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General Information

Creatine is made by the human body in the kidneys and liver. It provides energy for the muscles. The majority of creatine made in the body is found in the muscles, with small amounts found in the liver, kidneys, and brain. Creatine is also found in fish and meat.

Common Name(s)

creatine, creatine monohydrate

Scientific Name(s)

N-(aminoiminomethyl)-N methylglycine monohydrate

Scientific Name(s)

Creatine is a dietary supplement that is available to be taken by mouth in the form of powder, tablets, lozenges, chewable gummies, strips, and capsules.

Creatine is generally taken in 2 phases: a loading phase and a maintenance phase. In the loading phase it can be taken as 15 g to 20 g per day (not exceeding 5 g per dose) for 5 to 7 days, or as 3 g to 5 g per day for a minimum of 4 weeks. In the maintenance phase it should be taken as 2 g to 5 g per day.

Your health care provider may have recommended using this product in other ways. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What is this product used for?

Creatine supplements are used to build lean muscle mass and improve athletic strength and performance when used in conjunction with a resistance training regimen. Creatine is more specifically used for improving performance in brief, high-intensity physical activity.

Although several studies have shown that creatine is effective for improving performance during brief, high-intensity physical activities and muscle strength, other studies showed no benefit.

People have also used creatine for a variety of other conditions, including chronic heart failure and neuromuscular disorders (e.g., muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis). People have also used creatine to treat high cholesterol and creatine deficiency (e.g., in certain disorders where the body cannot create creatine on its own).

The role of creatine in treating these other conditions is not clear, and more well-designed trials are needed.

Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What else should I be aware of?

The main side effects reported by people taking creatine supplements are dehydration, stomach upset, and diarrhea. In rare cases, people have experienced kidney damage, liver damage, and blood clots.

Creatine can also cause weight gain and swelling related to extra water being stored in the body. Some people have reported an inability to tolerate heat after starting creatine supplements. Muscle cramping can also occur.

Allergic reactions can occur. If you experience symptoms such as itching, hives, swelling of face or tongue, chest tightness, or difficulty breathing, seek immediate medical attention. If you have had an allergic reaction to creatine, do not take this supplement.

If you have kidney or liver problems, avoid creatine.

Creatine should not be taken by children, or by people who are pregnant or breast-feeding. Additionally, people who have bipolar disorder should not take creatine.

Creatine may interact with caffeine and increase your risk of developing serious side effects such as strokes.

Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.


  1. Creatine Monohydrate Monograph. Health Canada,
  2. Creatine Monograph. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database.

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