it has proven to increase body mass and lean muscle formation, in a very short span of time.
Though creatine supplements allegedly do not have side effects, users have reported that they suffer from mild side effects like mental mood swings, increased aggressive behavior, stomach upset and cramps, diarrhea and obesity. Among serious side effects, kidney trouble and gastrointestinal problems have been reported.
Anger and aggressive behavior seem to be some of the most reported side effects among users, both male and female. A reason for this could be the increase of Testosterone levels in the users. Testosterone, a male hormone, besides being responsible for growth of muscle mass, increased bone density and development of sex organs, is also said to increase aggressiveness in behavior. Physicians and trainers advise, when taking creatine, one should drink a lot of water. They claim that due to the property of creatine to absorb water, the body becomes dehydrated and this leads to mood swings and increased anger bouts.
Though manufacturers claim that creatine is devoid of side effects, some users reportedly suffer from anxiety, acne, male breast formation (Gynecomastia), and a reduction in penis size and hair loss. Of these, increased aggressiveness, acne and hair loss are the most frequently reported. Gastrointestinal complications have also been commonly reported among users of creatine supplements. Moreover, scientific studies have proven that increase in body mass from creatine use can be attributed to water retention by muscles.
Most physicians are of the opinion that not enough studies have been completed on the long and short term effects creatine may have on teenagers. Even when such studies are conducted, the period of study remains, on an average, around two weeks, which physicians claim is a very short span of time to actually judge whether creatine is harmful or beneficial.
Women using creatine are cautioned of overdosing themselves. Creatine levels are naturally higher in women than in men, thus creatine takes time for its effects to manifest, which sometimes leads to women taking excess dosages of creatine.
It is important to note here that not all creatine supplements have obtained the FDA approval. FDA approval of creatine is termed as "loose" by many industry experts, since although creatine is approved, a lot of marketers add more chemicals to pure creatine to lessen side effects and increase effectiveness. For example, one seller alleges that its product does not get converted to creatinine in the human stomach, a compound which nullifies all expected benefits from ingesting creatine. The company claims that it does this by addition of chemicals to prevent conversion of creatine into creatinine. The effects of such additives on the human body haven't been studied.
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