Report on Creatine Side Effects and Usage


Natural health supplements sometimes have unexpected side effects or interactions with medication that can lead to adverse reactions that are sometimes life threatening. The following is a list of cautions that you should be aware of before using creatine (methyl guanidine-acetic acid). These are referred to as drug/herb interactions.

Warning 1 – Contraindications: Kidney disease.

Warning 2 – Glucose: May increase the storage of creatine in muscle tissue.

Warning 3 – Caffeine: Drinking coffee and soft drinks that contain caffeine may decrease the effects of creatine.

Warning 4 – Asthma: The Mayo Clinic states that creatine has been associated with asthmatic symptoms and warns against consumption by persons with known allergies.

Warning 5 – Nephrotoxic Drugs: Taking high doses of creatine with medications that can harm the kidneys might increase the chance of kidney damage. Drugs in this class include cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune); aminoglycosides including amikacin (Amikin), gentamicin (Garamycin, Gentak), and tobramycin (Nebcin); nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) including ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin), indomethacin (Indocin), naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn), piroxicam (Feldene); and numerous others.

Used as a natural herbal medicine creatine has been used for the following benefits and conditions:

  • Enhance physical performance and ability
  • Gain strength
  • Build muscle mass
  • Gain weight
  • Creatine has been demonstrated to cause modest increases in strength in people with a variety of neuromuscular disorders.
  • Improved cognitive ability
  • May slow the worsening of some symptoms in people with early Parkinson?s disease.
  • Slows the loss of sight from gyrate atrophy.
  • There is some evidence that taking a high-dose creatine daily may increase exercise capacity and decrease muscle pain caused by exercise in some patients with McArdle’s disease.

Side Effects of Creatine

Creatine appears to be generally safe, although taken in large amounts there is the potential for kidney damage. Extensive research over the last decade has shown that oral creatine supplementation at a rate of 5 to 20 grams per day appears to be very safe. The most commonly reported side effects of creatine supplementation are

  1. diarrhea
  2. muscle cramping

Other side effects may also occur when using creatine. (See form below)

Return to the Herb List.

For questions and answers about the side effects of herbs see the Herb Forum

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