Supplement Forms/Alternate Names:
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.
10 to 20 grams once daily
What Research Shows
May Be Effective
- Mental Function —may improve short-term memory and intelligence/reasoning E1
May Not Be Effective
Unlikely to Be Effective
Not Enough Data to Assess
- Cardiovascular disease C1
Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.
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.
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.
A. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
A1. Pastula DM, Moore DH, et al. Creatine for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/motor neuron disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012;12:CD005225.
B. Athletic Performance
B1. 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.
B2. 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.
B3. 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.
B4. 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.
C. Cardiovascular Disease
C1. Horjus DL, Oudman I, et al. Creatine and creatine analogues in hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011;(11):CD005184.
D. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
D1. 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.
E. Cognitive Function
E1. 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.
F. Mitochondrial Disorders
F1. Pfeffer G, Majamaa K, et al. Treatment for mitochondrial disorders. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Apr 18;(4):CD004426.
G. Muscular Dystrophy
G1. Kley RA, Tarnopolsky MA, et al. Creatine for treating muscle disorders. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013;(6):CD004760.
H. Parkinson Disease
H1. Xiao Y, Luo M, et al. Creatine for Parkinson's disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014 Jun 17;(6):CD009646.
H2. 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.
H3. 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.
Last reviewed February 2020 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC Last Updated: 6/22/2020