Creatine monohydrate is a naturally occurring amino acid that is present in the human body and a few select foods.
Because creatine monohydrate helps to improve muscle performance, some athletes take it in the form of supplements.
Since it is important to maintain healthy blood and urine creatine levels, all orally ingested creatine supplements should be taken in moderation.
When taken as a supplement, creatine monohydrate must be taken several times over the course of a single day in order to be effective.
This sometimes leads to negative side effects as it must be taken on an empty stomach in order to be absorbed.
Creatine monohydrate is considered to be the most basic form of creatine that is currently being sold as a supplement.
More complex creatine formulations such as buffered creatine and tri-creatine malate are said to be more effective. However, scientific testing has largely been inconclusive.
How does creatine monohydrate work?
All forms of creatine do two things. First, when creatine is processed in human muscle tissue, it causes creatinine to be formed. This waste product is then removed from the blood and eliminated throughout the course of the day.
The second thing that creatine does is give the muscles energy. When the muscle system is utilized, each individual muscle will contract and release.
Protein is responsible for rebuilding the tears found in muscles after strenuous exercise, but one of the main components, creatine, gives the muscle system fuel. If you eat approximately the same amount of protein each day and exercise in regular intervals, your creatine levels will remain relatively unchanged.
Creatine monohydrate can be introduced to the body by way of supplements to cause an increase both creatine levels and ATP production.
Is it safe to take creatine monohydrate supplements?
Many creatine supplement manufacturers have produced literature stating that there is no safety risk associated with creatine supplements. However, because creatine is a derivative of protein, supplements containing high amounts of creatine can put strain on the kidneys.
If you are on any type of medication that is filtered through the kidneys, you may not be able to safely take creatine monohydrate or any other creatine supplement. Anyone under 18 years of age should be extremely cautious when taking creatine supplements.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information has published a long term medical study on the affects of creatine supplements. Although few cases of permanent kidney damage were reported, most doctors feel that creatine supplements should only be taken when the patient is being monitored regularly.
Are there any negative side effects associated with creatine monohydrate?
Taking too much creatine monohydrate can cause your kidneys to go into overdrive. Because creatine supplement makers instruct users to ingest creatine several times a day for better absorption rates, the kidneys will be forced to work much harder. If you have any underlying kidney problems, creatine monohydrate supplements can exasperate your symptoms.
Besides the potential long term side effects of taking creatine monohydrate supplements, other unpleasant but mild side effects can occur. Diarrhea, upset stomach and nausea have been reported by some creatine monohydrate users.
In order to combat these potential side effects, it is recommended that you take a small amount of creatine monohydrate initially and slowly increase the dosage over time.
What happens if you ingest too many creatine monohydrate supplements?
Taking too high a dose of creatine monohydrate, or too many creatine supplements at the same time can lead to kidney failure. More often, severe dehydration occurs when users overdose on creatine monohydrate supplements. You should drink plenty of water and exercise normally in order to absorb and burn off the additional creatine monohydrate supplements that you take.
There are some major medical risks associated with creatine supplements, although serious complications rarely occur. If you discuss your medical history with your doctor prior to taking creatine monohydrate, you should be able to avoid developing kidney disorders.
Where can creatine monohydrate be purchased?
Creatine monohydrate is a fairly popular type of creatine, therefore it is easy to find this supplement in health food stores or online. Although not available by prescription, you can buy creatine monohydrate directly from bulk distributors or from health supplement retailers.
It is important that you take a pure form of creatine monohydrate. You can read the list of ingredients of virtually any supplement prior to purchase, whether you buy them online or at a local store.