Principal Proposed Uses
Other Proposed Uses
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Cancer Treatment Support
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Congestive Heart Failure
- Disuse Atrophy Following Injury
- Mental Function (Following Sleep Deprivation)
- High Triglycerides
- Huntington's Disease
- Improved Ratio of Body Fat to Muscle
- McArdle's Disease
- Mitochondrial Illnesses
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Myotonic Dystrophy
- Weight Loss
Creatine is a naturally occurring substance that plays an important role in the production of energy in the body. The body converts it to phosphocreatine, a form of stored energy used by muscles.
Although the evidence for creatine is not definitive, it has the most evidence behind it among all the sports supplements. Numerous small double-blind studies suggest that it can increase athletic performance in sports that involve intense but short bursts of activity.
The theory behind its use is that supplemental creatine can build up a reserve of phosphocreatine in the muscles to help them perform on demand. Supplemental creatine may also help the body make new phosphocreatine faster when it has been used up by intense activity.
Although some creatine exists in the daily diet, it is not an essential nutrient because your body can make it from the amino acids L-arginine , glycine, and L-methionine . Provided you eat enough animal protein (the principal source of these amino acids), your body will make all the creatine you need for good health.
Meat (including chicken and fish) is the most important dietary source of creatine and its amino acid building blocks. For this reason, vegetarian athletes may potentially benefit most from creatine supplementation.
For bodybuilding and exercise enhancement, a typical dosage schedule starts with a "loading dose" of 15 to 30 g daily (divided into 2 or 3 separate doses) for 3 to 4 days, followed by 2 to 5 g daily. Some authorities recommend skipping the loading dose. (By comparison, we typically get only about 1 g of creatine in the daily diet.)
What Is the Scientific Evidence for Creatine?
Interestingly, none of the women enrolled in the study showed any improvement with the creatine supplement. The authors of this study noted that women normally have more creatine in their muscle tissue than men do, so perhaps creatine supplementation (at least at this level) is not of benefit to women, as it appears to be for men. Further research is needed to fully understand this gender difference in response to creatine.
Congestive Heart Failure
Becoming easily fatigued is one unpleasant symptom of congestive heart failure . Creatine supplementation has been tried as a treatment for this symptom with some positive results.
As with all supplements taken in very high doses, it is important to purchase a high-quality form of creatine, as contaminants present even in very low concentrations could conceivably build up and cause problems.
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 08/2013 -
- Update Date: 08/22/2013 -