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Creatine ˈkrē-ə-ˌtēn, -ət-ᵊn

By Ara DerMarderosian, PhD, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia

Creatine is an amino acid made in the liver and stored in muscles. When combined with phosphate, it is a readily available source of energy in the body. In the diet, creatine is found in milk, red meat, and some fish.

Medicinal Claims

People take supplements of creatine to improve physical or athletic performance and to decrease fatigue. Its use is associated with weight gain. A few studies indicate that creatine can increase the amount of work performed with a short maximal effort (for example, in sprinting). However, a few others indicate no improvement in this type of activity.

Possible Side Effects

Creatine supplements may elevate levels of creatine in the urine and blood and cause kidney dysfunction. People who have diabetes or a history of kidney dysfunction or who take drugs that are toxic to the kidneys should avoid creatine supplements.

* This is the Consumer Version. *