Effects of creatine supplementation on renal function

J Herb Pharmacother. 2004;4(1):1-7.


Creatine is a popular supplement used by athletes in an effort to increase muscle performance. The purpose of this review was to assess the literature evaluating the effects of creatine supplementation on renal function. A PubMed search was conducted to identify relevant articles using the keywords, creatine, supplementation, supplements, renal dysfunction, ergogenic aid and renal function. Twelve pertinent articles and case reports were identified. According to the existing literature, creatine supplementation appears safe when used by healthy adults at the recommended loading (20 gm/day for five days) and maintenance doses (</=3 gm/day). In people with a history of renal disease or those taking nephrotoxic medications, creatine may be associated with an increased risk of renal dysfunction. One case report of acute renal failure was reported in a 20-year-old man taking 20 gm/day of creatine for a period of four weeks. There are few trials investigating the long-term use of creatine supplementation in doses exceeding 10 gm/day. Furthermore, the safety of creatine in children and adolescents has not been established. Since creatine supplementation may increase creatinine levels, it may act as a false indicator of renal dysfunction. Future studies should include renal function markers other than serum creatinine and creatinine clearance.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / chemically induced*
  • Adult
  • Creatine / administration & dosage*
  • Creatine / adverse effects*
  • Dietary Supplements* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Kidney / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects
  • Phosphocreatine / administration & dosage
  • Phosphocreatine / adverse effects
  • Physical Endurance / drug effects
  • Risk Factors


  • Phosphocreatine
  • Creatine