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10 Things to Avoid When Taking Creatine

by
author image Emma Watkins
Emma Watkins writes on finance, fitness and gardening. Her articles and essays have appeared in "Writer's Digest," "The Writer," "From House to Home," "Big Apple Parent" and other online and print venues. Watkins holds a Master of Arts in psychology.
10 Things to Avoid When Taking Creatine
Creatine is vital to the production of the energy that powers muscles. Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Your body makes chains of amino acids to create new proteins, and creatine is one such amino acid. You can produce your own supply of creatine, and the nutrient is also present in meats. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe creatine supplements to help with a medical condition or to treat a deficiency. Do not supplement without medical supervision, and follow your doctor’s instructions to avoid potential health problems.

Overdosing

10 Things to Avoid When Taking Creatine
Follow your doctor’s prescription. Photo Credit Dynamic Graphics/Creatas/Getty Images

Follow your doctor’s prescription regarding dosage and frequency when taking creatine. According to MedlinePlus, it is possible that high doses of the amino acid cause kidney, heart and liver damage, although this is still under study.

Exceeding Treatment Duration

10 Things to Avoid When Taking Creatine
Creatine supplements are available without a doctor’s prescription, but do not take them longer than your physician recommends. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Creatine supplements are available without a doctor’s prescription, but do not take them longer than your physician recommends. Six months is usually the maximum durantion to prevent side effects, which include muscle discomfort, diarrhea, weight gain, hypertension, liver and kidney problems as well as dizziness.

Low Water Intake

10 Things to Avoid When Taking Creatine
Drink at least 64 ounces of water daily to make up for the fluid loss and prevent dehydration. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images

Most of the creatine you take finds its way to your muscles. From there, it pulls water from the other parts of your body into the muscle fiber. Drink at least 64 ounces of water daily to make up for the fluid loss and prevent dehydration.

Becoming Overheated

10 Things to Avoid When Taking Creatine
While you are on creatine supplements, avoid working out in hot conditions. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images

While you are on creatine supplements, avoid working out in hot conditions. Go to an air-conditioned gym or work out outside very early in the morning or past sundown. Because creatine takes fluid from other areas of your body and deposits it in your muscles, you can become dehydrated quickly if you exercise in the heat.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

10 Things to Avoid When Taking Creatine
Avoid pregnancy and breastfeeding for the duration of your treatment to be on the safe side. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

The science is incomplete on the effects of creatine on fetuses and infants. However, MedlinePlus recommends avoiding pregnancy and breastfeeding for the duration of your treatment to be on the safe side.

Obscure Brand Names

10 Things to Avoid When Taking Creatine
Ask your doctor for a recommendation on brand or vendor. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images

The University of Maryland Medical Center cites reports of contaminated creatine supplements. The clinic recommends that you buy products from well-known companies to minimize the risk of getting a tainted item. Ask your doctor for a recommendation on brand or vendor.

NSAIDs

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs -- NSAIDs -- are a class of pain relievers that also reduce fever and inflammation; ibuprofen is one such medicine. When you take creatine and a NSAID, you increase the potential for kidney damage. Ask your doctor in advance which painkiller is safe in case you need it.

Caffeine and Ephedra

MedlinePlus reports the case of an athlete who had a stroke after taking creatine, caffeine and ephedra for six weeks. Other supplements were also part of the patient’s regimen, making the evidence against the three-substance blend less than firm. Nevertheless, be cautious and get a doctor’s advice before taking the same combination.

Diuretics

10 Things to Avoid When Taking Creatine
Diuretics are drugs formulated to remove excess water from your bloodstream to ease the pressure against the walls of your veins. Photo Credit Liquidlibrary/liquidlibrary/Getty Images

Diuretics are drugs formulated to remove excess water from your bloodstream to ease the pressure against the walls of your veins. Creatine also redirects fluids into the muscles. Thus, when you take diuretics and creatine concurrently, you increase the potential for dehydration and kidney damage.

Other Drugs

Two other drugs -- cimetidine for ulcers and probenecid for gout -- combined with creatine raise the risk for kidney damage. Disclose to your doctor all prescription and over-the-counter items you take to avoid harmful interactions.

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