Supplemental Creatine Phosphate Side Effects

Creatine phosphate is a naturally occurring amino acid that is found in muscle tissue. It has become popular to supplement the body’s natural creatine phosphate production with oral supplements. In most cases, supplementation benefits competitive athletes and body builders the most, but creatine supplements have been used across nearly all sports disciplines. Unfortunately, side effects can occur when creatine is supplemented.


Creatine supplementation is dosed to increase the amount of creatine phosphate in the body. It is typically taken as 5 g of creatine, 4 times per day (20 g per day) to build up the amount of creatine in the body. This dosage is continued for approximately one week. After the initial week, a single dose of 2 to 5 g per day will maintain levels of creatine in the body.

Mild Side Effects

Side effects of creatine supplementation vary from person to person. Typically, mild side effects include mild weight gain, muscle cramps, dehydration, diarrhea and stomach upset. Weight gain, dehydration and muscle cramps are thought to be caused by creatine’s action of drawing more water into the muscle tissue. This drawing of water from the rest of the body can cause dehydration and muscle cramps, and weight gain is caused by water retention in the muscles.

Major Side Effects

More major side effects can include muscle strains and pulls, high blood pressure, liver dysfunction and kidney damage. Muscle strains and pulls are thought to be caused by the increased work capacity of the muscles causing damage to muscle fibers. Liver and kidney dysfunction and damage can be due to high concentrations of creatine circulating in the blood stream, and being cleared from the blood by these organs.

About this Author

Dr. Robert Manning holds a Doctor of Chiropractic degree and practices in upstate New York. He has worked in a multitude of settings including the veterans affairs system, inpatient hospitals and private practice. He has been a writer and contributor to various Web-based publications for five years, and produces health-related works in his local community.