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Supplement Forms/Alternate Names:

  • Creatine monohydrate

Introduction

Creatine is a substance in the body that helps produce energy. It can be taken as a pill or powder. Creatine has been used to improve athletic performance and muscle strength.

Dosages

10 to 20 grams once daily

What Research Shows

Likely Effective

  • Athletic performance —likely to improve muscle mass, strength, and function B1-B4
  • Muscular dystrophy—likely to improve muscle strength G1

May Be Effective

May Not Be Effective

Unlikely to Be Effective

Not Enough Data to Assess

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It is likely safe to take creatine in small doses for a short time. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use for a long period. It is also not known whether it is safe to take by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Interactions

Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse such as:

  • People with kidney or heart problems should talk to their doctors before taking creatine. It may interrupt proper function.

References

REFA Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

REFA1 Pastula DM, Moore DH, et al. Creatine for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/motor neuron disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012;12:CD005225.

REFB Athletic Performance

REFB1 Cornelissen VA, Defoor JG, et al. Effect of creatine supplementation as a potential adjuvant therapy to exercise training in cardiac patients: a randomized controlled trial. Clin Rehabil. 2010 Nov;24(11):988-99.

REFB2 Devries MC, Phillips SM. Creatine supplementation during resistance training in older adults-a meta-analysis. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2014 Jun;46(6):1194-1203.

REFB3 Lanhers C, Pereira B, et al. Creatine Supplementation and Lower Limb Strength Performance: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses. Sports Med. 2015 Sep;45(9):1285-1294.

REFB4 Lanhers C, Pereira B, et al. Creatine Supplementation and Upper Limb Strength Performance: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports Med. 2017;47(1):163-173.

REFC Cardiovascular Disease

REFC1 Horjus DL, Oudman I, et al. Creatine and creatine analogues in hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011;(11):CD005184.

REFD Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

REFD1 Al-Ghimlas F, Todd DC. Creatine supplementation for patients with COPD receiving pulmonary rehabilitation: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Respirology. 2010 Jul;15(5):785-795.

REFE Cognitive Function

REFE1 Avgerinos KI, Spyrou N, et al. Effects of creatine supplementation on cognitive function of healthy individuals: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Exp Gerontol. 2018 Jul 15;108:166-173.

REFF Mitochondrial Disorders

REFF1 Pfeffer G, Majamaa K, et al. Treatment for mitochondrial disorders. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Apr 18;(4):CD004426.

REFG Muscular Dystrophy

REFG1 Kley RA, Tarnopolsky MA, et al. Creatine for treating muscle disorders. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013;(6):CD004760.

REFH Parkinson Disease

REFH1 Xiao Y, Luo M, et al. Creatine for Parkinson's disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014 Jun 17;(6):CD009646.

REFH2 Attia, Ahmed H, et al. Meta-Analysis of Creatine for Neuroprotection Against Parkinson’s Disease. CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2017;16(2):169-175.

REFH3 Mo JJ, Liu LY, et al. The effectiveness of creatine treatment for Parkinson’s disease: an updated meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. BMC Neurol. 2017;17(1):105.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC
  • Review Date: 02/2020
  • Update Date: 06/22/2020