Creatine for Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Energy & Muscle Strength

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Creatine Basics

Creatine is an organic acid that your body uses to produce energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Both fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are linked to low levels of ATP.

Creatine is produced by your body and is also available through dietary sources.

We don't have a lot of research on creatine, but so far, research suggests that creatine may:

  • Improve athletic performance
  • Strengthen muscles and improve neuromuscular function
  • Increase lean muscle mass
  • Lower triglyceride concentrations in the blood
  • Improve heart health
  • Have some anti-cancer properties
  • Provide some benefit to people with neurodegenerative disease, including Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

Creatine for Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

One study of creatine for fibromyalgia (Alves) suggested that creatine supplementation may improve muscle strength and function. It did not appear to have any effect on other major symptoms.

Creatine hasn't been studied for chronic fatigue syndrome. However, it's commonly recommended as a supplement because of its association with improving athletic performance. A key symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome is post-exertional malaise, which is a sharp upturn in symptoms following exertion.

Research suggests both neurological components and possible mitochondrial dysfunction in fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Some studies suggest that creatine may address several features of those types of illnesses, such as:

  • Ischemia (impaired blood flow)
  • Oxidative stress
  • Neurotoxins (substances that damage brain and nerve cells)
  • Energy dysregulation

Creatine in Your Diet

Red meat and fish contain creatine in small amounts. Eating carbohydrates along with sources of creatine may increase the amount that's available for your muscles to use.

The recommended sources of creatine include:

  • Lean red meat
  • Herring
  • Salmon
  • Tuna

Creatine Dosage:

We don't have a recommended daily allowance for creatine, but research has established some therapeutic levels. For athletic adults, a typical maintenance dose for improving exercise performance is 2 grams a day. For other adults, suggested dosages range from 3 to 5 grams per day.

Creatine supplements come in multiple forms, including liquids, tablets/capsules, liquids, and edible products like energy bars.

Be sure to discuss creatine supplementation with your doctor and pharmacist to make sure you're taking it safely and that it won't interact negatively with other drugs and supplements you're taking.

Side Effects of Creatine:

Possible side effects of creatine include:

  • Muscle cramps or strains
  • Weight gain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach cramps, nausea, and diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • High blood pressure
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Kidney damage

If you have high blood pressure, liver disease or kidney disease, you should not take creatine supplements.

Creatine may increase your risk of kidney damage when combined with drugs or supplements that effect your kidneys, including:

  • Tagamet (cimetidine)
  • Diuretics (water pills)

More Supplement Information:

To learn more about taking supplements for fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, see:


Alves CR, et al. Arthritis care & research. 2013 Sep;65(9):1449-59. Creatine supplementation in fibromyalgia: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

Baker SK, Tarnopolsky MA. Expert opinion on investigational drugs. 2003 Oct;12(10):1655-79. Targeting cellular energy production in neurological disorders.

Kley RA, Tarnopolsky MA, Vorgerd M. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews. 2013 Jun 5;6:CD004760. Creatine for treating muscle disorders.

University of Maryland Medical Center. All rights reserved. "Creatine." Accessed July 2015.

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