Should you take creatine?

Creatine has been billed as a bit of a ‘wonder supplement’ in recent times, with claims that it will help bulk up your muscles, improve athletic performance and even strengthen bones and treat some chronic diseases.

However, is it really a powdered cure all, or just another expensive tonic waiting to be poured down the drain?

Help us bust the myth here on the Community and let people know if and when they should take creatine.


Probably another one of those throw your money down the toilet.Just like the majority of other supplements on the market


The summary from a study is

Creatine monohydrate supplementation has been consistently reported in the literature to increase muscle phosphagen levels, improve repetitive high-intensity exercise performance, and promote greater training adaptations. Moreover, it has been found to be a stable form of creatine that is not significantly degraded during the digestive process and either taken up by muscle or eliminated in the urine. No medically significant side effects have been reported from CM supplementation despite the widespread worldwide use and the regulatory status of CM not being well established. Conversely, the efficacy, safety, and regulatory status of most of the newer forms of creatine found in dietary supplements have not been well established. Additionally, there is little to no evidence supporting marketing claims that these newer forms of creatine are more stable, digested faster, and more effective in increasing muscle creatine levels and/or associated with fewer side effects than CM.

There is a conflict statement per Conflict of interest The authors declare that they have no competing interests. AS is fully employed by a US trade association representing the dietary supplement industry.

This is essentially replicated here but the relationship between industry and the research team is a bit clearer :wink:

RBK is a co-founder of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) and has received externally-funded grants from industry to conduct research on creatine, serves as a scientific and legal consultant, and is a university approved scientific advisor for Nutrabolt. (and on it goes)

However the Mayo Clinic is generally disinterested and factual.

Creatine might benefit athletes who need short bursts of speed or muscle, such as sprinters and weight lifters. While taking creatine might not help all athletes, evidence suggests it generally won’t hurt if taken as directed.

The American Pharmacists position is also clear albeit possibly somewhat self-serving…

While creatine may enhance the performance of high-intensity, short-duration exercise, it is not useful in endurance sports. Because commercially marketed creatine products do not meet the same quality control standards of pharmaceuticals, there is always a concern of impurities or doses higher or lower than those on the labeling. Consumers should balance the quality of information supporting the use of creatine with the known and theoretical risks of using the product, including possible renal dysfunction.

There are myriad internet sites from the scholarly to business to the self serving touting creatine. The overall consensus reflects that of the Mayo Clinic and American Pharmacists pages. The first two citations above are referenced a seriously large number of times, possibly making themselves ‘self proving’ from those citations, or perhaps sufficiently rigorous.


There are thousands of hits on the web. This one appears to offer a number of facts or opinions that support my preference.

Eating prawns and soft shell crab might be a better more natural source of creatine. I am not prone to make sudden high energy movements, even when stepping over the occassional snake. It’s of doubtful need or benefit for me. If creatine offered to improve my eyesight it might be useful.

Like most magic body chemicals it appears that once you achieve a certain level in your body there is no capacity to store or use the excess any way. So it’s a pill or it’s yum! Is there a danger in over dosing on Softshell Singapore Chillie Crab? Does anyone know for sure? Happy to help Choice with a more meaningful test.


I like this bubble graph about supplements. It is a year old, so needs a refresh (it’s built from a google sheet for the data nerds out there).

There seems to be some evidence that creatine can help with short-term memory but not overwhelming evidence yet.

I am taking very seriously the comment below that prawns and soft-shell crab are a more enjoyable source than pillz. pass the chilli!


Another wonder supplement to burn a hole in the hip pocket.

From doing a little reading like @PhilT, if there are any real and proven “potential” benefits, it is only likely to benefit those who do short term high impact exercise, where rapid muscle creatine replacement is required.

I also suppose this also assumes that creatine will be taken up as creatine through the digestive system, be transported through out the body as creatine and also excess stored in the muscle in the long term as creatine. In relation to these, I am yet to be convinced.


Great answer @PhilT. CHOICE recently examined the evidence behind the hype, find out what we found about creatine supplements.