Person bending down to adjust barbell.

Creatine plays an important role in the production of energy and in the process of building muscular strength and lean body mass. Many people–especially those who participate in sports and intense physical activities–take creatine supplements to help improve physical performance.

Creatine is a non-essential, endogenous amino acid, which is naturally produced by the body in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas from the amino acids glycine, arginine, and methionine. In the body, creatine is mostly found in muscle and brain tissue. In addition, creatine can be consumed by eating meat, poultry, and seafood. 

Since vegetarians cannot obtain creatine from their diet, oral intake of creatine supplements (not derived from animals) can be beneficial. It’s possible for vegetarians to increase creatine intake indirectly by eating certain foods that contain glycine, arginine, and methionine (these amino acids are used in the body to create creatine). However, it’s more efficient to get it through supplementation. 

Studies exploring the effects of creatine supplementation among vegetarians found that vegetarians who took creatine experienced improved athletic performance. Creatine aids in the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which helps provide energy to muscle cells. The primary benefit of creatine supplementation is an improvement in strength and power output during resistance (anaerobic) exercise.

In addition, studies have also shown an increase in cognitive performance among vegetarians who take creatine supplements. The increased presence of creatine in brain cells shows a positive correlation to memory recognition as well as a reduction in mental fatigue.


Additional Information:



Benton D, Donohoe R. The influence of creatine supplementation on the cognitive functioning of vegetarians and omnivores. Br J Nutr. 2011 Apr;105(7):1100-5. doi: 10.1017/S0007114510004733. Epub 2010 Dec 1. PMID: 21118604. 

Burke DG, Chilibeck PD, Parise G, Candow DG, Mahoney D, Tarnopolsky M. Effect of creatine and weight training on muscle creatine and performance in vegetarians. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2003 Nov;35(11):1946-55. doi: 10.1249/01.MSS.0000093614.17517.79. PMID: 14600563.

Kaviani, M., Shaw, K., & Chilibeck, P. D. (2020). Benefits of Creatine Supplementation for Vegetarians Compared to Omnivorous Athletes: A Systematic Review. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(9), 3041.

Rae C, Digney AL, McEwan SR, Bates TC. Oral creatine monohydrate supplementation improves brain performance: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial. Proc Biol Sci. 2003;270(1529):2147-2150. 

Disclaimer: People should be taking the least amount of prescription drugs that provide adequate treatment, and to regularly monitor and review what is being taken and how much. This applies to most supplements, too. Please do not make any changes in your treatment without first discussing it with your health care provider. Statements made, or products sold through this website, have not been evaluated by the United States Food and Drug Administration. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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