Does Creatine Cause Depression?

Creatine is a popular supplement among athletes and bodybuilders. The University of Maryland Medical Center estimates that Americans spends about $14 million per year on creatine supplements 1. Creatine is a natural occurring amino acid found in fish and meat. The body creates creatine in the liver, pancreas and kidney. Rather than causing depression, research suggests that creatine is an effective supplement in treating the condition 4.

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Creatine converts to phosphocreatine which is stored in the muscles. Phosphocreatine then converts into ATP, which is a significant source of energy for intense physical activity such as weightlifting. People with chronic heart disease often have low levels of creatine. According to, several studies suggest creatine supplements may improve heart muscle strength and endurance in patients suffering from heart failure. Creatine may also help treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson’s disease.

Creatine and Depression

Depression is a mental illness that causes symptoms that include sadness, loss of energy, sleep problems, feelings of worthlessness and thoughts of suicide 4. According to Medline Plus, 20 million Americans suffer from depression 4. Although creatine users report side effects such as anxiety, anger and depression, there is no evidence to support this 4. reports preliminary studies suggests a potential benefit of creatine for treating depression 4. It requires further research to determine the effectiveness of creatine in treating depression 4.

Creatine and Depression Research

A 2007 study conducted by the Ness Ziona Mental Health Center reports the effects of creatine in treatment-resistant depressive and bipolar patients. The study involved eight depressive and two bipolar volunteers receiving 3 to 5 g of creatine monohydrate over a course of four weeks 3. One depressed participant improved significantly after a week of the study. The other seven depressive patients significantly improved while the two bipolar volunteers went into mania or hypomania. The researcher concluded that the preliminary study suggest creatine is beneficial for people suffering from depression, but may trigger mania in bipolar patients 4.


Side effects of creatine include:

  • weight gain
  • muscle cramps
  • muscle strains
  • stomach discomfort
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • high-blood pressure

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, most studies have found no significant side effects of creatine in the doses used for six months or more 1. When taken in high doses, liver dysfunction and kidney damage may occur. Do not use creatine supplements without the supervision of a medical professional, due to the potential serious side effects. Although preliminary studies for creatine treating depression is positive, no large-scale research has taken place 4. If symptoms of depression occur due to use of creatine, stop using the supplement immediately 4.