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Generic Name: Creatine

Brand Names: Creatine monohydrate, Creatine citrate

Available Dosage Forms: Oral tablet, capsule, or powder

Creatine: Uses, Side effects. Creatine monohydrate, Creatine citrate
Courtesy: Unsplash

What is Creatine?

Creatine is an endogenous organic acid found in animals and humans. The animal cell stores energy in molecules that stabilize and dissipate energy on demand. Despite constituting 2% of the total body mass, the brain requires 20% of the total body energy.1 Stable energy stores of Creatine are rapidly released on demand to fulfill energy requirements, specifically in the hippocampus and cerebellar regions of the brain. The regulation, storage, and utilization of energy in the brain are termed brain bioenergetics.

Abnormalities in the brain energy storage or bioenergetics precede dysregulation of neurotransmitter mechanisms which eventually manifest as mood disturbance and depression. Creatine is manufactured in the mitochondria and released on stimulus. Mitochondrial gene aberration or diseases causing mitochondrial dysfunction subsequently result in a reduced availability of Creatine.1 A relationship between mitochondrial malfunction and depression was established in clinical trials evaluating the role of Creatine in depressed individuals. Studies revealed that low dietary Creatine and depression were consistent in the younger age group (20-39) and females.2

Creatine supplementation improves:

-Cognitive impairment in the elderly1

-Cognitive performance in sleep-deprived subjects1

-Depression in Parkinson’s disease2

-PTSD when used in combination with SSRIs, SNRIs1

-PTSD with comorbid major depressive disorder1

-Depression in diabetes mellitus type 22

-Mood fluctuation in female adolescents after the onset of puberty2

However, it is an inarguable fact that depression causes loss of appetite and a resultant decrease in overall dietary intake. Researchers construe that creatine deficiency is rather a consequence of major depression in lieu of being a precursor.2


How to use Creatine?

-Creatine is synthesized in the body at a rate of 1-2g per day

-You can also obtain Creatine from food with high creatine content. These include animal products such as meat and fish

– Supplementation of Creatine is discouraged without approval from a doctor

– It is better to take the tablets with food as this enhances maximum absorption

– Therapeutic dosage for creatine supplementation is yet to be determined


What are the side effects of Creatine?

Creatine is generally considered safe; however, side-effects may include:


-Stomach ache

-Raised serum creatinine and creatinine clearance

-Urine retention


-Weight gain

-Muscle cramping


-Kidney damage


Who should not use Creatine?

Anyone with the following conditions should not use Creatine:

-Liver impairment

-renal dysfunction

-immunosuppressant drug



  1. Kious BM, Kondo DG, Renshaw PF. Creatine for the Treatment of Depression. Biomolecules. 2019;9(9):406. Published 2019 Aug 23. doi:10.3390/biom9090406
  2. Bakian AV, Huber RS, Scholl L, Renshaw PF, Kondo D. Dietary creatine intake and depression risk among U.S. adults. Transl Psychiatry. 2020;10(1):52. Published 2020 Feb 3. doi:10.1038/s41398-020-0741-x

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