What is Creatine?
Creatine is an amino acid that is metabolized into the kidneys and liver, supporting muscle growth and contractions, according to Peace Health. Naturally occurring in both meat and fish, creatine is marketed to athletes as performance enhancing supplements. MedLinePlus states it can be useful for young and healthy athletes who are performing high intensity exercises, such as sprinting.
Can long term use of creatine be harmful?
A study by “Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry” analyzed the long term use of supplementing creatine for 21 months. This study was divided into two groups: those who used creatine and individuals who did not. Blood and urine from both groups was then examined for signs of liver or kidney damage. Between the two groups, there were no significant differences in kidney and liver health. This highly suggests that supplementing creatine at appropriate doses not cause damage in healthy individuals.
Creatine and kidney disease?
Like all amino acids, your kidneys are responsible for filtering the creatine before it reaches in destination through the blood into the muscles. It produces a waste product called creatinine, which is removed from the body in the urine. If you have kidney problems, taking creatine may not be right for you but only a physician can assure of this one way or the other. According to Medline Plus it is concerned that if you have kidney damage prior to creatine usage it could add additional stress on the kidneys, making damages worsen over time. Anyone with kidney problems or are at risk of kidney disease should talk to a doctor before supplementing creatine.
Proper Dosage Of Creatine?
Medline Plus states that the average dosage of creatine involves supplementing 20 grams per day in 5 gram increments for a total of 5 days. This is called a “loading phase” which helps saturate the muscle tissue with creatine. When the loading phase is over, a lower dose is needed to maintain proper creatine levels. This is about 2 grams of creatine each day. If you have special needs, your doctor may recommend altering theses dosages.
“Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry”; Long-term creatine supplementation does not significantly affect clinical markers of health in athletes; Kreider et. al.; 2003.