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Creatine: Affects on Muscle Growth, Strength & Performance

Updated: Jan 13

Based on the scientific evidence available, here is a detailed analysis of how creatine affects outcomes related to muscle growth, strength, recovery and similar outcomes.


1. Muscle Development and Strength

Muscle Growth

Moderate Evidence for an increase in muscle growth.

Creatine supplementation is linked with increased muscle mass and fat-free mass in various populations, but results can be gender-specific and vary with exercise regimens (Parise et al., 2001), (Larson-Meyer et al., 2000).

Muscle Strength / Power Output

Strong Evidence for an increase in power output.

Studies consistently show creatine supplementation enhances muscle strength and power output in both younger and older adults (Gotshalk et al., 2007), (Tarnopolsky et al., 2007).

2. Muscle Conditioning

Muscle Endurance

Moderate Evidence for an increase in muscle endurance.

Creatine has been shown to improve muscle endurance in some studies, though results can be variable (Sousa-Silva et al., 2023).

Muscle Recovery

Limited Evidence for an increase in muscle recovery.

There is some indication that creatine may aid in muscle recovery, but more research is needed for conclusive evidence (Cordingley et al., 2022).

3. Body Composition

Body Fat

Moderate Evidence for no effect.

Creatine does not appear to significantly affect body fat levels (Eijnde et al., 2003).

Lean Body Mass

Strong Evidence for an increase in LBM.

Creatine supplementation is associated with increases in lean body mass (Devries & Phillips, 2014).

Muscle-to-Fat Ratio

Moderate Evidence for an increase in muscle to fat ratio.

Given creatine's effects on muscle mass and negligible impact on fat, it may improve muscle-to-fat ratio, but direct evidence is limited.

Muscle Volume / Pump

Moderate Evidence for an increase in muscle volume.

Creatine can increase muscle volume, likely due to increased water retention in muscles (Sakkas et al., 2009).

4. Physical Performance

Cardiovascular Endurance

Limited Evidence for mixed results.

The impact of creatine on cardiovascular endurance is less clear, with mixed results in studies.

Agility and Coordination

Insufficient Evidence.

There is limited research specifically addressing creatine's effects on agility and coordination.


Insufficient Evidence.

Similar to agility, there is insufficient evidence regarding creatine's impact on flexibility.


Insufficient Evidence.

Limited studies have focused on creatine's effect on balance.

Reaction Time

Limited Evidence.

Some studies suggest potential benefits, but more research is needed.

5. Adaptation and Resilience

Resistance to Muscle Fatigue

Strong Evidence for an increase in resistance to muscle fatigue.

Creatine is well-known for its role in delaying muscle fatigue during high-intensity activities (Izquierdo et al., 2002).

Lactic Acid Tolerance

Moderate Evidence for improving lactic acid tolerance.

Creatine may help in buffering lactic acid during intense exercise, but more studies are needed for conclusive evidence.

Injury Recovery Speed

Limited Evidence.

Few studies have examined this aspect, requiring more research for a definitive conclusion.

Injury Risk

Insufficient Evidence.

Current research does not provide enough data to assess the impact on injury risk.

Adaptation to Training Stimuli

Moderate Evidence for an improvement in adaptation.

Creatine seems to enhance the body's response to resistance training (Candow et al., 2014).

6. Overall Wellness and Support

Sleep Quality

Insufficient Evidence.

Limited research has been conducted on creatine's impact on sleep quality.

Blood Flow and Circulation

Limited Evidence.

The effects of creatine on blood flow and circulation are not well-documented.

Energy Levels

Moderate Evidence.

Creatine is known to increase energy levels, particularly during high-intensity exercise.

Nutrient Absorption

Limited Evidence.

There's some indication that creatine may affect nutrient absorption, but more research is needed.

Hydration Levels

Limited Evidence.

While creatine can increase water retention in muscles, its overall impact on hydration levels is less clear.

Creatines Mechanism of Action

Creatine primarily works by increasing the availability of creatine phosphate, a high-energy substrate, in muscle cells.

This enhances the production of ATP, the primary energy currency of the cell, especially during short, high-intensity activities.

It also draws water into muscle cells, increasing their size and strength.

Safety and Toxicity

Creatine is generally considered safe for most individuals when used appropriately.

There have been concerns about kidney and liver health with long-term use, but these have not been substantiated in healthy individuals.

It is always advisable to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any supplementation.

Synergistic Compounds

Creatine's effects may be enhanced when combined with protein supplementation, resistance training, and a balanced diet rich in carbohydrates and proteins.


The research supports the use of creatine as a sports performance aid, especially in muscle strength and development.

Anecdotal data, while not as robust as clinical trials, generally supports the efficacy of creatine in improving muscle strength, size, and performance in various physical activities.

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