Advertisement

Should I take creatine to get stronger?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Some athletes laud the supplement creatine as a wonderful muscle builder -- making the difference between a homer and a long out, or between a world record and third place. Some studies show that creatine can increase power and speed as well as cellular energy, but the fact is that most of the gain in muscle size is due to increased water accumulation. Studies also suggest that a simple sugar and some protein -- think an apple with a handful of nuts plus a bottle of water -- can help muscles recover faster after exercise. Creatine, a naturally occurring substance produced mainly in the kidneys and liver, builds strength, but not aim, so you may be able to throw the football to the next field over, but not into the running back’s hands. Or your serve could knock someone over every time, but you can’t ever get it to stay in the court.
YOU: The Owner's Manual for Teens: A Guide to a Healthy Body and Happy Life

More About this Book

YOU: The Owner's Manual for Teens: A Guide to a Healthy Body and Happy Life

A few years ago, we wrote YOU: The Owner’s Manual, which taught people about the inner workings of their bodies—and how to keep them running strong. But you know what? There’s a big difference...
Creatine is a dietary supplement that is popular for building athletic strength. Whether you should take it depends on your goals, your health and what other supplements or prescription drugs you may already be taking.

Your body makes creatine naturally. You also get it in your diet, especially from fish and meat. If you are relatively young and athletic, there is evidence that creatine supplements can help you do better at high-intensity activities such as sprinting. Studies in older people, however, have been mixed, with some showing a benefit and others not.

According to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, creatine supplements are "possibly effective" for improving short-term athletic performance in young people and "likely safe" when taken at recommended doses. People with certain medical conditions, such as kidney disease, should not take creatine supplements.

Continue Learning about Dietary Supplements

The Importance of Supplement Safety
The Importance of Supplement Safety
In 2002, the two-year-old daughter of Jude Law attended a children’s party at London’s Soho House Club. It was reported that while there, she swallowe...
Read More
What is a common dosage for ASU?
Grant Cooper, MDGrant Cooper, MD
The most common dosage of ASU is 300 mg, once per day. No additional benefit has been seen with high...
More Answers
What precautions are advised for eating cheese?
Michael T. Murray, NDMichael T. Murray, ND
Even though many people find milk and cheeses hard to digest, there are variations among these foods...
More Answers
Get Vitamin E from Food, Not Dietary Supplements
Get Vitamin E from Food, Not Dietary Supplements

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.