T Nation

Creatine and Blood Pressure


#1

Since creatine causes the body to "hold"water so to speak, can it cause a increase in blood pressure?


#2

If anything, very tiny raise. But we're talkin tiny, almost immeasurable.

-Dan


#3

No. If that were the case, carb loading would cause an increase in blood pressure. Your body is more than equipped to handle small fluctuations in the compartmental division of water within your body.


#4

I saw my family Dr. a few months ago and my BP was high 140/90. He asked me if I was taking creatine since he knows I work out. He said he has been telling his pts who lift to stop taking creatine because it can cause high blood pressure. Does he not know what he's talking about? Supposedly he "read" this info somewhere. I'd assume it was a medical journal. Key word ASSUME!


#5

OMG, it's a supplement used by people trying to put on muscle... it's the devil, it's the devil, run away!


#6

I know, I know. The problem is, 9 times out of 10 a suppliment will ask to speak to a physician before taking it. Normally printed on the back in the smallest font know to man. So what's a guy to do? Bounce around (paying $10.00 per visit) until I find a doc that says "Sure this suppliment is just fine to use." Not that I'm into the practice of doing so, but I do get concerned when my doc says "BP is high? Then stop taking creatine." Not to mention there is a good amount of cardiac history in my family


#7

Isn't blood pressure somewhat correlated with body mass and of course the regular risk factors like smoking, drinking, having fun and so forth?


#8

So, the conclusion is to ignore the fact that this runs in the family and blame a supplement? The truth is, unless your doctor lifts weights (and there are some out there) he will have the same mindset as the general public as far as muscle gains or anything related to it...ie. that it is very bad and will kill you. I have seen no study or lab report connecting creatine supplementation with high blood pressure. His leap is like connecting kidney disease with creatine use simply because both involve increased creatiNINE levels.


#9

Yea and those studies are bogus too because again people misconstrue correlation with causality. I.e. in kidney disease you see an increase creatinine and when creatine is supplemented you get an increase in creatinine, hence creatine must cause kidney disease right? haha.

Another thing not mentioned is that people who take creatine generally have radically different diets and lifestyles(duh, right? too bad the docs don't put this together), and I want to say that there is a belief that an increase in protein in the diet correlates with an increase in blood pressure.


#10

No, the conclusion is in addition to family hx of hypertension, I don't need another potential risk factor to increase my risk for a heart attack.

So, theres no literature saying that creatine is linked to hypertension. Great. Could someone produce an article for me that says creatine won't cause hypertension? Any help would be greatly appreciated. I have a bunch of this stuff at home and I'd like to continue to use it.


#11

Kreider RB, et al. Long-term creatine supplementation does not significantly affect clinical markers of health in athletes. Mol Cell Biochem. 2003 Feb;244(1-2):95-104

This study showed long term creatine use for 21 months did not influence blood studies (metabolic markers, muscle and liver enzymes, electrolytes, lipid profiles, hematological markers, and lymphocytes).

Tell your doctor to show you studies that creatine DOES increase blood pressure. Write back as to his response.


#12

I had high blood pressure while I was taking creatine. I then stopped taking creatine for 6 months to see if that was the cause. At the end of the 6 months I still had high blood pressure. So now I take medication for it.


#13

I don't mean to imply that caution isn't good in such a situation, but I don't think every substance on the planet has been tested for every possible medical condition.

Though I see ProfX did find a study...


#14

Thanks for the info. Having concrete evidence is re-assuring.

If I were to tell the average (non T-Nation reader) person that I decided to forgo the the advice of my medical doctor in favor of the advice of an internet forum, They'd think I was an idiot! Having this medical literature proves that I didn't eat paint chips as a kid.

 FYI, last week I had my BP rechecked. It was 128/80. Oh and did I mention that between these BP checks, I got married? (6/24/06). I know thats why my BP was high, but now I can resume using creatine and not worry about hypertension. Thanks!

#15

To a degree, it is. You have to be careful with the "body mass" portion. Fat is a risk factor. In my experience, strength athletes with greater than normal muscle mass don't have a problem with an increased incidence of high BP. Creatine shouldn't cause any problems with BP.

Some people with high blood pressure are noted to carry slightly more volume INTRAVASCULARLY. Since creatine is stored intramuscularly, it should pull volume out of the circulation, if anything. Remember the laws of osmosis.


#16

Your blood pressure is still too high. Current recommendations are BELOW 120/80. The lower the better. If you have a strong family history of heart disease, it is particularly important for you to keep it down. Fish oil can drop BP a bit, and will also improve your lipid profile. Flame Out is a good choice.

If you don't do much cardio, consider adding it to your regimen. 30-45 minutes 4-5X a week. I know it can impact muscle growth, but that can be countered by consuming a protein drink immediately after aerobic exercise.

BTW, I am a hypertensive who takes creatine. I monitor my blood pressure closely, and saw no rise at all when adding creatine.


#17

Here's something for you fellas to consider which may or may not be of value to you:

I was diagnosed with high bp by my primary care phys for over 2 years. True to western medicine philosophy, every time I had a checkup or a cold...or ANYTHING he'd try to get me on high BP meds, but I resisted (my BP was in the 140 over 90 range).

Last fall I experienced a training injury and went to an orthopedic surgeon for a consult. The nurse took my BP and stated that sure enough, I had the same readings. She then apologized and stated that she had used the wrong cuff, and reiterated that they have bigger cuffs for their 'weight lifting patients'.

She switched the cuff and my top reading dropped to 129 - still not ideal but within normal range. My next visit to the Primary Care doc was interesting to say the least (we had some words), as my assumption was correct - they had been using a 'normal sized' cuff for my BP (I probably have average arms for T-Nation readers, 17" range)

I instructed him to use a larger cuff and received a top reading in the 120's - this is worth noting the next time you get checked. It may or may not be of consequence depending on your provider.

One last thing - I was able to drop another 7 points off my average by cutting down on my Diet Soda intake (the sodium content is brutal), as well as my total caffeine intake (now reserved for AM and only pre-workout), and in turn increasing my water intake to at least 1 gallon a day.

Make doubly sure that you're not injesting ANY caffeine or pre-workout stims, or working out - within 6-8 hours of getting your BP checked as all can dramatically skew your readings.

My NEW primary care doc is actually a creatine user himself - an active lifter and athlete and stays up to date on the latest journals, and, as we do, see NO reason to NOT take creatine, and in fact agrees with all of the benefits that T-Nation writers have been stating for years.

I asked him the same BP / Creatine cause and affect question myself, and he stated that the only reason creatine could cause a measurable increase in BP is as has been discussed - an insufficient fluid intake/dehydration, in which case a number of agents can raise BP.


#18

The cuff size is most definately overlooked a lot of times. The cuff should initially be loose, and tighten as it inflates. There are markings on the professional cuffs that will indicate whether it is an appropriate cuff.

In addition to cuff size, it is important that your doc hold your arm as the BP is checked. Your arm should be 100% relaxed. You should have no role in elevating your arm. If you have a home cuff do a little test. Check it with your fist clenched and then check it with the arm relaxed. You will see a big difference.

I don't know why people are so resistant to taking BP meds. They most definitely decrease risk of heart attack and stroke. In addition, high bloop pressure over time leads to arterial hypertrophy and loss of compliance. One of the side effects of this is erectile dysfunction......

In athletes, the proper functioning of your vascular endothelium is important. Consider medications like ACE inhibitors or ARBs (Angiotensin 2 receptor blockers) which normalize function of the vessels, don't cause many problems with fatigue, sexual dysfunction, etc. and reduce your risk of heart attack. HCTZ is a great choice as well. A mild diuretic, it may help you cut up (OK, not really).

Think long term. I encourage younger people to make the appropriate lifestyle modifications first. If you are on T-Nation, you most likely exercise. Drop some extra adipose tissue, it is amazing the effect 10 lbs of fat loss can make on BP readings.

Throw in some extra cardio. Fish Oil (Flame Out) can reduce BP modestly. If thise things don't work, I talk about meds. They can add a few years to your life.


#19

I am not sure where you got your standards from, but 120/80 is not "borderline high blood pressure". That number is still closer to 145/95. They just INCREASED the line at which we can call patients as being hypertensive over a year ago.

Unless the military is operating under completely different standards, you are a little off. I don't know anyone who would start worrying about someone's blood pressure if they were highly active and simply read at 125/83.


#20

The line was actually recently DECREASED. The JNC VII (Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure) is considered the "Ultimate Authority" on hypertension. Above 120 is now considered "pre-hypertensive".

It is likely that they will decrease that again when the JNC VIII comes out.

Here is a link to an article about it on the American Heart Association page
www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3011728

I think, since I am hypertensive myself, and have a special interest in the pathophysiology and treatment of the disease, that I tend to be a bit more aggressive. I keep mine below 110/70. There is a direct relationship between the decrease in blood pressure and the decrease in heart attack/stroke. There is no point below which there is no further reduction in risk.