About Allergic Reactions to Creatine

Creatine is a performance-enhancing amino acid that has been used by professional and student athletes. About 95 percent of your body’s creatine is found in your skeletal muscles, MayoClinic.com notes. Because creatine is synthesized by your body, it seems like an ideal means of boosting performance without the risk of adverse reactions. Despite its benefits, creatine supplement use has been linked with allergic reactions, such as breathing and skin-related problems. Always consult your doctor before using creatine supplements to avoid potential adverse effects.

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A woman is drinking from a supplement bottle. (Image: Bogdanhoda/iStock/Getty Images)

Skin Allergic Reaction

Creatine supplement use sometimes triggers allergic reactions that affect your skin, such as itching and rashes, MayoClinic.com explains. Sometimes, this creatine causes hives. This allergic reaction is characterized by raised, red and itchy welts appearing across the surface of your skin. Applying cool compresses to the problem areas and taking antihistamines are possible forms of first aid if the reaction remains mild to moderate.

Impaired Breathing

Allergic reactions typically impair breathing because they cause your throat and facial areas to swell, Drugs.com notes. Your throat also sometimes closes as an allergic response to creatine supplement use. Severe allergic reactions sometimes completely impede breathing. Seek medical attention regardless of severity in order to lower risk of experiencing more severe allergic reactions. This is especially true once breathing has been impaired or compromised.

Anaphylaxis and Creatine Side Effects

Severe creatine allergic reactions considerably elevate your risk of developing anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that affects the whole body, MedlinePlus, a service of the National Institutes of Health, reports. Symptoms of anaphylaxis often develop within seconds or minutes. Some symptoms associated with anaphylaxis are palpitations, nausea, loss of consciousness and low blood pressure. Anaphylaxis sometimes causes pulmonary edema, or fluid in the lungs and is potentially fatal if left untreated. Side effects associated with creatine use include stomach upset, appetite loss, irritability, aggression, nervousness and diarrhea, MayoClinic.com notes.

Factors Affecting Allergic Reaction and Dose

Factors such as family history as well as number of allergen exposures affect your body's response to creatine, the University of Maryland Medical Center says. Allergies usually run in the family; anyone with a family history of allergies is more likely to be predisposed towards being allergic to creatine. Repeated exposure to the same allergen potentially leads to more severe allergic reactions. There is no recommended daily dose for creatine. However, a dose of 20 grams daily for about a week has been used to enhance athletic strength and performance. After a week, the maintenance dose drops to doses of 2 to 5 grams.

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