creatine (generic name)
- Auto Immune Conditions
- Bladder & Kidney Health
- Brain & Nervous System
- Care Transitions
- Dental Health
- Emotional Health
- Eye Health
- Falls Prevention
- Financial Planning
- General Safety
- Health Care Basics
- Healthy Living
- Hearing Loss
- Heart Health
- High Blood Pressure
- Life Transitions
- Lung Health
- Men's Health
- Nutrition & Weight Management
- Pain Management
- Preventive Health
- Sexual Health
- Stomach & Digestive Health
- Stress & Anxiety
- Women's Health
TraditionWARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
AGAT deficiency, Alzheimer's disease, anti-arrhythmic, anticonvulsant, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder, brain damage, breast cancer, cervical cancer, circadian clock acceleration, colon cancer, diabetes, diabetic complications, disuse muscle atrophy, fibromyalgia, growth, herpes, hyperhomocysteinemia (an abnormally large level of homocysteine in the blood), mitochondrial diseases, mood disorder, neuroprotection, nutritional supplement, ophthalmologic disorders (gyrate atrophy), osteoarthritis, Parkinson's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, seizures (caused by lack of oxygen to the brain), sexual dysfunction, wasting of brain regions.
Adults (18 years and older)
A wide range of dosing has been used or studied by mouth. 400 milligrams per kilogram of body weight or up to 25 grams per day has been studied for multiple conditions. Experts often recommend maintaining good hydration during creatine use.
To increase anaerobic work capacity, studies have used a dose of 5 grams four times per day for 5 days. For enhanced athletic strength and performance, studies have used a dose of 20 grams per day for 4-7 days. Daily maintenance doses of 2-5 grams or 0.3 milligrams per kilogram of body weight have been used.
Numerous dosing regimens for intravenous or intramuscular administration have been used in studies in humans. Intravenous dosing should only be done under strict medical supervision.
Children (younger than 18 years)
Dosing in children should be under medical supervision because of potential side effects. A daily dose of 5 grams has been used in children with muscular dystrophy, and a range of doses (400 milligrams to 2 grams per kilogram of body weight) have been used in children with GAMT deficiency. A dose of 100 milligrams per kilogram body weight has been used for one week to treat motor sensory neuropathy in children.
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
Creatine has been associated with asthmatic symptoms. People should avoid creatine if they have known allergies to this supplement. Signs of allergy may include rash, itching, or shortness of breath.
Side Effects and Warnings
There is limited systematic study of the safety, pharmacology, or toxicology of creatine. Individuals using creatine, including athletes, should be monitored by a healthcare professional. Users are advised to inform their physicians or other qualified healthcare professionals.
Some individuals may experience gastrointestinal symptoms, including loss of appetite, stomach discomfort, diarrhea, or nausea.
Creatine may cause muscle cramps or muscle breakdown, leading to muscle tears or discomfort. Strains and sprains have been reported due to enthusiastic increases in workout regimens once starting creatine. Weight gain and increased body mass may occur. Heat intolerance, fever, dehydration, reduced blood volume, or electrolyte imbalances (and resulting seizures) may occur.
There is less concern today than there used to be about possible kidney damage from creatine, although there are reports of kidney damage, such as interstitial nephritis. Patients with kidney disease should avoid use of this supplement. Similarly, liver function may be altered, and caution is advised in those with underlying liver disease.
In theory, creatine may alter the activities of insulin. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia, and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Serum glucose levels may need to be monitored by a healthcare professional, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
Long-term administration of large quantities of creatine is reported to increase the production of formaldehyde, which may potentially cause serious unwanted side effects.
Creatine may increase the risk of compartment syndrome of the lower leg, a condition characterized by pain in the lower leg associated with inflammation and ischemia (diminished blood flow), which is a potential surgical emergency.
Reports of other side effects include thirst, mild headache, anxiety, irritability, aggression, nervousness, sleepiness, depression, abnormal heart rhythm, fainting or dizziness, blood clots in the legs (called deep vein thrombosis), seizure, or swollen limbs.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Pasteurized cow's milk appears to contain higher levels of creatine than human milk. The clinical significance of this is not clear.