What Happens to Your Body On Creatine?

Creatine is a popular supplement used by athletes and fitness enthusiasts to enhance their performance during high-intensity exercises. It is a naturally occurring compound found in the body, particularly in the muscles and brain. Creatine is also obtained from the diet, especially from meat and fish. However, the levels of creatine found in food are far below those found in synthetically made creatine supplements.

When consumed, creatine is converted into phosphocreatine, which helps produce ATP, the primary energy source for muscle contractions. This allows muscles to work harder and for longer periods of time, leading to increased strength and power output. Creatine has also been shown to help improve muscle recovery and reduce muscle damage caused by exercise. While creatine is generally safe and well-tolerated, some people may experience side effects such as stomach upset, diarrhea, and muscle cramps. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before taking creatine, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking medications that may interact with the supplement.

Understanding Creatine

Creatine is a naturally occurring organic compound that is found in small amounts in animal products, such as meat and fish. It is also produced by the body in small quantities in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas. Creatine is primarily stored in skeletal muscle, where it is used as a source of energy during high-intensity exercise.

Creatine supplements, which are widely available over the counter, are a popular choice among athletes and bodybuilders looking to enhance their athletic performance and build muscle mass. Creatine supplements come in many forms, including powders, capsules, and energy bars.

Creatine works by increasing the amount of creatine phosphate stored in the muscles, which can help to increase the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the primary source of energy for muscle contractions. This can lead to improved athletic performance during short-duration, high-intensity activities, such as weightlifting, sprinting, and jumping.

While creatine supplements are generally considered safe, they may cause some side effects in certain individuals, such as gastrointestinal distress, muscle cramps, and dehydration. It is important to follow the recommended dosage and to stay adequately hydrated when taking creatine supplements.

Research has also suggested that creatine may have some potential health benefits beyond athletic performance. For example, some studies have shown that creatine supplementation may help to improve cognitive function in older adults and individuals with neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease.

Overall, creatine is a widely used supplement that has been shown to have some potential benefits for athletic performance and overall health. However, it is important to use creatine supplements responsibly and to consult with a healthcare professional before beginning any new supplement regimen.

How Creatine Affects Muscle Growth

Creatine is a popular supplement among athletes and fitness enthusiasts due to its ability to enhance muscle growth and strength. Here are some ways creatine affects muscle growth:

Increasing Energy Production

Creatine helps increase energy production by providing additional ATP energy, which is vital for maximal power and strength-based activities. ATP is the primary source of energy for muscle contractions, and by increasing the availability of ATP, creatine can help improve muscle performance during high-intensity exercise.

Boosting Protein Synthesis

Creatine also helps boost protein synthesis, which is the process by which muscle fibers repair and grow after exercise-induced damage. By increasing protein synthesis, creatine can help accelerate muscle recovery and promote muscle growth.

Research has shown that creatine supplementation can lead to significant increases in muscle mass and strength in both trained and untrained individuals. However, it is important to note that the extent of these benefits may vary depending on factors such as age, sex, training status, and dosage.

Overall, creatine can be an effective supplement for those looking to enhance muscle growth and strength. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.

Creatine’s Impact on Brain Function

Creatine supplementation has been shown to have potential benefits for brain function and health. The brain is a highly energetic organ, consuming approximately 20% of total resting energy despite accounting for only about 2% of total body mass [1]. Creatine is an amino acid that is found mostly in the body’s muscles as well as in the brain [2].

Research suggests that creatine supplementation may improve cognitive function, especially in tasks that require short-term memory and intelligence [1]. In a study conducted on healthy young adults, creatine supplementation led to improved performance in a cognitive task that required working memory and fluid intelligence [1]. Another study found that creatine supplementation improved cognitive function in older adults [3].

Creatine supplementation may also have potential benefits for brain health. In animal studies, creatine has been shown to have neuroprotective effects, protecting against brain damage caused by traumatic brain injury, stroke, and neurodegenerative diseases [1]. However, more research is needed to determine whether these effects translate to humans.

In conclusion, creatine supplementation may have potential benefits for brain function and health, especially in improving cognitive function. However, further research is needed to fully understand the impact of creatine on the brain.


  1. Effects of Creatine Supplementation on Brain Function and Health
  2. Creatine – Mayo Clinic
  3. Creatine Supplementation and Brain Health – PubMed

Potential Side Effects of Creatine

Creatine is generally considered safe for most people when taken in recommended doses. However, it may cause some potential side effects.

Dehydration Risk

Creatine can cause dehydration, especially if not taken with enough water. It can draw water from other parts of the body and into the muscles, leading to a decrease in the amount of water available for other bodily functions.

To prevent dehydration, it is recommended to drink plenty of water while taking creatine supplements. The American Council on Exercise suggests drinking at least 16 ounces of water for every 5 grams of creatine taken.

Digestive Issues

Some people may experience digestive issues when taking creatine. These can include bloating, gas, and diarrhea. These side effects are more likely to occur when taking high doses of creatine or when taking it on an empty stomach.

To reduce the risk of digestive issues, it is recommended to take creatine with food or to split the dose into smaller amounts throughout the day.

It is important to note that these potential side effects are not experienced by everyone who takes creatine. If you experience any negative side effects when taking creatine, it is recommended to stop taking it and consult with a healthcare professional.

Overall, creatine is considered safe when taken in recommended doses. However, it is important to be aware of potential side effects and to take steps to minimize them.

The Importance of Proper Creatine Dosage

When it comes to taking creatine, proper dosage is key. Taking too much creatine can lead to potential side effects, while taking too little may not provide the desired benefits.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the standard dosage for creatine is 20 grams per day for the first 5-7 days, followed by a maintenance dose of 2-10 grams per day. However, some studies suggest that a lower dosage of 3-5 grams per day may be just as effective for improving athletic performance.

It’s important to note that the optimal dosage of creatine may vary depending on individual factors such as body weight, muscle mass, and activity level. Consulting with a healthcare professional or a certified sports nutritionist can help determine the appropriate dosage for each individual.

Taking creatine in excess can lead to potential side effects such as gastrointestinal issues, muscle cramps, and dehydration. On the other hand, taking too little creatine may not provide the desired benefits such as increased muscle mass, strength, and improved athletic performance.

In addition to proper dosage, it’s also important to ensure that the creatine supplement being taken is of high quality and purity. Choosing a reputable brand and checking for third-party certification can help ensure that the supplement is safe and effective.

Overall, proper dosage and quality of creatine supplementation are crucial for achieving desired results while minimizing potential side effects.