Creatine - NutraPedia

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Creatine: Overview of Uses and Effects

1) Conditions Studied

  • Muscle strength and athletic performance
  • Neurological disorders
  • Cognitive function
  • Heart conditions
  • Metabolic disorders

2) Efficacy in Treating Conditions

Creatine is well known for its effectiveness in improving muscle strength and athletic performance, particularly in high-intensity, short-duration activities. Its role in treating neurological conditions and cognitive function is still under research, with some studies indicating potential benefits. For heart and metabolic conditions, the evidence is mixed or insufficient to draw definitive conclusions.

3) Health Benefits

  • Increases muscle mass and strength
  • Enhances performance in high-intensity exercise
  • May support cognitive function and delay fatigue
  • Potentially beneficial in treating certain neuromuscular disorders

4) Downsides

  • Some individuals may experience gastrointestinal discomfort
  • Possible weight gain due to increased water retention in muscles
  • Not recommended for those with pre-existing kidney conditions
  • Long-term safety beyond 5 years of use is not well established

5) Genetic Variations and Creatine

There is some evidence suggesting that individuals with certain genetic variations may respond differently to creatine supplementation. For example, variations in the gene that encodes for the creatine transporter protein can affect creatine uptake into cells. However, more research is needed to fully understand these interactions and to provide personalized recommendations based on genetic makeup.

Effects of Creatine Supplementation


Creatine is a key compound for cellular energy storage and transmission, particularly in muscle cells. While commonly synthesized in the liver, research has explored extrahepatic synthesis, especially in the pancreas and kidneys. Creatine's function extends to regulating adenosine diphosphate (ADP) levels, thereby protecting cellular ATP levels during fluctuating energy demands. The creatine kinase (CK) reaction plays a role in this process, especially during muscle contraction where ATP is rapidly hydrolyzed.

Supplemental creatine has been studied for its potential to enhance strength and power in healthy adults, with mixed results depending on age, gender, and type of exercise. Meta-analyses suggest creatine may increase maximal weight lifted in young men engaged in resistance training, but its safety and efficacy for other demographics or exercise forms are less established. Creatine's benefits for body composition and performance in short-term, high-intensity exercises are more pronounced, without significant gender or training status differences. However, creatine is less effective in endurance activities like running and swimming.

Research also indicates that creatine supplementation may be beneficial for increasing lean body mass and muscle strength in older adults, particularly in combination with resistance training. Moreover, studies have examined the impact of creatine on upper limb strength performance and the role of supplementation timing in achieving optimal outcomes.

In conclusion, while creatine supplementation can offer positive effects on body composition and specific types of exercise performance, further research is needed to fully understand its impact across various populations and activities.


  1. The synthesis of creatine by preparations of liver from embryos and adults of various species
  2. Extrahepatic creatine synthesis in the rat. Role of the pancreas and kidney
  3. The creatine kinase reaction: a simple reaction with functional complexity
  4. Estimating protein quality of meat products from the content of typical amino-acids and creatine
  5. The concentration of creatine in meat, offal and commercial dog food
  6. Does oral creatine supplementation improve strength? A meta-analysis
  7. Effect of creatine supplementation on body composition and performance: a meta-analysis
  8. Creatine Supplementation and Upper Limb Strength Performance: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
  9. Creatine Supplementation and Lower Limb Strength Performance: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses
  10. Efficacy of Creatine Supplementation Combined with Resistance Training on Muscle Strength and Muscle Mass in Older Females: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
  11. Meta-Analysis Examining the Importance of Creatine Ingestion Strategies on Lean Tissue Mass and Strength in Older Adults
  12. Effect of creatine supplementation during resistance training on lean tissue mass and muscular strength in older adults: a meta-analysis
  13. Influence of age, sex, and type of exercise on the efficacy of creatine supplementation on lean body mass: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials
  14. Effects of Creatine in Trained Athletes: A Meta-analysis of 21 Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trials
  15. Effects of Creatine Supplementation on Athletic Performance in Soccer Players: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
  16. Effects of high dose oral creatine supplementation on anaerobic capacity of elite wrestlers
  17. Effect of creatine phosphate supplementation on anaerobic working capacity and body weight after two and six days of loading in men and women
  18. The effects of creatine supplementation on performance during the repeated bouts of supramaximal exercise
  19. Short-term creatine supplementation does not improve muscle activation or sprint performance in humans
  20. Creatine Supplementation and Brain Health
  21. Effects of Creatine Supplementation on Brain Function and Health
  22. Effects of creatine supplementation on cognitive function of healthy individuals: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials
  23. Effects of creatine supplementation on memory in healthy individuals: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
  24. Creatine for the Treatment of Depression
  25. Creatine monohydrate supplementation on body weight and percent body fat
  26. Measurement of muscle mass in humans: validity of the 24-hour urinary creatinine method
  27. Effects of creatine supplementation on exercise performance
  28. Gastrointestinal distress after creatine supplementation in athletes: are side effects dose dependent?
  29. Creatine supplementation and VO2max: a systematic review and meta-analysis
  30. Creatine supplementation per se does not enhance endurance exercise performance
  31. Creatine supplementation as an ergogenic aid for sports performance in highly trained athletes: a critical review
  32. The creatine kinase system and pleiotropic effects of creatine
  33. Creatine supplementation decreases oxidative DNA damage and lipid peroxidation induced by a single bout of resistance exercise
  34. Lowering methylation demand by creatine supplementation paradoxically decreases DNA methylation
  35. Creatine supplementation normalizes mutagenesis of mitochondrial DNA as well as functional consequences
  36. Effect of low dose, short-term creatine supplementation on muscle power output in elite youth soccer players
  37. Effect of creatine supplementation on jumping performance in elite volleyball players
  38. Creatine supplementation improves the anaerobic performance of elite junior fin swimmers
  39. Creatine: endogenous metabolite, dietary, and therapeutic supplement
  40. Creatine deficiency syndromes and the importance of creatine synthesis in the brain
  41. False estimates of elevated creatinine
  42. Influence of muscle mass and physical activity on serum and urinary creatinine and serum cystatin C
  43. A systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression of the effect of protein supplementation on resistance training-induced gains in muscle mass and strength in healthy adults
  44. Higher Protein Intake Is Associated with Higher Lean Mass and Quadriceps Muscle Strength in Adult Men and Women
  45. Dietary Protein Sources and Muscle Mass over the Life Course: The Lifelines Cohort Study
  46. How the use of creatine supplements can elevate serum creatinine in the absence of underlying kidney pathology
  47. Pharmacokinetics of creatine
  48. Adverse effects of creatine supplementation: fact or fiction?
  49. Effects of creatine use on the athlete's kidney
  50. The effect of creatine intake on renal function
  51. Side effects of creatine supplementation in athletes
  52. Safety of creatine supplementation
  53. Studies on the safety of creatine supplementation
  54. In sickness and in health: the widespread application of creatine supplementation
  55. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine
  56. Effect of oral creatine supplementation on random urine creatinine, pH, and specific gravity measurements
  57. Long-term oral creatine supplementation does not impair renal function in healthy athletes
  58. Acute creatine loading increases fat-free mass, but does not affect blood pressure, plasma creatinine, or CK activity in men and women
  59. Effect of short-term high-dose creatine supplementation on measured GFR in a young man with a single kidney
  60. Creatine supplementation does not impair kidney function in type 2 diabetic patients: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial
  61. Creatine supplementation does not decrease total plasma homocysteine in chronic hemodialysis patients
  62. Three weeks of creatine monohydrate supplementation affects dihydrotestosterone to testosterone ratio in college-aged rugby players
  63. Inhibitory autocrine factors produced by the mesenchyme-derived hair follicle dermal papilla may be a key to male pattern baldness
  64. Molecular mechanisms of androgenetic alopecia
  65. Skill execution and sleep deprivation: effects of acute caffeine or creatine supplementation - a randomized placebo-controlled trial
  66. Creatine supplementation post-exercise does not enhance training-induced adaptations in middle to older aged males
  67. The effects of beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) and HMB/creatine supplementation on indices of health in highly trained athletes
  68. Effect of creatine and beta-alanine supplementation on performance and endocrine responses in strength/power athletes
  69. Short-term creatine supplementation does not alter the hormonal response to resistance training
  70. The effects of creatine supplementation on muscular performance and body composition responses to short-term resistance training overreaching
  71. Acute and chronic effects of resistance exercise on the testosterone and cortisol responses in obese males: a systematic review
  72. Hormonal responses and adaptations to resistance exercise and training
  73. Effect of creatine malate supplementation on physical performance, body composition and selected hormone levels in spinters and long-distance runners
  74. β-Hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate free acid reduces markers of exercise-induced muscle damage and improves recovery in resistance-trained men
  75. Effects of beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate on power performance and indices of muscle damage and stress during high-intensity training
  76. The effect of HMB supplementation on body composition, fitness, hormonal and inflammatory mediators in elite adolescent volleyball players: a prospective randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study
  77. Beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) supplementation does not influence the urinary testosterone: epitestosterone ratio in healthy males
  78. Muscle creatine loading in men
  79. Creatine and caffeine in anaerobic and aerobic exercise: effects on physical performance and pharmacokinetic considerations
  80. Caffeine counteracts the ergogenic action of muscle creatine loading
  81. Creatine and Caffeine: Considerations for Concurrent Supplementation
  82. Opposite actions of caffeine and creatine on muscle relaxation time in humans
  83. Effects of Coffee and Caffeine Anhydrous Intake During Creatine Loading
  84. Caffeine is ergogenic after supplementation of oral creatine monohydrate
  85. Effect of caffeine ingestion after creatine supplementation on intermittent high-intensity sprint performance
  86. Effect of a pre-workout energy supplement on acute multi-joint resistance exercise
  87. Ingesting a preworkout supplement containing caffeine, creatine, β-alanine, amino acids, and B vitamins for 28 days is both safe and efficacious in recreationally active men
  88. The effects of six weeks of supplementation with multi-ingredient performance supplements and resistance training on anabolic hormones, body composition, strength, and power in resistance-trained men
  89. Effects of 8 weeks of Xpand® 2X pre workout supplementation on skeletal muscle hypertrophy, lean body mass, and strength in resistance trained males
  90. Effects of Creatine and Caffeine Supplementation During Resistance Training on Body Composition, Strength, Endurance, Rating of Perceived Exertion and Fatigue in Trained Young Adults
  91. Creatine O'Clock: Does Timing of Ingestion Really Influence Muscle Mass and Performance?
  92. The influence of dietary creatine supplementation on performance during repeated bouts of maximal isokinetic cycling in man
  93. Influence of oral creatine supplementation of muscle torque during repeated bouts of maximal voluntary exercise in man
  94. Efficacy of Alternative Forms of Creatine Supplementation on Improving Performance and Body Composition in Healthy Subjects: A Systematic Review
  95. International society of sports nutrition position stand: caffeine and exercise performance
  96. Elevation of creatine in resting and exercised muscle of normal subjects by creatine supplementation
  97. The metabolic burden of creatine synthesis
  98. Intake of 13C-4 creatine enables simultaneous assessment of creatine and phosphocreatine pools in human skeletal muscle by 13C MR spectroscopy
  99. Creatine and creatinine metabolism
  100. The role of dietary creatine
  101. Normal reference values for creatine, creatinine, and carnitine are lower in vegetarians
  102. Skeletal muscle total creatine content and creatine transporter gene expression in vegetarians prior to and following creatine supplementation
  103. Brain creatine depletion in vegetarians? A cross-sectional ¹H-magnetic resonance spectroscopy (¹H-MRS) study
  104. Effect of age, diet, and tissue type on PCr response to creatine supplementation
  105. Solid-state properties of creatine monohydrate
  106. Analysis of the efficacy, safety, and regulatory status of novel forms of creatine
  107. Comparison of new forms of creatine in raising plasma creatine levels
  108. Effect of pulverization on hydration kinetic behaviors of creatine anhydrate powders
  109. Effect of pulverization of the bulk powder on the hydration of creatine anhydrate tablets and their pharmaceutical properties
  110. Is running performance enhanced with creatine serum ingestion?
  111. Creatine serum is not as effective as creatine powder for improving cycle sprint performance in competitive male team-sport athletes
  112. A buffered form of creatine does not promote greater changes in muscle creatine content, body composition, or training adaptations than creatine monohydrate
  113. The effects of creatine ethyl ester supplementation combined with heavy resistance training on body composition, muscle performance, and serum and muscle creatine levels
  114. Mg2+-creatine chelate and a low-dose creatine supplementation regimen improve exercise performance
  115. Acute and chronic safety and efficacy of dose dependent creatine nitrate supplementation and exercise performance
  116. Creatine ingestion favorably affects performance and muscle metabolism during maximal exercise in humans
  117. Effect of creatine supplementation on intramuscular TCr, metabolism and performance during intermittent, supramaximal exercise in humans
  118. Role of submaximal exercise in promoting creatine and glycogen accumulation in human skeletal muscle
  119. Acute creatine monohydrate supplementation: a descriptive physiological profile of responders vs. nonresponders
  120. Brain serotonin and dopamine modulators, perceptual responses and endurance performance during exercise in the heat following creatine supplementation
  121. Creatine supplementation: a comparison of loading and maintenance protocols on creatine uptake by human skeletal muscle
  122. Effects of repeated creatine supplementation on muscle, plasma, and urine creatine levels
  123. Acute creatine loading enhances human growth hormone secretion
  124. Effect of creatine supplementation on training for competition in elite swimmers
  125. Maternal creatine: does it reach the fetus and improve survival after an acute hypoxic episode in the spiny mouse (Acomys cahirinus)?
  126. Neuroprotection of creatine supplementation in neonatal rats with transient cerebral hypoxia-ischemia
  127. Maternal creatine supplementation from mid-pregnancy protects the diaphragm of the newborn spiny mouse from intrapartum hypoxia-induced damage
  128. Creatine pretreatment prevents birth asphyxia-induced injury of the newborn spiny mouse kidney
  129. A maternal diet supplemented with creatine from mid-pregnancy protects the newborn spiny mouse brain from birth hypoxia
  130. Maternal dietary creatine supplementation does not alter the capacity for creatine synthesis in the newborn spiny mouse
  131. Effects of supplement timing and resistance exercise on skeletal muscle hypertrophy
  132. The effects of pre versus post workout supplementation of creatine monohydrate on body composition and strength
  133. Comparison of creatine supplementation before versus after supervised resistance training in healthy older adults
  134. Strategic creatine supplementation and resistance training in healthy older adults
  135. Timing of creatine supplementation does not influence gains in unilateral muscle hypertrophy or strength from resistance training in young adults: a within-subject design
  136. Effects of creatine monohydrate timing on resistance training adaptations and body composition after 8 weeks in male and female collegiate athletes
  137. Creatine supplementation effect on recovery following exercise-induced muscle damage: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
  138. The Effect of Creatine Supplementation on Markers of Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Human Intervention Trials
  139. The Paradoxical Effect of Creatine Monohydrate on Muscle Damage Markers: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
  140. Creatine for treating muscle disorders
  141. Effect of high-dose creatine therapy on symptoms of exercise intolerance in McArdle disease: double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study
  142. The effectiveness of creatine treatment for Parkinson's disease: an updated meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
  143. Creatine Supplementation During Resistance Training Does Not Lead to Greater Bone Mineral Density in Older Humans: A Brief Meta-Analysis
  144. A 2-yr Randomized Controlled Trial on Creatine Supplementation during Exercise for Postmenopausal Bone Health
  145. Does creatine supplementation improve glycemic control and insulin resistance in healthy and diabetic patients? A systematic review and meta-analysis

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