Some health experts believe that a balanced diet provides adequate creatine and that supplementing with additional creatine is unnecessary because creatine is not an essential nutrient. However, there are some faults to this logic.
“While we do make very small amounts of creatine in the body, it cannot be made in quantities that show benefits in research,” says Jones. “Creatine also can be obtained from meat and fish, but a 4-ounce serving of salmon and beef each provides only .5 grams of creatine, with up to 30% of creatine lost in the cooking process. You would need to eat an unhealthy amount of animal protein to meet the 3-5 grams per day needed to see a benefit, and you would not be able to safely load if that was important for you.”
There is also a misconception that anyone with kidney dysfunction should not supplement creatine, but Werner says this myth has been dispelled by decades of research showing chronic creatine supplementation had no effect on kidney function.
Another reason some health experts do not recommend taking supplemental creatine is the concept that some people are creatine “non-responders.”
“While it is true that people will react differently to varied diet interventions, foods, and supplements, studies suggesting there are complete ‘non-responders’ to creatine are a bit older and specific to muscular strength and power,” says Jones. “As suggested by this review, the two studies discussing non-responders were either unclear about their timing of administration or only included creatine three days per week. In my opinion, more research considering diet and lifestyle variables is needed to determine non-response to not only muscular benefits but also cognitive benefits.”