If you’re a member of the gout community, you may have heard cautionary tales about Creatine. While rumors suggest a link between creatinine synthesis and gout (1), it’s crucial to differentiate between hearsay and hard science. Contrary to some beliefs, there isn’t concrete evidence that ties Creatine supplementation directly to gout flare-ups. Let’s explore the relationship between Creatine and gout to clarify the myths and truths of this debated duo.
How To Talk About Gout
Before we can discuss the relationship between Creatine and gout, we first need to understand the mechanics behind gout. In simple terms, gout is a type of painful inflammation in the joints. It is a type of arthritis that occurs when uric acid crystals build up around the joints. When gout causes pain in a joint, it is called a gout flare-up, and can sometimes make you wake up in the middle of the night. While gout management often relies on dietary changes to reduce uric acid, don’t be fooled. Uric acid isn’t the villain it’s made out to be.
Introducing A Double Agent: Uric Acid
Comprised of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen, Uric Acid is a byproduct that results from the breakdown of purines in foods. While its “waste product” title may make you want to turn against it, uric acid also moonlights as a guardian antioxidant in our bloodstream, shielding us from pesky free radicals. But, it has a dark side: Uric acid can also manifest as a “pro-oxidant,” potentially inducing damage. Think of uric acid as a superhero with a clumsy streak: sure, they save the day, but they might knock down a building or two in the process.
Therefore, it’s important to keep uric acid levels low. When uric acid levels get too high, this double agent makes itself at home in your joints and can cause gout. Fortunately, you can flush out uric acid with the aid of ingredients like Garlic and Tart Cherry, without having to worry about having uric acid levels that are too low. Hypouricemia (low uric acid) has no known symptoms and is considered safe, but should still be investigated by a doctor (2).
The Creatine-Gout Connection
Creatine is most popularly taken by individuals who are looking to boost their muscle mass. This supplement helps to boost endurance and support building lean muscle mass. A study in “Annals of the Rheumatic Disease” found that uric acid levels and Creatine levels were correlated in men with and without gout (3). There are three reasons that Creatine supplementation is believed to interact with uric acid levels:
1. Water Matters: Creatine’s Hydration Demand
Creatine is usually directed into the muscles where it promotes water retention. This means that when a person supplements with Creatine, their hydration needs increase. However, if a person increases their Creatine intake and doesn’t hydrate properly, their body won’t have the fluids to flush out uric acid.
2. Unpacking the Purine Presence in Creatine Foods
Creatine-rich foods often contain significant purines. Since uric acid is released by breaking down purines, a diet heavy in Creatine might inadvertently boost uric acid levels, allowing gout to settle in.
3. Beyond Muscle: Creatine’s Effect on Exercise Intensity
Creatine isn’t just muscle food; it enhances workouts. But, intense workouts can spike short-term iron levels (4). Some studies suggest a connection between Creatine use, increased iron, and consequently, raised uric acid (5). The theory is that uric acid might be acting the hero, guarding against potential iron-induced harm.
Creatine doesn’t welcome gout into the body, but it does make it easier for gout to enter. An increase in Creatine may cause an increase in gout flare-ups by indirectly elevating uric acid levels. Insufficient hydration, purine-rich foods, and exercise intensity can all contribute to elevated uric acid levels. Therefore, individuals seeking workout enhancements might want to consider Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) as an alternative to Creatine. BCAAs are known for aiding muscle recovery and enhancing exercise performance without the associated risks of elevating uric acid levels. Additionally, if gout’s been a pesky guest in your life, try talking to your doctor about a supplement that keeps those uric acid levels in check.
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