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Creatine

Since research shows that creatine can help to strengthen muscles, athletes who take these supplements need to know how much they can take safely before they harm themselves. When you exercise and your muscles get as much oxygen as they need, they burn carbohydrates, fats and protein for energy. When you exercise so intensely that you cannot get all the oxygen you need, your muscles use creatine and ATP. So when you exercise so intensely that you can't get enough oxygen, you can delay fatigue by taking creatine and it allows you to do more work, which makes you stronger.

Taking too much creatine can cause weight gain, increased insulin production and possibly kidney damage. High levels of insulin constrict arteries to cause heart attacks and affect the brain and liver to make you fat. The chemical process of extracting creatine in the laboratory forms toxic contaminants called dicyandiamide and dihydrotriazines, that have to be removed before humans can take them safely. Furthermore, the sarcosine used to make creatine comes from cow tissue that may contain prions that cause mad-cow disease and brain damage. The French government prohibits the sale of products containing creatine.

The body of a 160 pound man contains 120 g of creatine and he takes in and uses around 2 grams a day. Taking in three time that or 6 grams a day may harm him. So let the buyer beware. Creatine may allow you to lift more weights which can make you stronger, but it comes with a price. Large doses of another muscle strengthener, anabolic steroids, have caused liver and heart damage and sudden death in athletes who have taken them.

The latest concern about these supplements is that creatine is one of the substances that is converted by bacteria in your intestines to TMAO, which harms arteries. See Why Meat Eaters Have More Heart Attacks and More on TMAO.

Creatine as nutritional supplementation and medicinal product. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 2001, Vol 41, Iss 1, pp 1-10. G Benzi, A Ceci. Address: Benzi G, Univ Pavia, Fac Sci, Dept Physiol Pharmacol Sci, Piazza Botta 11, I-27100 Pavia, ITALY

Checked 3/9/17

May 12th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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