Is Creatine Safe? [Kidneys, Liver, Heart + More!]

Ever since Richard released his recent video on the safety of Creatine.

People have been asking me in my weekly Q&As to give my take on the matter, knowing my science-based approach.

Now, I am not going to rehash the performance benefits of creatine, specifically, with this video — I’ve covered that topic more than once before.

For instance, in this video, which I will link below.

I recommend you check that video out!

This video, rather, will take a look at one specific concern people seem to express: will creatine wreck your kidneys? Or other organs?

Before I begin, I do want to note some things: two different pieces of research have demonstrated that creatine consumption among vegetarians and vegans, specifically, leads to significant improvements in word recall, reaction times, and working memory.

Basically, creatine is good for your brain. However, those cognitive benefits were not witnessed among omnivores in the same research.

The reasoning is, that since meat contains high amounts of creatine, omnivores do not benefit from creatine supplementation in the way that vegans would.

And this is one example of a non-sport-performance benefit from creatine supplementation for vegans.

Thus, I personally feel that this makes creatine use relevant for any vegan, not just athletic vegans.

In at least two other studies, it was demonstrated that creatine “energetically recharges” the skin, and offers significant protection against a variety of cellular stress conditions, like oxidative and UV damage, as well as age-related DNA mutations.

Furthermore, research demonstrates that creatine supplementation appears to have neuroprotective benefits, at least in several animal studies. Protecting against neurological diseases such as Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, and ALS — also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Granted those benefit were witnessed in the animal model, so we can’t say for certain they will be seen in humans. More research is needed.

That same paper also hypothesized that oral creatine supplementation may also lower one’s risk of coronary heart disease or stroke, since creatine can decrease homocysteine production.

So… creatine can benefit your brain, your skin, and your heart!

But, does creatine supplementation hurt your kidneys? Luckily, we have research looking into this matter specifically!

According to a 2013 randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled Brazilian study — in short, that answer is no.

That study involved 26 healthy, weight-trained males in their twenties, who either consumed creatine or placebo for 12 weeks.

The creatine users consumed 20 grams per day for the first 5 days, followed by 5 grams per day for the remainder of the study.

All subjects consumed a high-protein diet, going up as high as 1.41 grams per pound of bodyweight per day.

Assessments were taken at the start of the study and the end, including blood work. Urine was also collected daily for analysis.

In conclusion, creatine supplementation did not impair kidney function, nor did it affect the amount of protein, urea or electrolytes in the blood of the healthy, resistance-trained subjects.

In another study, this time on 23 American college Football players, who consumed between 5 and 20 grams of creatine monohydrate per day, it was found that creatine had no long-term detrimental effects on either kidney OR liver function.

It is, therefore, reasonable to conclude that creatine is safe for healthy individuals. And, I want to stress that… healthy!

You see, in people with a history of renal disease, or those taking medications which may compromise the kidneys, creatine intake may be associated with an increased risk of renal dysfunction, and should be avoided.

There was at least one reported case of acute renal failure, in a 20 year old male with existing kidney issues, who had consumed 20 grams per day of creatine over a four week period.

But, as I said, if you’re otherwise healthy — this should not be an issue. But, of course, always consult with your doctor. I am not a doctor!

And ensure you follow labeling directions, most notably to drink plenty of water with your creatine intake: more specifically, 8-12 oz. of water per 5 grams of creatine that you ingest.

Anecdotally, I have been taking 5 to 15 grams of creatine monohydrate, per day, since 2009.

Depending on whether it’s a rest or training day. And I’ve had no breaks! And I do not “cycle off” from creatine use.

Thus far, and knock on wood, I’ve not had any kidney issues. And my yearly physicals, since going vegan at least, have been spotless!

Now, that’s just my own anecdote, but I still wanted to put it out there.

Anyhow… that’s all I have to say on this… at least for now.

Please like and share this video — to spread the good word.

And don’t forget to hit that subscribe button below, to keep on top of regular updates on my channel.

And that includes my ever-popular weekly Q&A events… held live, right here. Every Sunday!

Also, drop some comments below, and share your thought.

If you’d like to ask me something directly though, please head over to my blog at stronger faster vegan dot com… and drop a comment under the appropriate blog entry.

I will link that below for your convenience.

Otherwise, I will see you all around next time!

REFERENCES

Vegan Gains’ “Is Creatine Safe?” video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6ctIUoOEEQ

My “ASK CORY: What If I NEVER Took Supplements?” video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPKPNKcJ_ec

Your Brain on Creatine https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201202/your-brain-creatine

The creatine kinase system in human skin: protective effects of creatine against oxidative and UV damage in vitro and in vivo. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15675966

Creatine supplementation normalizes mutagenesis of mitochondrial DNA as well as functional consequences. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16098029

Health implications of creatine: can oral creatine supplementation protect against neurological and atherosclerotic disease? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12044443

Does long-term creatine supplementation impair kidney function in resistance-trained individuals consuming a high-protein diet? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23680457

Effects of creatine supplementation on renal function. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15273072

Effects of long-term creatine supplementation on liver and kidney functions in American college football players. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12500988

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