Can Creatine Cause Panic Attacks? Other Side Effects!


In the fitness and bodybuilding industry, creatine is a well-known and widely used supplement. It’s widely used because it enhances performance and helps in building muscle. However, there are various questions about whether creatine causes panic attacks.

This article will delve into this topic to help you better understand the potential connection between creatine and panic attacks and explore ways to manage any associated risks.

Can Creatine Cause Panic Attacks? How It Is Caused?

Creatine is a compound that is naturally found in small amounts in certain foods and produced by the body. It is a popular dietary supplement for athletes and fitness enthusiasts due to its performance-enhancing properties. According to research, creatine can improve adenosine regeneration, leading to increased muscle mass and performance.

While creatine is not known to cause panic attacks directly, some individuals have reported experiencing heightened anxiety and panic-like symptoms after taking creatine supplements. Dehydration, gastric bloating, and discomfort are other adverse effects of creatine.

What Are The Symptoms Of Panic Attacks Caused By Creatine?

If you suspect that creatine might contribute to your anxiety or panic-like symptoms, it’s important to be aware of the potential signs.

Symptoms Of Panic Attacks Caused By Creatine

Symptoms may include:

  • Increased Heart Rate: You might experience a rapid heartbeat, which can be mistaken for a panic attack.
  • Restlessness: Feelings of restlessness or unease can be prevalent.
  • Nervousness: An overall sense of nervousness or anxiety may become more pronounced.
  • Sweating: Increased sweating can be a sign of heightened anxiety.
  • Gastrointestinal Distress: Some individuals report digestive issues like nausea or stomach discomfort.
  • Nausea: Nausea is another reported side effect of creatine supplementation, though it varies among individuals.
  • Vomiting: In some cases, creatine consumption may lead to vomiting, particularly if taken in high doses or not properly tolerated.
  • Weight gain: Weight gain can occur when taking creatine due to water retention in muscle cells. This is generally temporary and part of the expected effect of creatine.

What Are The Main Causes Of Panic Attacks Due To Creatine?

Several factors may contribute to panic attacks in individuals who are taking creatine supplements. These potential causes include:

  • Stimulant Ingredients: Some creatine supplements contain stimulants such as caffeine or other substances that can trigger anxiety-like symptoms in some individuals.
  • Individual Sensitivity: People react differently to dietary supplements, and for some, creatine may interact with their physiology in a way that induces anxiety.
  • Psychological Factors: The anticipation of potential side effects or fear of experiencing panic attacks can, in some cases, lead to anxiety.
  • Dehydration: Creatine can increase water retention, potentially leading to dehydration, which is known to trigger anxiety-like symptoms.
  • Dosage and Purity: High doses of creatine or impure supplements might increase the risk of adverse reactions, including panic-like symptoms.

What Are The Ways To Reduce Panic Attacks Due To Creatine?

If you are concerned about the potential for creatine to induce anxiety or panic attacks, consider the following strategies to minimize the risk:

  • Consult a Healthcare Professional: Before starting any supplement regimen, consult with a healthcare provider who can evaluate your health and provide personalized recommendations.
  • Choose High-Quality Supplements: Opt for reputable, well-tested creatine supplements to ensure you are using a pure product.
  • Monitor Dosage: Start with a low dose and gradually increase it while observing how your body reacts. Stop if you notice adverse symptoms.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drinking an adequate amount of water can help prevent dehydration, which can exacerbate anxiety.
  • Avoid Stimulants: Be cautious about supplements that combine creatine with stimulants. If you are sensitive to stimulants, opt for a pure creatine product.

can creatine cause anxiety?

While creatine is generally considered safe for improving exercise performance and building muscle mass, there is some evidence indicating supplemental creatine may contribute to anxiety symptoms in those predisposed. By increasing metabolic activity and physiological arousal, creatine could exacerbate underlying anxiety issues related to stimulation overloads.

Individuals with anxiety disorders or sensitivity to energizing supplements are most at risk. However, effects seem dosage-dependent, with anxiety more associated with high loading protocols over 5 grams per day. To avoid anxiety side effects, conservative dosing of creatine is recommended, especially with personal or family histories of anxiety.

Link Between creatine and anxiety

  • Creatine supplements may increase metabolism and physiological arousal, which in some people can trigger or amplify feelings of anxiety, restlessness, or edginess.
  • Those already prone to anxiety, panic attacks, or overstimulation sensitivity appear most likely to experience potential anxiety side effects of creatine.
  • The effects seem to be dose-dependent – higher loading doses of creatine above 5 grams per day carry greater anxiety risk.
  • Not all individuals experience anxiety with creatine supplements. Many people take standard doses of creatine for performance enhancement without mental health issues.
  • Discontinuing creatine tends to quickly resolve related anxiety feelings rather than persisting long-term after stopping use.
  • Taking lower servings of creatine, proper cycling protocols, and staying well-hydrated may all help minimize the odds of amplified anxiety, especially for risk groups.

Other creatine side effects

Here are some key potential side effects of creatine listed below:

  • Weight gain due to water retention – Creatine causes muscles to draw in extra water
  • Dehydration – Inadequate water intake with creatine may stress kidneys and dehydrate
  • Muscle cramps and strains
  • Gastrointestinal distress like diarrhea and bloating
  • Kidney stress and renal dysfunction in those with existing conditions
  • Rashes, itchiness, and skin irritation for those with allergies
  • Exacerbation of underlying liver conditions
  • Excessive brain stimulation and anxiety in those with mood disorders
  • Interactions with diuretics and NSAIDs -may enhance adverse effects
  • Hair loss in predisposed individuals after long-term high-dose use

Typical dose ranges are 2 to 5 grams per day. Cycling and staying hydrated helps minimize the side effects of creatine. Effects differ from person to person though and are most likely at excessive dosing.


Creatine, when used appropriately, is generally considered safe for most individuals. While it may not directly cause panic attacks, some people have reported anxiety-like symptoms after taking creatine supplements. In moderation and with wise supplementation practices, many people can take creatine without anxiety complications, but sensitivity varies individually.

If you experience such symptoms, it is essential to assess the potential causes and consult a healthcare professional. Ultimately, the key to a positive experience with creatine is to use it wisely, maintain hydration, and select high-quality products. 

Our recommendations are rooted in genuine belief in the benefits of the products bring to users. When you purchase through our links, we may earn a commission, supporting our testing and development without adding any cost for you. Learn more.

Dr. David G Kiely is a distinguished Medical Reviewer and former General Medicine Consultant with a wealth of experience in the field. Dr. Kiely's notable career as a General Medicine Consultant highlights his significant contributions to the medical field.

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