So far we have learned how great taking creatine as a supplement can really be. The increase in power and performance in the gym, and with other athletic ventures is a huge plus.
But what about our moods, and our mental health? Both of these topics are hot button issues that should be taken seriously in society today.
So it’s important to note, that several clinical trials and other medical and scientific studies show that creatine does appear to have an effect on our overall moods and mental health.
Unfortunately, those side effects happen to not be positive. (Please see the studies regarding unipolar depression, and the small benefit creatine played as a result.)
*** If you are experiencing a depressive episode or need immediate help please call your primary physician or dial 911***
Does it mess with your hormones?
I’m going to break it down into easy to digest categories, all with the information that has been sourced and medically reviewed in the Livestrong article.
- Neurotransmitter function: When studied it has been shown that creatine can affect the production of our brain’s neurotransmitters.
- What are neurotransmitters?: Neurotransmitters are hormone- like chemical compounds produced in our brain that control and have hormonal and neurological effects on our bodies.
- Dopamine: Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for our feelings and emotions that are responsible for motivation and pleasure. This can be affected with the presence of CP, or Creatine Phosphate in the brain, dopamine is then lowered with an increase in CP.
- Creatine Phosphate: When a creatinine molecule binds with a phosphate molecule. It can have some benefits such as improved memory, but it also comes with the side effects that are listed above.
- Serotonin: Serotonin is a compound that is also produced in your brain. In reference with the “Journal of Hyperplasia Research”, this compound is often found in all throughout your central nervous system, and blood platelets.
- Creatine & Serotonin: When an excessive amount of creatine is suddenly present in your brain, your serotonin levels may then be lessened or suppressed which then increases your risk of developing the unpleasant symptoms that come with those low serotonin levels. Those symptoms can be: weight gain, depression, a harder or diminished time learning, and increased insulin secretion.
- Other things to know about creatine: Creatine use has not been studied in children and teens. The American College of Sports Medicine, as well as the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, suggests and strongly recommends that creatine supplements are not to be used in those under the age of eighteen years old. It’s also very important for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or thinking about becoming pregnant in the near future should also refrain from taking creatine.
Creatine can also cause dehydration, as the water is being pulled and sourced for use in building in your muscles. It’s important to not take diuretics while on a creatine supplement regime, and to keep your level of fluids increased.
It’s also best to avoid caffeine as that can lead to dehydration.
Will it give you mood swings?
When your levels of dopamine are lowered an increase in the symptoms that are closely associated with schizophrenia, depression and other psychosis can happen.
It’s important to understand your own mental health, and medical conditions before starting creatine supplements, as they are not recommended for those who suffer from those conditions.
As always, make sure you check with your primary physician before starting creatine supplements if you have any questions.
According to cdc.gov, more than 50% of Americans will be diagnosed with a mental illness or a disorder at some point in their lives.
Around 1 in every 5 Americans will develop or experience a depressive episode or mental illness in a given year. So it’s important to be mindful of this before starting a creatine supplement and look for new or worsening symptoms.
Unfortunately, depression is a condition that affects many Americans, young and old alike.
There have been small studies that showed minor improvement to those who suffer from a unipolar type depression, (but not other forms of mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar), when given doses of a creatine supplement.
But for most participants those results again confirmed that creatine supplements can increase those mood disorders and make them significantly worse.
In the study published at pubmed, a group of 10 people, 8 of those suffering from one mental health issue, and 2 who have bipolar, (all 10 so far had been resistant to treatment for their depression), were given 3-5 grams a day of creatine.
As a result, one patient felt better and then left the study, so they could no longer be studied. Sadly, the two participants who suffered from bipolar developed worse mania, and hypomania.
The rest of the participants in this study said they felt they had minor improvements in their moods. This particular study came to the conclusion that those who had minor or non bipolar depression felt a small beneficial increase.
But as predicted those who had bipolar disorder did have an increase in those negative side effects that are often associated with creatine use and the effect they have on disorders involving mental illness and mental health.
In a study done with women, (those participating were not pregnant, or breastfeeding), aged 19-65 years that were diagnosed with depressive disorder were either given lexapro, (medication used to treat depression), with an additive of a placebo, or with 5 grams a day of creatine.
In good news those taking the addition of creatine had an overall boost in mood, which meant a decrease in depressive episodes. Those taking a placebo had a small drop in their score of depression as well, but not as significant as those taking the creatine.
Will it improve your mood?
So far, with that the research tells us, no. In fact an article on www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, tells us that creatine supplements can increase the risk of major multifaceted depressive episodes or mania.
Mania is usually symptoms of different mental health disorders such as; bipolar or schizophrenia.
Mania is periods of extreme bliss and excitement, delusions and overactivity.