The Creatine Side Effects You Need to Know About

In the event you’re heavy into monitoring your vitamin to get probably the most out of your time within the health club, you’ll have tried or questioned about creatine. Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid that performs a task in power manufacturing. You will get extra of it by means of dietary supplements and a few of it by means of meals. 

It’s vastly standard with power athletes for a cause. There are 50 years of analysis on creatine and its potential to extend your power and energy output, allow you to build muscle mass, and recuperate out of your exercises. Nevertheless, identical to with any complement, there’s an opportunity you’ll expertise some negative effects. 

Creatine powder in a scoop and on the table.
Credit score: ogichobanov / Shutterstock

First, know that creatine is usually thought-about secure to devour. Lots of the preliminary claims of damaging negative effects have been refuted by means of research. However you continue to run the chance of it interacting poorly along with your physique and the long-term results are considerably unknown. Let’s dive into the science of creatine, the way it can increase your coaching, and on the flip aspect, what you’ll want to learn about its potential negative effects. 

Editor’s Notice: The content material on BarBend is supposed to be informative in nature, but it surely shouldn’t be taken as medical recommendation. When beginning a brand new coaching routine and/or food regimen, it’s all the time a good suggestion to seek the advice of with a trusted medical skilled. We aren’t a medical useful resource. The opinions and articles on this web site should not meant to be used as analysis, prevention, and/or remedy of well being issues. They aren’t substitutes for consulting a professional medical skilled.

What Is Creatine?

Creatine is a non-essential amino acid which implies it happens naturally in your physique. It’s saved primarily in your skeletal muscle tissues, with a few of it in your mind. Your physique can produce extra creatine by synthesizing the amino acids arginine, glycine, and methionine. (1)(2

After taking in creatine by means of a complement, your physique shops it in your cells as creatine phosphate. Phosphagens are key to protecting power accessible in your physique that you should use for extremely intense athletic actions like sprinting and weightlifting. Your physique naturally has phosphagens and ingesting creatine can enhance your phosphocreatine focus. That’s the entire concept. (1)

[Read More: Nutrition for Athletes — How to Eat for Muscle and Performance]

With extra phosphagens in your system, you possibly can produce extra ATP — adenosine triphosphate. ATP is required for mobile power and it’s used for muscle contractions throughout short-duration, high-intensity workout routines. With extra saved phosphagens from creatine supplementation, ATP can replenish extra rapidly. (3) Enter your inventory of phosphocreatine that will help you hit your subsequent set of super-heavy deadlifts.

Sources of Creatine

You may enhance your creatine by consuming sure meals or taking dietary supplements. There are a lot of types of creatine dietary supplements to select from. Creatine monohydrate has been probably the most studied for its advantages to power coaching. (4)

Creatine is a carninutrient — it is just accessible by means of animal-based protein-rich meals sources. In the event you don’t eat animal merchandise, you possibly can eat meals that comprise the amino acids which can be precursors to creatine synthesis: arginine, glycine, and methionine. (2

Food sources of protein and creatine.
Credit score: Oleksandra Naumenko / Shutterstock

[Read More: The Best Foods for Energy Before, During, and After Your Workouts]

It’s troublesome to get quite a lot of creatine by means of any of those meals sources — dietary supplements could also be extra environment friendly in case you are seeking to increase your power good points. Alternatively, if you wish to keep away from all potential negative effects, foods with creatine don’t run the identical dangers as dietary supplements. 

Under is an inventory of varieties of creatine supplements and meals with the very best quantities of creatine or creatine precursors to select from. 

How Does Creatine Impression Power Coaching?

Creatine is among the many most highly-researched dietary supplements in historical past. There are 50 years of research suggesting it could actually probably enhance your power and energy, allow you to construct muscle, and ease your restoration. (1) It might even have cognitive advantages which might translate over to higher focus within the health club. (5) Let’s break all of it down.

Might Improve Power and Energy

Research present that supplementing with creatine can enhance your muscular contractions throughout highly-intense coaching — probably on account of its position in growing your ATP. (1) If you end up coaching heavy squats and deadlifts, your physique wants ATP, and with extra of it, you’ll have extra power to finish your reps and units with good type. 

All through the course of a coaching program, every session issues. Having extra ATP may also help you raise heavier and enhance your numbers by means of progressive overload. Creatine is proven to extend your coaching diversifications. (1) This occurs from constant onerous work over time.

[Read More: What Are Workout Splits and Which Is the Best One?]

A 2020 research was achieved on wholesome younger adults collaborating in a resistance coaching program for six weeks. One group supplemented with creatine and the opposite group took a placebo. The creatine group considerably increased their strength within the chest press, leg press, and whole physique power. (6) Taking creatine alone gained’t magically make you stronger, however combining it with high quality coaching would possibly.

Helps Construct Muscle Mass

Research persistently present that supplementing with creatine together with resistance coaching may also help you enhance your lean muscle mass. (7

A evaluation of 35 research on 1195 folks examined creatine’s affect on hypertrophy. The folks within the research took creatine and mixed it with resistance coaching, combined train, and no train. Those that resistance skilled gained two kilos of lean muscle mass and the opposite teams didn’t see any good points. (7)

[Read More: The 12 Best Supplements for Muscle Growth (Spring 2023 Update)]

It highlights that taking creatine with out coaching doesn’t trigger you to gain muscle mass. However it could actually assist if you mix it with placing within the work within the health club doing all your muscle and strength-building exercises.

Improves Restoration

Creatine might allow you to to recuperate higher out of your exercises. Together with carbs and protein, creatine can help in refilling your glycogen shops after coaching. (8) Creatine can work as an antioxidant in your physique and might play a task in decreasing irritation and muscle soreness. (1

Due to its capability to extend ATP and power availability, it might additionally allow you to stand up to a better volume of training with out fatiguing as rapidly — enhancing your restoration throughout your session as effectively. (1)

Boosts Focus

Analysis on creatine and muscle perform has been round for some time, however newer research additionally present that creatine can enhance your mind well being. Your skeletal muscle tissues maintain 80 % of the creatine in your physique, and your mind takes the opposite 20 %. (5) Due to this, creatine might assist enhance cognition, processing, and mind perform. 

Your mind performs a giant position in your success on the health club. The flexibility to focus is essential to constructing a powerful mind-muscle connection. Creatine might allow you to out with response time, coordination, and motor management — all key to athletic efficiency. It could actually additionally scale back your perceived quantity of psychological fatigue which might allow you to lengthen your effort and output in your classes. (5)

Facet Results of Creatine

Creatine has been so closely studied that there at the moment are research refuting earlier research claiming creatine may trigger damaging negative effects. Let’s stand up so far on the most recent info of what to be cautious of in terms of the potential negative effects of creatine.

Might Trigger Gastrointestinal Misery

Though there was disagreement about lots of the potential negative effects of creatine, nobody can dispute that it might trigger gastrointestinal (GI) misery. Substances have an effect on every particular person in a different way, and if you have already got a delicate abdomen, chances are you’ll be in danger. 

A bodybuilder with his palm to his stomach because of pain.
Credit score: Tong Nawarit / Shutterstock

[Read More: 5 At-Home Workouts for Strength, Muscle Growth, Power, and More]

The primary signs that customers report are diarrhea, belching, and abdomen discomfort. This research on the disagreeable GI results of creatine notes that too excessive of a dosage may make the signs worse. Taking greater than ten grams of creatine per day might enhance the percentages of gastrointestinal side-effects. (9)

Might Trigger Brief-Time period Water Retention

Early on, many claims have been made that creatine could cause weight gain — by means of gaining physique fats and retaining quite a lot of water. In an article reviewing the scientific proof of those claims, each have been discovered to be false. Creatine has not been discovered to extend physique fats throughout many ages and genders. (10)

On the water retention aspect, creatine has not been discovered to total enhance your whole physique water, as was initially thought. It could actually trigger short-term water retention within the early phases of ingesting creatine. (10) This may be on account of creatine growing your intracellular quantity within the first few days as your physique adjusts.

Brief-term water retention is now considered the primary potential aspect impact of creatine. (4)

Potential Kidney Interactions

It was as soon as claimed that creatine could possibly be dangerous to your kidneys. In some circumstances, when it was mixed with different dietary supplements or the dosage was increased than really useful, it was discovered to trigger kidney and liver points. (4

Since then, research have proven that when taken on the really useful dosage, creatine doesn’t trigger kidney injury or dysfunction in folks with out earlier or underlying kidney points. (10) These research have been achieved on wholesome people and the impact of creatine on folks with kidney points is at present unknown.

Some restricted knowledge word that it is probably not advisable for folks with pre-existing kidney dysfunction to complement with creatine, however extra analysis is required. (11)

Unknown Lengthy-Time period Results

Creatine is taken into account secure. The Worldwide Society of Sports activities Vitamin (ISSN) has said there is no such thing as a scientific proof of adversarial results to wholesome people supplementing with creatine. (12) Nevertheless the ISSN additionally notes that this solely applies to the short-term use of creatine. 

They advise warning to long-term use, as a result of there are at present restricted research on the long-term results of creatine.

[Read More: The Ultimate 10-Week Powerbuilding Workout Routine for Mass and Strength]

Whereas lots of the earlier potential creatine negative effects have been refuted, together with gaining physique fats, kidney injury, dehydration, hair loss, and muscle cramps — it’s unknown if any of those or different results may happen within the long-term.

Your Takeaways

Now that you understand how creatine can have an effect on your physique, for higher or for worse, let’s break down the important thing factors of the professionals and cons of creatine.

  • Creatine is an amino acid that’s saved as phosphagen in your physique which might enhance your power provide.
  • You will get creatine by means of dietary supplements and animal-based meals sources.
  • Creatine can increase your ATP for higher muscular contractions throughout short-duration, high-intensity training like weightlifting and sprinting.
  • For 50 years, creatine has been studied and proven that will help you probably enhance your power and energy, construct muscle mass, and enhance your muscular recovery from train.
  • Creatine can also have cognitive advantages and increase your focus within the health club.
  • Creatine is taken into account secure and lots of of its earlier reported negative effects have been refuted.
  • Remaining potential negative effects of creatine embrace gastrointestinal misery, short-term water retention, unknown results on people with kidney illness, and restricted analysis on the long-term results of creatine.

Danger It for the Positive factors?

When mixed with a resistance coaching program with progressive overload, creatine may also help you construct lean muscle mass. When you recuperate earlier than your subsequent session, creatine can work along with your vitamin to refuel and replenish your power provide so that you present up stronger and able to maintain constructing.

Scientific proof doesn’t present any main detrimental negative effects of creatine, though there have been as soon as believed to be lots of them. Nonetheless, it may trigger GI misery and short-term water retention. Although it doesn’t trigger kidney injury in wholesome folks, when you do have a kidney subject, the results are unknown. 

Many of the huge quantity of research are on the short-term use of creatine, so the long-term negative effects are additionally unknown. Even scientists can’t predict the long run.


  1. Kreider RB, Kalman DS, Antonio J, Ziegenfuss TN, Wildman R, Collins R, Candow DG, Kleiner SM, Almada AL, Lopez HL. Worldwide Society of Sports activities Vitamin place stand: security and efficacy of creatine supplementation in train, sport, and drugs. J Int Soc Sports activities Nutr. 2017 Jun 13;14:18. 
  2. Brosnan ME, Brosnan JT. The position of dietary creatine. Amino Acids. 2016 Aug;48(8):1785-91. doi: 10.1007/s00726-016-2188-1. Epub 2016 Feb 13. 
  3. Dunn J, Grider MH. Physiology, Adenosine Triphosphate. [Updated 2023 Feb 13]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. 
  4. Corridor M, Trojian TH. Creatine supplementation. Curr Sports activities Med Rep. 2013 Jul-Aug;12(4):240-4. 
  5. Roschel H, Gualano B, Ostojic SM, Rawson ES. Creatine Supplementation and Mind Well being. Vitamins. 2021 Feb 10;13(2):586. 
  6. Mills S, Candow DG, Forbes SC, Neary JP, Ormsbee MJ, Antonio J. Results of Creatine Supplementation throughout Resistance Coaching Periods in Bodily Lively Younger Adults. Vitamins. 2020 Jun 24;12(6):1880. 
  7. Delpino FM, Figueiredo LM, Forbes SC, Candow DG, Santos HO. Affect of age, intercourse, and kind of train on the efficacy of creatine supplementation on lean physique mass: A scientific evaluation and meta-analysis of randomized scientific trials. Vitamin. 2022 Nov-Dec;103-104:111791. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2022.111791. Epub 2022 Jul 8.
  8. Corridor M, Manetta E, Tupper Ok. Creatine Supplementation: An Replace. Curr Sports activities Med Rep. 2021 Jul 1;20(7):338-344. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0000000000000863.
  9. Ostojic SM, Ahmetovic Z. Gastrointestinal misery after creatine supplementation in athletes: are negative effects dose dependent? Res Sports activities Med. 2008;16(1):15-22. 
  10. Jose Antonio, Darren G. Candow, Scott C. Forbes, Bruno Gualano, Andrew R. Jagim, Richard B. Kreider, Eric S. Rawson, Abbie E. Smith-Ryan, Trisha A. VanDusseldorp, Darryn S. Willoughby & Tim N. Ziegenfuss (2021) Frequent questions and misconceptions about creatine supplementation: what does the scientific proof actually present?, Journal of the Worldwide Society of Sports activities Vitamin, 18:1, 
  11. Davani-Davari D, Karimzadeh I, Ezzatzadegan-Jahromi S, Sagheb MM. Potential Antagonistic Results of Creatine Complement on the Kidney in Athletes and Bodybuilders. Iran J Kidney Dis. 2018 Oct;12(5):253-260. 
  12. Butts J, Jacobs B, Silvis M. Creatine Use in Sports activities. Sports activities Well being. 2018 Jan/Feb;10(1):31-34.

Featured Picture: ogichobanov / Shutterstock

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