A few case studies show that creatine may negatively affect the condition of your health; nonetheless, some scientists enthusiastically extol the virtues of creatine; they find that the claim that creatine can be harmful is unfounded.
The site of the Mayo Clinic includes extensive advice on supplement use. When it comes to creatine, we are alerted to the potential dangers: The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends talking to a doctor before starting creatine supplementation. The FDA does not monitor herbs and supplements. Therefore, it cannot be guaranteed that such products are pure and harmless. If athletes consume creatine in excess, the side effects can be unpredictable. There are only few systematic studies on the safety of creatine. Therefore, as soon as you experience any side effects, you should visit your doctor.
Continuing in the same vein, there are no findings for the long-term effects of creatine. Some of the most serious side effects from using the supplement appear to be problems in the kidneys and liver. People with a preexisting kidney condition and those suffering from bipolar disorder or dehydration should avoid it. Creatine may also cause other unpleasant conditions, such as muscle cramps resulting in muscle tears, abnormal heart rate, burping, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, dehydration, heat intolerance, fever, weight gain, increased sprains and strains, decreased blood volume, electrolyte imbalances which might cause seizures, increased risk of side effects due to interaction with caffeine, jaundice, skin rashes, and yellowing of the skin. It can also boost the production of formaldehyde, which can lead to severe side effects. Furthermore, there are reports of creatine allergy. Specifically, after long-term creatine supplementation, during which 20 grams were consumed in the 5-day loading phase, asthmatic symptoms appeared.
Creatine can also decrease blood sugar levels, so people who suffer from hypoglycemia or diabetes, as well as those who take herbs, drugs, or supplements that affect blood sugar are advised to be careful. Blood glucose levels may need to be checked by a doctor or pharmacist, and changes in medication may be necessary. Creatine might also increase blood pressure. If you receive herbs, drugs, or supplements which influence your blood pressure levels, you should be vigilant too.
Nevertheless, not all specialists share the same views. Some of them stress that the assertions above are largely based on anecdotes and media reports. Hundreds of randomized clinical trials have proven the safety of the supplement. The evidence so far is enough. Moreover, there are not any controlled trials showing that the use of creatine results in gastrointestinal problems. You are more likely to suffer from GI issues if you eat a double burger or white bread. No peer-reviewed studies indicate that creatine causes muscle cramps. In fact, one study shows that Division IA football players receiving creatine experienced less cramping and injuries compared to the ones not taking it. New findings reveal that creatine boosts performance in a hot or humid environment by decreasing sweat rate and exercising heart rate, assisting in thermoregulation, and maintaining hematocrit; and that it can positively affect plasma volume in the beginning of dehydration. In addition, study results that have been published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise demonstrate that the combination of creatine in small dosages and a protein supplement leads to lean mass growth without increasing formaldehyde levels.
To conclude, the contradictory viewpoints above may leave you more confused than ever. However, most scientists’ opinions on short-term supplementation coincide: It is perfectly fine to use it, provided that you are not affected by certain diseases.