Position Stand on Creatine


Performance Enhancing Effects (short and long term):

  • Increase one-repetition maximum (1RM) and/or peak power
  • Improve vertical jump performance and repetitive jump performance
  • Increase work performed during repetitive sets of maximal effort muscle contractions
  • Enhance single-effort sprint performance in sprints lasting 6 to 30 seconds
  • Enhance repetitive sprint performance (6 x 6-second sprints with 30 seconds recovery)
  • Improve high intensity exercise performance in events lasting 90 to 600 seconds
  • Increase anaerobic threshold and maximal VO2 (oxygen extraction)

Theories of Performance Enhancement and Lean Tissue Accretion:

  • Protein synthesis
  • Fluid retention
  • Enhanced quality of training, promoting greater training adaptations over time
  • Increased intramuscular creatine and phosphocreatine content
  • Greater resynthesis of ATP and/or metabolic efficiency during high intensity exercise
  • Enhanced lean tissue accretion promoting greater gains in strength

Side Effects/Concerns:

Anecdotally reported side effects:

  • cramping/dehydration
  • muscle strains/pulls
  • renal stress

Side effects reported in research:

  • weight gain


  • Abuse
  • Long-term side effects
  • Ethics

Comments on the “Controversy”:

No negative side effects have been reported in scientific/medical literature

Controversy has been perpetuated in the media primarily by quoting “experts” who are apparently not familiar with scientific literature concerning creatine supplementation

Use of creatine should be based on scientific literature, not on unsubstantiated anecdotal reports and/or speculation

Many theories on the adverse effects of creatine have no scientific basis. Where is the data to support these opinions and theories?

Studies Reporting No Ergogenic Benefit from Creatine:

Creatine appears to be less performance enhancing:

  • when ingesting less than 2 to 3 grams per day
  • in subjects who experience less than a 20% increase in muscle creatine content
  • in crossover studies with less than a 5 week washout period between trials
  • during repeated sprint performances lasting 6 to 60 seconds when prolonged recovery periods (5 to 25 minutes) are observed between sprint trials
  • during submaximal aerobic exercise
  • during high-intensity endurance exercise
  • when recovery time is too brief to adequately replenish phosphocreatine stores

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