Creatine supplement, is it safe?

I started taking creatine a few months ago. Two day ago I took a blood test and it showed that my creatinine level is above normal. I think this is probably a result of the creatine supplement intake. Should I stop taking creatine?

When was the blood test in relation to recent workouts?

I had a break from cycling for four days because I felt fatigued and overtrained. However I kept doing 20 minutes morning run every day, so they took blood sample an hour after my morning run.

I was curious because creatinine is released during the breakdown of muscle. So if one were to do a heavy gym session and have blood drawn an hour later they are likely to see elevated creatinine levels. For a 20min run? Who knows. MorePlatesMoreDates on youtube has some videos where, I believe, he says looking at other methods for estimating glomerular filtration rate work better for body builder types. Interestingly, this page also says creatine supplementation may affect GFR estimates based on creatinine.

There are other methods to estimate GFR, but they are more expensive. Was your doctor concerned about the creatinine levels (assuming they knew about the creatine supplementation and time post-run)?

Glomerular Filtration Rate - Health Encyclopedia - University of Rochester Medical Center.

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Creatine is a very well researched item and has been found to be safe. A couple things to note about it though: 1) make sure you drink plenty of water, and 2) you will gain weight. It might not be worth it from a w/kg perspective unless you’re a track sprinter.

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Slightly elevated creatinine levels are completely normal when taking supplemental creatine.

Creatine is probably tied with caffeine for being the most heavily researched ergogenic aid in all of sports medicine. It’s safe and effective (safer than caffeine).

It terms of cycling specific outcomes the data are mixed, showing either no benefit or some benefit. I’m not aware of any papers showing negative outcomes, but it’s possible.

There is a weight gain element. This is not “bloating”, it’s an increase in intracellular water. In the context of muscle cells this means a more anabolic and hydrated environment.

Try it for 3 months and see for for yourself. If you like it, continue to take it. If you don’t, then stop taking it.

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You should run away from any doctor that suggests you stop taking creatine to improve kidney function as they obviously do not even underdtand the basics from med school…

We measure creatinine to estimate GFR because it’s cheap and easy as creatinine is produced at a constant rate and solely excreted by the kidneys. So creatinine levels in an average person correlate with GFR but there are some assumptions namely an average musculature and no exogenous creatine consumptiom)l. Creatinine underestimates GFR in very muscular persons and persons taking creatine and it overestimates GFR in frail sarcopenic persons

Cystatin c is a much better test for estimating GFR

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Did you test before you started taking the supplement, did you know that you had a deficiency?

Nope, this number never appeared in my tests before.

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I am already taking it for five months. I actually cannot say if there is a benefit. I did try creatine before, but gave up because I did not see a training benefit. The reason why I decided to try creatine again is because Dr. Andrew Huberman suggests that it is beneficial for brain activity, specifically to improve memory and cognition. I am a Software Engineer and it is important for me to keep my head clear.

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First I’ve heard of it. The widespread use and research on creatine is for strength gains.

I’d suggest reducing stress, optimising your daily routine, sleep, and nutrition will give you more gains than any supplement.

Also, in our industry there is no need to be brilliant, or at the top of your game. Your regular game is good enough. You are good enough as you are for your job.

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Here is the one that I found using google search:

And here is the podcast about benefits of creatine for brain health (the talk about creatine starts at 32:20):

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There’s a bit of research on non strength benefits of it discussed at stronger by science and the article he references (which itself brings up ‘similar’ articles that post date the stronger by science article). It pushed me a bit more towards taking creatine; and being realistic about how I’d do in an uphill TT anyhow. Other than the expected weight gain the only negative I’ve noticed anecdotally is a slight increase in cramps (annoying, but not disabling).

That said, I fully support the ‘good enough for your job’ sentiment. Though I just handed in notice the other day so I may be biased.

After some considerations I realized the following. When you train, muscles get damaged. Creatinine is one of the products of this process, which should be removed by kidneys. The fact that I had slightly elevated level of creatinine indicates that my kidneys did not work fast enough to remove the by-products of training.

That got me thinking that when talking about training and recovery everybody talks about muscles, but nobody talks about the fact that there are multiple organs in the body that participate in this process and what to do to keep them happy. How fast kidneys can remove by-products of training determines how much you can train. I guess liver also participates in this process. Maybe some other organs. When I have less energy and fatigue after a hard workout for a couple of days, it’s probably because of some stuff floating in the blood, which affects the brain, not sore muscles per se.

I do not reckon any discussion on the trainerroad podcast about these things. Also I do not think I ever heard about it. Everybody assumes that training and recovery is all about muscles. It is not.

That’s wrong. Creatinine clearance is constant, so when your creatinine levels increase due to exogenous creatine consumption of muscle damage creatinine levels will rise. This says nothing about your kidney function! it is still the same as it was when you had lower creatinine levels but no muscle damage.

If you ever encounter an MD that says what you just said, make sure they don’t become your MD as they obviously didn’t even get the basics in med school…