Creatine supplementation could contribute to dehydration and heatstroke in some people, according to “Nutrition for Health, Fitness and Sport” by Melvin H. Williams. Dehydration occurs when the body has inadequate fluid, and heatstroke is a medical emergency related to elevated body temperature. Therefore, it is important to understand the requirement of drinking enough water when supplementing with creatine.
Creatine is made in the liver and obtained through animal-based foods. Creatine is stored in muscle tissue and used to form energy during short-duration, high-intensity activities lasting less than 30 seconds. Examples include sprinting, jumping and weightlifting. The average adult creates 1 g of creatine internally and ingests an additional 1 g of creatine per day. For some people, consuming creatine supplements will increase creatine storage and improve performance during high-intensity activity.
Creatine and Water Weight
Creatine increases water weight by pulling water into the muscles. An increase in intramuscular water content could dilute electrolytes or increase the risk of muscle tears due to muscle tightness. According to “Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook,” excess creatine is processed by the liver and removed by the kidneys. In addition to providing proper hydration, adequate water intake supports the processing and removal of creatine substrates from the body.
Proper hydration promotes food digestion, cellular function, temperature regulation and elimination of waste. The average adult should drink 8 cups of water per day. You should drink 8 to 10 cups of water per day when supplementing with creatine. The increased activity usually performed during creatine supplementation also increases daily water need. “Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook” suggests increasing your water intake if you are urinating infrequently and in small amounts.
Creatine is considered one of the most popular sport supplements. Although creatine can increase exercise performance, those increases will be offset by improper hydration. Signs of dehydration include dizziness, muscle cramps, headache, thirst and weakness.
Creatine supplementation should be done in an informed manner. Maintaining proper hydration with creatine intake promotes safety and proper body function. Although creatine is widely supported by fitness professionals, it does not work for everyone. Consult a doctor before starting any new supplementation program.
- “Nutrition for Health, Fitness and Sport”; Melvin H. Williams; 2007
- Mayo Clinic: Creatine
- American Council on Exercise: Creatine Creates a Sensation
- “Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook”; Nancy Clark; 2003