Can Creatine Cause Anxiety in 2024

Imagine feeling on top of the world after a vigorous workout, your muscles pumped full of strength and energy.  Now imagine experiencing a sudden surge of anxiety, dampening your post-exercise high. If you have ever wondered if the popular muscle-building supplement, creatine, can be a culprit for anxiety, this article is for you. Can Creatine Cause Anxiety? Delve into the potential effects of this popular supplement and discover whether it truly has the power to provoke those unwanted bouts of anxiety.

What is Creatine?

Creatine is a naturally occurring compound that is found mainly in our muscles and is also present in small amounts in our brain and other organs. It plays a crucial role in providing the necessary energy for muscle contractions during high-intensity exercise, making it a popular supplement among athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

Definition and Functions

Creatine is a nitrogenous organic acid that is synthesized in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas from three amino acids: arginine, glycine, and methionine. Its primary function is to help regenerate adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the main energy source for cellular processes. ATP provides the necessary fuel for muscle contractions, and as such, creatine plays a vital role in enhancing athletic performance, promoting muscle strength, and improving exercise capacity.

Types of Creatine

There are several types of creatine available in the market, each with its own specific characteristics. The most common form is creatine monohydrate, which is known for its effectiveness and affordability. Other variations include creatine ethyl ester, creatine HCL, and buffered creatine. These alternative forms claim to have better absorption rates or improved solubility, but their efficacy and benefits are still a subject of debate among researchers and users.

Benefits of Creatine

Creatine supplementation has been extensively studied and has shown a range of benefits related to sports performance, muscle mass, and overall health. Some of the notable advantages of using creatine include:

  1. Increased muscle strength and power: Creatine has been consistently shown to improve muscular strength and power output, making it a popular choice for athletes and weightlifters.
  2. Enhanced exercise capacity: By increasing the levels of phosphocreatine in the muscles, creatine allows for longer bursts of high-intensity exercise, enabling individuals to push through their workouts and achieve better results.
  3. Muscle growth and recovery: Creatine has been associated with increased muscle mass and accelerated recovery after intense exercise, helping individuals achieve their physique goals more effectively.
  4. Neuroprotective effects: Research suggests that creatine supplementation may have neuroprotective properties and could potentially benefit individuals with neurodegenerative diseases.

Link Between Creatine and Anxiety

Creatine has been a subject of interest when it comes to its potential impact on mental health, particularly its association with anxiety. While scientific studies have yielded conflicting results, it is essential to explore this link and understand the mechanisms underlying any potential effects.

Scientific Studies

Several studies have investigated the relationship between creatine and anxiety, but the findings have been inconclusive. In some cases, creatine has been reported to have anxiolytic effects, meaning it reduces anxiety symptoms. However, other studies have also indicated an association between creatine supplementation and increased anxiety levels, especially in individuals who are predisposed to anxiety disorders.

Mechanisms of Action

The exact mechanisms by which creatine may influence anxiety are still not entirely understood. One theory suggests that creatine’s ability to enhance cellular energy production may lead to an increase in excitatory neurotransmitters, such as glutamate, which could potentially contribute to anxiety symptoms. Another possibility is that creatine’s effects on brain energy metabolism may indirectly influence mood and anxiety regulation pathways.

Can Creatine Cause Anxiety

Can Creatine Cause Anxiety: Individual Variations

When examining the potential impact of creatine on anxiety, it is crucial to consider individual variations that could influence the outcomes. Factors such as genetics, metabolism, and pre-existing anxiety disorders can all play a role in how an individual responds to creatine supplementation.


Genetic factors can significantly influence an individual’s response to creatine supplementation. Certain genetic variations may affect the way creatine is processed and utilized in the body, potentially amplifying or diminishing any associated anxiety symptoms.


Metabolism plays a crucial role in how the body processes and eliminates substances like creatine. Differences in metabolism can impact the duration and intensity of creatine’s effects, potentially altering its interactions with anxiety symptoms.

Pre-existing Anxiety Disorders

Individuals with pre-existing anxiety disorders may be more susceptible to experiencing anxiety-related side effects from creatine supplementation. It is important for individuals with such conditions to exercise caution and consult with a healthcare professional before considering creatine as a supplement.

Potential Side Effects of Creatine

While creatine is generally considered safe for most individuals, it is essential to be aware of potential side effects that may arise from supplementation.


Creatine supplementation can cause an increase in water content within the muscles, which may lead to a temporary increase in body weight. It is crucial to maintain adequate hydration to avoid dehydration, especially during intense physical activity.

Digestive Issues

Some individuals may experience digestive issues such as bloating, diarrhea, or stomach discomfort when taking creatine. These side effects are generally mild and can be minimized by consuming creatine with food or by splitting the dosage throughout the day.

Kidney Damage

There have been concerns about the potential impact of creatine supplementation on kidney health. While research suggests that creatine is safe for individuals with normal kidney function, individuals with pre-existing kidney conditions should exercise caution and consult with a healthcare professional before using creatine.

Liver Damage

Although rare, there have been isolated cases of liver damage associated with excessive creatine consumption. However, it is important to note that these cases are rare, and most individuals can safely use creatine within recommended dosage guidelines.

Muscle Cramps

Muscle cramps have been reported by some individuals using creatine. However, it is unclear whether these cramps are directly caused by creatine or if they are a result of other factors such as dehydration or overexertion during exercise.

Weight Gain

Due to creatine’s ability to increase water content within the muscles, temporary weight gain may occur shortly after initiating supplementation. This should not be confused with fat gain and is typically not a cause for concern.

Can Creatine Cause Anxiety

Temporary Mental Health Effects of Creatine

In addition to potential side effects, some individuals may experience temporary mental health effects when using creatine. While the majority of users do not report any adverse effects on mental health, it is essential to be aware of potential changes in sleep patterns, mood, and irritability.


Some individuals may experience difficulty falling asleep or disrupted sleep patterns while using creatine. If this occurs, it is recommended to avoid taking creatine close to bedtime or to adjust the dosage and timing in consultation with a healthcare professional.


In rare cases, individuals may experience increased irritability or shorter temper while using creatine. This effect is typically temporary and subsides once the individual adjusts to the supplement or discontinues its use.

Mood Swings

Changes in mood, such as increased aggression or irritability, have been reported by some individuals using creatine. It is important to note that these effects are not universal and may vary from person to person.

The Role of Dosage and Timing

Dosage and timing are essential factors to consider when using creatine as a supplement. Adhering to recommended dosage guidelines and properly timing creatine intake can help minimize any potential side effects and maximize its benefits.

Recommended Dosage

The recommended dosage of creatine varies depending on the individual’s body weight and activity level. It is generally advised to start with a loading phase, where individuals consume around 20 grams of creatine (in divided doses) per day for 5-7 days, followed by a maintenance phase of 3-5 grams per day.

Pre-workout vs. Post-workout

The timing of creatine supplementation can also affect its efficacy and potential side effects. Some individuals prefer to take creatine as a pre-workout supplement to enhance performance, while others choose to take it post-workout to aid in muscle recovery. The choice between pre and post-workout supplementation depends on individual preferences and goals.

Cycling Creatine

Many individuals choose to cycle their creatine usage, meaning they take breaks from supplementation to allow their body’s natural creatine production to normalize. Cycling periods typically involve discontinuing creatine supplementation for 4-6 weeks before starting a new cycle.

Can Creatine Cause Anxiety

Other Factors to Consider

Apart from dosage and timing, there are other factors that should be taken into consideration when using creatine as a supplement.

Health Conditions and Medications

Individuals with pre-existing health conditions, such as kidney or liver disorders, should consult with a healthcare professional before using creatine. Additionally, certain medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), may interact with creatine and require adjustment of dosages.

Combining Creatine with Stimulants

Creatine should not be combined with stimulants, such as caffeine or energy drinks, without proper caution and guidance. Combining these substances may increase the risk of potential side effects or unwanted interactions.

Precautions and Recommendations

To ensure a safe and effective experience with creatine supplementation, it is recommended to take certain precautions and seek professional guidance.

Consulting a Healthcare Professional

Before starting any new supplement regimen, including creatine, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional, particularly if you have pre-existing health conditions or concerns. They can provide personalized advice based on your specific circumstances and help determine if creatine is suitable for you.

Monitoring Your Symptoms

While using creatine, it is important to monitor any changes in your physical or mental health. If you experience any concerning symptoms, such as severe anxiety or persistent side effects, it is recommended to discontinue creatine use and consult with a healthcare professional.

Conclusion Can Creatine Cause Anxiety

Creatine supplementation has gained popularity among athletes and fitness enthusiasts due to its proven benefits in improving athletic performance and promoting muscle growth. However, the link between creatine and anxiety is still not well understood and requires further research. Individual variations, potential side effects, and temporary mental health effects should all be considered when deciding to use creatine as a supplement. It is always wise to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen to ensure personalized guidance and recommendations. Listen to your body and monitor your symptoms, and make informed decisions based on your unique circumstances.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Does creatine have mental side effects? While creatine is generally considered safe, some individuals may experience mental side effects like increased anxiety. It’s crucial to monitor how your body responds and consult with a healthcare professional.

2. Why is my anxiety so bad all of a sudden? Sudden increases in anxiety can be influenced by various factors, including stress, lifestyle changes, or underlying health issues. Seeking professional advice can help identify the root cause.

3. Why do I feel weird after taking creatine? Individual responses to creatine vary. Feeling “weird” could be due to sensitivity or an interaction with other substances. If discomfort persists, consulting a healthcare provider is recommended.

4. What is the 333 rule for anxiety? The 333 rule involves acknowledging three things you see, hear, and feel during an anxious moment. It’s a grounding technique to help shift focus and manage anxiety.

5. Is creatine safe for the brain? Research suggests that creatine may have neuroprotective properties, potentially benefiting the brain. However, individual reactions vary, and consulting a healthcare professional is advisable.

6. Does creatine affect serotonin? Creatine’s impact on serotonin levels is not fully understood. While some studies suggest a potential link, more research is needed to establish a definitive connection.

7. How to calm anxiety? Calming anxiety involves various strategies such as deep breathing, mindfulness, and seeking support. Experimenting with different techniques helps identify what works best for you.

8. Will anxiety go away eventually? The trajectory of anxiety varies for each individual. Seeking professional guidance, practicing coping mechanisms, and addressing underlying causes contribute to managing anxiety effectively.

9. How do I fix sudden anxiety? Addressing sudden anxiety may involve deep breathing, grounding techniques, and identifying triggers. Establishing a routine and seeking support can contribute to managing anxiety.

10. Who should not take creatine? Individuals with kidney issues or allergies to creatine should avoid supplementation. Consulting a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement is crucial.

11. Can you react badly to creatine? Some individuals may experience adverse reactions to creatine, such as digestive issues or increased anxiety. Monitoring your response and seeking guidance is essential.

12. Is creatine OK to take every day? For many people, taking creatine daily is safe and well-tolerated. However, consulting with a healthcare professional is advisable, especially for those with pre-existing conditions.

13. Should I push through anxiety? Pushing through anxiety may not always be beneficial. Listening to your body, practicing self-compassion, and seeking support are essential for overall well-being.

14. What not to say to anxiety? Avoid minimizing someone’s anxiety by saying things like “just relax.” Instead, offer empathy and support, acknowledging the validity of their feelings.

15. What not to do with anxiety? Avoid dismissing or ignoring anxiety. Encourage open communication, and if appropriate, suggest seeking professional help for effective coping strategies.

16. Does creatine affect sleep? There’s limited evidence linking creatine to sleep disturbances. However, individual responses vary, and paying attention to your body’s reactions is crucial.

17. Can I take creatine before bed? Taking creatine before bed is generally considered safe. However, individual preferences and sensitivities should be considered, and consulting with a healthcare professional is advisable.

18. Can you put creatine in coffee? Creatine can be mixed with coffee. However, it’s essential to consider personal preferences and any potential interactions. Consulting with a healthcare provider is recommended.

19. Does creatine increase stress? While stress responses may vary, creatine is not generally known to increase stress. Monitoring individual reactions and seeking professional advice is advisable.

20. Does creatine affect GABA? Research on creatine’s impact on GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is limited. More studies are needed to understand any potential connections fully.

21. Does creatine affect dopamine? The relationship between creatine and dopamine is not well-established. Further research is required to determine the extent of any impact on dopamine levels.

22. What supplements calm anxiety? Certain supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and certain herbs, may have calming effects. However, individual responses vary, and consulting a healthcare professional is recommended.

23. How I healed my anxiety without drugs? Individual experiences with healing anxiety without drugs vary. Strategies may include therapy, lifestyle changes, and coping mechanisms. Seeking guidance from mental health professionals is crucial.

24. How I cured my anxiety with a vitamin? Curing anxiety with a specific vitamin is subjective and may not apply universally. A balanced diet, including essential nutrients, contributes to overall mental well-being. Consultation with healthcare professionals is advised.

25. What are 3 cons to creatine? Potential cons of creatine may include digestive issues, water retention, and individual sensitivities. Consulting with a healthcare professional helps weigh the benefits and risks.

26. Is creatine safe for the heart? Creatine is generally considered safe for the heart in healthy individuals. However, those with pre-existing heart conditions should consult with a healthcare professional before supplementation.

27. Why is creatine banned in sports? Creatine is not universally banned in sports. However, some organizations may restrict its use due to concerns about fairness and performance enhancement. Checking specific sports regulations is advisable.

Source: Creatine