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Ask the Scientist
Jeff Golini is the owner of All American Pharmaceuticals and EFX Sports. He is a former competitive bodybuilder based in Venice Beach, but he’s also been in the supplement industry as a formulator, patent creator and manufacturer since the 80s. He has a PhD, and lives in Montana where he owns and runs a supplement factory. Jeff’s most famous for coming up with the idea of adding acid buffering ingredients to creatine monohydrate to help ease the damage the stomach acids have on the creatine you consume. This novel idea has created a massive following of buffered creatine users all over the world! Facebook. Instagram, YouTube
The Dangers of Creatinine
Creatinine, not to be confused with the supplement creatine, is a “bio-waste” formed as creatine is metabolized in the body. However, this compound is also produced from unstable creatine activated in fluids, sometimes even before it’s ingested.
In the presence of normal kidney function, serum creatinine levels are closely monitored via a series of physiological regulators in the body. But, when creatinine is ingested, associated metabolic abnormalities can be observed both in vitro and in vivo, in both animals and humans.
Lis and Bijan (1970) observed that creatinine had a sedating property when it was injected into mice. Similarly, Giovanetti (et al., 1969) demonstrated that dogs could be chronically intoxicated by injecting them with creatinine. In addition to observing how these animals expressed abnormal behavior, creatinine was also responsible for a significant decrease in the survival time of their red blood cells.
The addition of creatinine to normal human blood initiated a significant increase in spontaneous rupture of red blood cells, called hemolysis. This same red cell lysing (or breakdown) pattern was observed in normal human volunteers who had ingested creatinine. Balestri’s research in 1970 gave us further evidence of this potential membrane-associated molecular blockade by showing that creatinine was able to effectively inhibit glucose utilization by red blood cells.
It has been postulated that exposure to dietary creatinine may play a very significant part in the initiation of cancer (most probably bowel and bladder cancer) in man. (Doll and Peto, 1981; Felton, et al., 1994). Creatinine’s ability to cause chromosomal damage and mutations in cultured cells has been confirmed, as has its carcinogenicity in mice and rats (Aeschbacher, 1991) and, in one instance, in monkeys (Adamson, et al., Felton et al. 1994).
Creatinine is also thought to be the major cause of kidney failure. Studies (such as Rooney, et al., 2002), using both animals and humans, have reported kidney damage from the ingesting of creatinine. Edmund’s (et al., 2001) studies, using a rat model of cystic kidney disease, reported that when regular creatine monohydrate supplementation was given, larger and faster cyst growth and exacerbation of disease progression was observed.
Understand that kidney failure is a cumulative deterioration process. This means it shows up gradually, and only after a substantial percentage of the organ has suffered irreversible damage.
So what does all this mean? We need to be very careful not to ingest unstable creatine products. Furthermore, we also must be very careful how we prepare our foods. Red meat, for example, naturally contains creatine. Cooking it at high temperatures can convert its creatine to creatinine (The Dangers of Creatinine by Jeff Golini, 2006).
It should be obvious that ingesting unnecessary creatinine is potentially dangerous, especially for those with kidney issues.
Just so I don’t scare you away from using creatine, one of the best and most effective supplements ever, remember this. There’s only one patented, stable creatine: Kre-Alkalyn®.
For more from Dr. Golini and his stance on Creatine, check out his column here!