a strong, fit woman lifting small weights during her workout

Creatine for Athletes

Alan Siddal
This content originally appeared on 

Creatine is an amino acid found naturally in your body, and it’s been shown to help build muscle and strength, especially when used in combination with resistance training.

Recent studies suggest that creatine may also support improved cognition.

Benefits of Creatine

  • Athletes May Get a Boost

    Creatine may help to improve sports performance by supporting stamina and strength, making it possible to work out longer and at a higher intensity—especially when lifting weights, sprinting, or performing other actions that require short but powerful bursts of effort.

    It may also aid your recovery time. Some research has found a link between creatine and a reduced risk of muscle and joint injuries.

  • Bonus Benefits for your Brain

    Emerging research suggests that supplementing with creatine may support enhanced memory performance in healthy people, particularly older adults.

    One recent review found that participants who supplemented with creatine performed better on tests of memory than those that received a placebo.

    Another recent study found that participants who supplemented with five grams (g) of creatine for six weeks experienced a small, but beneficial, improvement in cognitive performance.

Is Creatine Right for You?

Creatine monohydrate is the safest and most extensively researched form of the supplement, even at higher doses (a typical dose is 3 to 5 grams per day).

One common side effect of creatine supplementation is weight gain, but it tends to be due to an increase in muscle, and not fat.

Because it draws water to your muscles from the rest of your body, it’s important to drink plenty of water when supplementing with creatine to avoid dehydration.

Click to See Our Sources

“Creatine,” MayoClinic.org, 12/13/23

“Creatine,” MedlinePlus, National Library of Medicine, https://MedlinePlus.gov, 2/1/24

“Creatine for exercise and sports performance, with recovery considerations for healthy populations,” by B. Wax et al., Nutrients, 6/21

“Effects of creatine supplementation during resistance training sessions in physically active young adults” by S. Mills et al., Nutrients, 6/20

“The effect of creatine supplementation on cognitive performance—a randomized controlled study” by J.F. Sandkühler et al., BMC Medicine, 11/23

“Effects of creatine supplementation on memory in healthy individuals: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials” by K. Prokopidis et al., Nutrition Reviews, 3/23