Does Creatine Work?

Rich JacobsArticles, Nutrition, Supplements

There is plenty of research out there on creatine. Much of it both proves and disproves its use. It is most famous for its performance-enhancing claims and also it’s purported ability to add fat-free mass. However, from what I’ve seen in the real world, it works for some and not others. I can give you some guidelines based on the research that may help decide if it is the right supplement to use.

Which Creatine to Use?

Studies have shown no difference between the buffered Kre-Alkalyn versus the monohydrate.  Another study also compares the differences between monohydrate and creatine HCl.  The study shows that the HCl is more bioavailable than the monohydrate. This could make it more effective in absorption.  However, studies comparing the two show no statistical difference when testing endurance adaptations.


Since monohydrate is the most common form both found and used, let’s focus on its dosage.  In the past, those who used monohydrate would load at 20g per day for 5 days.  A more specific protocol would be to load at 0.15 grams per pound of body weight.  Then a maintenance phase would work at 5g per day.

Pre-Workout or Post-Workout?

All of the current studies show that post-workout supplementation is more effective than pre-workout.  For best results, combine the creatine with protein and/or carbohydrates as this will raise insulin and help the creatine absorb into the muscle.

Is Creatine Good for Women?

Well, the studies show that it doesn’t help physically. However, it may help psychologically by buffering the lactic threshold and also decreasing exertion with female cyclists.  Other studies show that a lower dosage of around 2g per day may be all that is needed for both men and women to resist fatigue.

Hopefully,  this article will help you make an informed decision about using creatine.  There are plenty of studies to support and disapprove of its usage.  It is ultimately up to you to decide whether it is right for you.


Antonio and Ciccone: The effects of pre versus post workout supplementation of creatine monohydrate on body composition and strength. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2013 10:36.

Jagim et al.: A buffered form of creatine does not promote greater changes in muscle creatine content, body composition, or training adaptations than creatine monohydrate. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2012 9:43.

Outlaw et al.: Effects of post-exercise whey protein vs. whey protein plus creatine consumption in females. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2013 10(Suppl 1):P20.

doi:  10.1186/1550-2783-9-S1-P17

Effects of Creatine Monohydrate vs. Creatine Hydrochloride on Muscle Endurance Performance. Naylor, K., Albright, C., Liggitt, C., Kolenc, A., Robinson, R., Braun, W., Sanders, J. Shippensburg University, Shippensburg, PA

Stewart, RW Jr.; Glenn, JM; Smith, K; Moyen, NE; Galey, M; and Gray, M (2014) “EFFECTS OF BETA-ALANINE AND CREATINE MONOHYDRATE SUPPLEMENTATION ON ANAEROBIC PERFORMANCE IN TRAINED FEMALE CYCLISTS,” International Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Proceedings: Vol. 11: Iss. 2, Article 61.