Creatine capsules are very popular as a dietary supplement among athletes. Their content, creatine monohydrate, is known to improve physical performance during short, intensive training sessions and stimulate muscle building. Despite doping-like characteristics, taking creatine capsules is legal and causes neither dependency nor health damage. Ultimately, creatine is produced by the body itself to a certain extent and can also be ingested in small amounts with food. However, a daily dose of 3-5 grams per day is required to increase creatine levels.
What should be considered when taking creatine capsules?
Taking creatine capsules is uncomplicated and safe for otherwise healthy individuals. Persons with chronic diseases, especially kidney diseases, must consult a doctor before taking. There are no clinically relevant side effects for healthy individuals.
Nevertheless, before taking the capsules for the first time, you should read the package insert carefully and check whether it is suitable for you. If you have any questions or if side effects occur, it is essential to consult a doctor before starting to take the medicine. When taking creatine capsules, it is important that they are taken with sufficient water.
Since creatine binds fluid, more water must be drunk during the day than usual. At this point it should also be mentioned that taking creatine capsules leads to an increase in body weight due to increased water retention. This can be up to three kilograms.
If creatine is taken continuously in the form of capsules, a magnesium deficiency can occur, so that this mineral must be taken in addition. Some manufacturers recommend taking creatine capsules in combination with sugary drinks or short-chain carbohydrates. This is said to stimulate insulin secretion in the body and make creatine absorbed faster. This assumption has not yet been sufficiently investigated.
What are the side effects of creatine capsules?
Creatine is an organic substance that the body can produce itself. Accordingly, the side effects of creatine are limited. Nevertheless, every body reacts individually to the supplementation of creatine.
- 20% of the population are so-called “non-responders” – they do not respond to creatine at all.
- An inevitable and unavoidable side effect of creatine is a weight gain of up to three kilograms. This is caused by creatine storing water.
- Even though this is normally harmless, the pressure in the cells increases with the additional water. This slightly increases the risk of injury.
- In some cases, intolerances may occur, which can manifest themselves as abdominal pain, nausea, flatulence, diarrhoea, vomiting or bad breath. Studies have shown that such side effects occur particularly during the loading phase, when creatine is taken in very high doses.
- In addition, muscle cramps can occur because creatine binds free magnesium.
- People with kidney disease must consult their doctor before taking creatine. Creatine is utilized via the kidneys – too high a value can lead to further kidney damage or even kidney failure if the kidneys are damaged.