Does Creatine Give You Energy?

December 30, 2023

Creatine can enhance performance, increase muscle mass, improve recovery after training, and offer mental health benefits. But does improved performance mean that creatine can give you energy?

Although creatine does not contribute to your daily energy intake through calories, it does play a role in your energy metabolism.

When you use creatine, you might feel like you have more energy and can work out longer. Let’s have a closer look at why this happens.

Does Creatine Give You Energy?

Yes and no. While creatine monohydrate does not contain energy in the form of calories (although it’s important to mention that certain creatine formulations may include other ingredients contributing calories), it can contribute to energy metabolism.

The body produces creatine in the kidneys, liver, and pancreas using amino acids like arginine, glycine, and methionine [1].

You can also get creatine from your diet, found in foods like seafood, red meat, and poultry, or through supplements [2].

However, maximizing creatine levels in muscles through diet alone is not easy, so adding creatine to your supplement routine is recommended [3].

Let’s look at how the body makes energy.

Energy is produced by breaking down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats within cells. This is done in the mitochondria, which is a part of the cell that produces energy (and therefore also called the “powerhouse” of the cell) [4].


This process of breaking down nutrients produces free energy stored in high-energy bonds within molecules like ADP and ATP, phosphoenolpyruvate, carbamoyl phosphate, 2,3-bisphosphoglycerate, and other compounds [4].

Among these, ATP is vital as the “exchange coin” between energy-producing and energy-demanding processes.

It is involved in the formation, breakdown, or transfer of the terminal phosphate group (the phosphate group at the end of the molecule). It can be seen as the “energy currency” of the cell [4]. Energy is released when ATP (three phosphates) is broken down to ADP (two phosphates).


Creatine’s main job in metabolism is to join with a phosphoryl group (Pi) to create phosphocreatine, thanks to the enzyme creatine kinase [5].

Researchers [6, 7] have pointed out that the performance-enhancing effects of creatine are mostly tied to the functions of creatine kinase and phosphocreatine, forming the creatine kinase/phosphocreatine (CK/PCr) system.

Imagine ATP as a tiny energy unit with three parts. When it helps our muscles work, it loses one part and becomes ADP. Now, when our energy unit ATP needs more energy to keep going, it can use phosphocreatine as a “backup” [8].

Phosphocreatine is like a secret energy stash. When it breaks down, it releases energy that helps our ATP return to full power by adding its third “part” back.

It’s like having spare batteries to keep our energy unit going strong, especially when we’re doing fast and intense exercises like sprinting [5].

In addition, when your creatine stores are elevated, it can contribute to shuttle (transport) phosphates, thereby helping to transport ATP from where it is produced (e.g., the mitochondria) to where it is used for energy [9], reducing oxidative stress [10].

Does Creatine Help With Fatigue?

Taking creatine supplements has decreased mental fatigue [11] and enhanced cognitive function [12, 13, 14, 15].

In one study [11], participants who took creatine supplements (8 g/day for 5 days) experienced reduced mental fatigue during repetitive simple mathematical calculations and increased brain oxygen use.

In terms of fatigue during workouts, more research is required. In a systematic review and meta-analysis of 14 studies on adults between the ages of 18 – 60 years, the effects of short-term creatine supplementation on repeated sprint ability were measured.

The creatine groups significantly increased muscle mass and mean power output compared to the placebo, but no effect on fatigue was found. The conclusion was that more research is needed on the impact of creatine on fatigue [16].

Some research indicates that creatine may be beneficial when sleep-deprived, [3] although more research is required.

A study involving 10 professional rugby backs found that elite players experienced a decline in skill performance when sleep-deprived [14].

To prevent performance declines, they experimented with caffeine and creatine supplements, both of which exhibited similar positive effects on skill performance.

This implies that these supplements could be viable options before training or competitions, particularly when lacking sleep.

Another study [17] was done on two groups: a creatine group (10 participants) and a placebo group (9 participants).

The participants had to undergo sleep deprivation for 24 hours, and it was found that taking creatine supplements might help reduce the negative impacts of 24 hours of sleep deprivation on cognitive and psychomotor performance, as well as mood.

However, no noticeable effects were found after 6 and 12 hours of sleep deprivation. In other words, if you were to use creatine to offset sleep deprivation, it might only work if you pull an all-nighter. This study also had a very short duration and small sample size as limitations.

It’s always better to get a good night’s sleep than to try to do “damage control” using supplements.


Although creatine contains no calories, it can contribute to your energy metabolism and make you feel stronger and faster in the gym.

There is insufficient conclusive research to show that it reduces muscle fatigue during workouts. Still, research shows that creatine can reduce mental fatigue during and outside training.


  1. Wyss, M., & Kaddurah-Daouk, R. (2000). Creatine and creatinine metabolism. Physiological Reviews, 80(3), 1107-213.
  2. Ostojic, S. M., & Forbes, S. C. (2022). Perspective: Creatine, a Conditionally Essential Nutrient: Building the Case. Advances in Nutrition, 13(1), 34-37.
  3. Forbes, S. C., et al. (2023). Creatine supplementation and endurance performance: surges and sprints to win the race. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 20(1), 2204071.
  4. Bonora, M., et al. (2012). ATP synthesis and storage. Purinergic Signal, 8(3), 343-57.
  5. Kreider, R. B., et al. (2017). International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 14, 18.
  6. Wallimann, T., Schlösser, T., & Eppenberger, H. M. (1984). Function of M-line-bound creatine kinase as intramyofibrillar ATP regenerator at the receiving end of the phosphorylcreatine shuttle in muscle. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 259(8), 5238-5246.
  7. Wallimann, T., et al. (1998). Some new aspects of creatine kinase (CK): compartmentation, structure, function and regulation for cellular and mitochondrial bioenergetics and physiology. Biofactors, 8(3-4), 229-234.
  8. Schlattner, U., et al. (2016). Cellular compartmentation of energy metabolism: creatine kinase microcompartments and recruitment of B-type creatine kinase to specific subcellular sites. Amino Acids, 48(8), 1751-1774.
  9. Wallimann, T., Tokarska-Schlattner, M., & Schlattner, U. (2011). The creatine kinase system and pleiotropic effects of creatine. Amino Acids, 40(5), 1271-1296.
  10. Arazi, H., Eghbali, E., & Suzuki, K. (2021). Creatine Supplementation, Physical Exercise and Oxidative Stress Markers: A Review of the Mechanisms and Effectiveness. Nutrients, 13(3).
  11. Watanabe, A., Kato, N., & Kato, T. (2002). Effects of creatine on mental fatigue and cerebral hemoglobin oxygenation. Neuroscience Research, 42(4), 279-285.
  12. McMorris, T., et al. (2007). Creatine supplementation and cognitive performance in elderly individuals. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 14(5), 517-528.
  13. Rae, C., et al. (2003). Oral creatine monohydrate supplementation improves brain performance: a double–blind, placebo–controlled, cross–over trial. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences, 270(1529), 2147-2150.
  14. McMorris, T., et al. (2007). Creatine supplementation, sleep deprivation, cortisol, melatonin and behavior. Physiology & Behavior, 90(1), 21-8.
  15. Ling, J., Kritikos, M., & Tiplady, B. (2009). Cognitive effects of creatine ethyl ester supplementation. Behavioral Pharmacology, 20(8), 673-679.
  16. Glaister, M., & Rhodes, L. (2022). Short-Term Creatine Supplementation and Repeated Sprint Ability-A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 32(6), 491-500.
  17. Cook, C. J., et al. (2011). Skill execution and sleep deprivation: effects of acute caffeine or creatine supplementation – a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 8, 2.
About the Author

Hanli is a Registered Dietitian with a special interest in sports nutrition. She has a Master's degree and is currently a PhD candidate focusing on adolescent athlete nutrition. She has published research in the Obesity Reviews journal and is a research coordinator at the Sport Science Institute of South Africa.

Want More Great Content?

Check Out These Articles