What You Should Know About Creatine Supplements

Creatine is an energy-boosting supplement that can help you reach your fitness goals. It’s widely used by athletes, including bodybuilders, powerlifters and endurance runners.

It’s a naturally occurring nitrogen-containing acid that can be safely taken by people of all ages and health conditions. It’s not safe for anyone with liver or kidney disease, though, and should be taken under the supervision of a doctor.

Athletes use it to increase lean muscle mass, strength and speed in sports such as sprinting, high jumping, football, weight lifting and wrestling. It also helps endurance athletes, such as runners and cyclists, stay strong throughout their workouts and recover quickly after intense training sessions.

The most common form of creatine is creatine monohydrate, which is sold in powder form and mixed into water or other drinks. Effervescent forms of creatine, which are infused with liquids, are another popular choice.

Creatine ethyl ester (CEE), which is a chemically attached form of creatine, is the second most popular type of the supplement, followed by creatine anhydrous. CEE is easier for the body to absorb than creatine monohydrate, so it can be more effective in building muscle.

Taking too much creatine can cause nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. If you have any of these symptoms, stop taking it right away and consult with a medical professional.

If you want to take a creatine supplement before working out, be sure to eat or drink enough fluids to hydrate your body. It’s important to keep in mind that you may have to eat several times throughout the day to adequately hydrate yourself, especially when taking a pre-workout supplement blend that contains a lot of creatine.

It’s also important to make sure that your supplemental creatine is standardized, as a low-quality product could lead to side effects. Look for a product that is NSF International or Informed Sport certified.

Athletes should never take more than 20 milligrams of creatine per kilogram of their body weight, which is about the same amount as one scoop of powder in a bottle. Taking higher doses of the supplement can cause side effects, such as fatigue and weakness.

In fact, some studies suggest that taking too much creatine can worsen kidney problems in people with a history of kidney disease or other conditions. It’s also not a good idea to take creatine with any nephrotoxic drugs, such as probenecid, which is often used for treating gout.

The National Institutes of Health recommends avoiding creatine supplements if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding or are otherwise at risk for developing kidney problems. It’s also best to avoid using it if you have diabetes, which can cause your kidneys to weaken and fail.

Taking too much creatine or combining it with other supplements can cause stomach pain, diarrhea and cramps. In addition, it can lead to heartburn, indigestion and headaches.

Athletes who take creatine should also consider eating a healthy diet, particularly protein rich foods. The National Institutes of Health suggests consuming a high-protein diet to increase your chances of taking the most benefit from creatine supplementation.