What are side effects of creatine?

Side effects of creatine -- a chemical made from amino acids and found in foods such as fish and meat -- range from relatively minor to quite serious. They're more likely to occur in people who take creatine supplements for six months or longer. Relatively minor side effects may include stomach pain, muscle strains and cramps, diarrhea and nausea. More serious side effects include weight gain, high blood pressure, liver dysfunction, kidney damage and possibly irregular heartbeats. Creatine can also interact with other supplements and with many prescription and nonprescription drugs, possibly increasing side effects from those medications. Talk to your doctor before taking creatine supplements.
GI distress -- diarrhea, stomach upset, and bloating -- is the most common cited side effect of creatine. This may be related to large doses of creatine pulling excessive water into the intestines, leading to loose stools. Such GI distress is likely to hinder most athletic performances.

Although not a side effect, the increase in body mass caused by creatine may worsen performance in some sports, such as those that require considerable running.

Continue Learning about Dietary Supplements

Dietary Supplements

Whether you're visiting the drug store, grocery or natural food shop you'll likely find an aisle where there are jars and bottles of things for you to put in your body that are neither foods nor medicines. Ranging from vitamins an...

d minerals to fiber and herbal remedies, these supplements are not regulated in the same way as either food or medicine. Some of them are backed by solid research, others are folk remedies or proprietary cures. If your diet does not include enough of certain vitamins or minerals, a supplement may be a good idea. Natural treatment for conditions like constipation may be effective. But because these substances are unregulated, it is always a good idea to educate yourself about the products and to use common sense when taking them. This is even more true if you are pregnant or taking a medicine that may be affected by supplements.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.