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Creatine
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.

Related Terms

  • Beta-GPA, Cr, creatine citrate, creatine ethyl ester, creatine monohydrate, creatine monohydrate powder, creatine phosphate, creatine powder drink mix, creatinine, cyclocreatine, dicreatine citrate, methyl guanidine-acetic acid, methylguanidine-acetic acid, N-amidinosarcosine, N-(aminoiminomethyl)-N-methyl glycine, phosphocreatine, polyethylene glycosylated creatine (PEG-creatine).
  • Brand name examples: Athletic Series® Creatine, Challenge® Creatine Monohydrate CreapureTM, Creatine Booster®, Creavescent®, Hardcore Formula Creatine Powder®, HPCE Pure Creatine Monohydrate®, Kre-Alkalyn EFX™, Neoton®, Performance Enhancer Creatine Fuel®, PhosphagenTM, Phosphagen Pure Creatine Monohydrate Power Creatine®, Source Natural® Creatine, Total Creatine Transport®.
  • Combination product examples: Creatine Xtreme Lemonade® (creatine, glucose, glucose polymers, amylopectin starch, hydroxycitrate, citric acid, natural and artificial flavoring, aspartame, potassium citrate, xanthan gum, potassium phosphate, cellulose gum, Piperin, carrageenan, red 40 lake, blue 2 lake, chromium polynicotinate), Creatine Xtreme Punch® (creatine monohydrate, taurine, L-glutamine, L-glutamic acid, hydroxycitrate, vanadyl nicotinate, chromium), Met-Rx® Anabolic Drive Series (micronized creatine, alpha-lipoic acid, glutamine peptide), Muscle Link/Effervescent Creatine Elite® (creatine monohydrate, dextrose), Optimum Nutrition Creatine Liquid Energy Tropical Punch® (pharmaceutical grade creatine monohydrate, methylsulfonylmethane), PhosphagainTM (carbohydrate, protein, fat, creatine, yeast derived RNA, taurine), Runners Advantage® creatine serum (calcium pantothenate, L-glutamine, ginseng extract, calcium pyruvate, inositol, green tea extract, amino acids, phytochemicals, nutrients).

Background

  • Creatine is normally found in meat and fish. Creatine is also naturally made in the human body in the kidney and liver. Creatine is mainly stored in muscles, but about 1.5-2% of the body's creatine is converted to creatinine daily.
  • The finding that carbohydrates enhance muscle creatine uptake increased the market for creatine sports drinks. Oral consumption of creatine increases the creatine in muscle, which serves to regenerate adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
  • Creatine supplementation became popular in the 1990s for enhancing athletic performance and building lean body mass. It has also been used in the treatment of chronic heart failure and mitochondrial disorders.
  • Overall, creatine appears to have modest benefits for intense, repetitive exercise lasting less than 30 seconds. It does not appear to have significant benefits on endurance aerobic exercise.
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Evidence

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Dosing

The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

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Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.