Creatine Side Effects. Negative Side Effects of Creatine

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Creatine Side Effects. Negative Side Effects of Creatine.

Creatine supplements are useful in bodybuilding and weightlifting for some time.  It promotes the growth of body mass and lean muscle in a shorter period of time than if food was totally relied upon to provide sufficient creatine.  There have been concerns that creatine supplements can cause mood swings. Proponents of creatine have reported anger, aggressive behavior, and mild to severe mood swings.

Most clinical trials have been conducted with creatine monohydrate. Creatine citrate is gaining in popularity but as yet there are few clinical trials using that form of creatine.  Creatine phosphate is not easily absorbed by the body. So in this article we will refer only to creatine monohydrate.

The theory till recently was that creatine had no side effects.  However, a growing number of people are reporting problems with anger and aggressive behavior linked with its use.

To date, clinical trials examining this hypothesis have not returned definite results, apart from suggesting it increases testosterone in test subjects. Testosterone is a male hormone that, while increasing muscle mass, bone density and sexual organs, also increases the tendency towards aggressive behavior.  However, the trials did discover that people who use creatine rarely drink enough water, take too much creatine, and don't have sufficient breaks from creatine in their training routines.  It is also suggested that people taking antidepressants shouldn't use creatine as it increases the likelihood of mood swings and depression.

It is strongly suggested to creatine users to do the following to reduce the emotional side effects of creatine use:

Drink plenty of water.  You're growing muscle mass at an increased rate, and therefore require increased amounts of water to sustain such growth. Dehydration definitely can contribute to depression and mood swings.

Take one week per month off from taking creatine to allow your body to plateau and adjust.

Limit creatine intake to 3 - 5 grams a day.  If you can't or won't take a week off from creatine intake, then for one week out of each month, reduce your creatine intake to no more than 3 grams.

If you're taking lithium or other antidepressants, studies have suggested that taking creatine as well could potentially increase mood swings and depression.

If you follow these tips, any side effects you may be sustaining from creatine use should be vastly reduced.  Otherwise, you should seek medical advice.  A good sports dietician can also help.

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Posted on Feb 14, 2011