Creatine and caffeine are two of the most used performance enhancing substances. Creatine is produced naturally by our body, and it is also found in protein-containing foods such as meat and fish. Creatine increases the energy that our muscles can use for contraction, which is the basis for its wide use to increase energy during short, high-intensity exercises such as weightlifting. The recommended daily dose of creatine is 3-5 grams per day after an appropriate loading dose. Potential adverse effects of creatine include gastrointestinal upset and weight gain. Caffeine is a stimulant that decreases fatigue and might increase endurance performance. It is recommended to limit your caffeine intake to < 400 mg per day (a standard cup of coffee contains roughly 115-175 mg of caffeine). Excessive caffeine intake can lead to restlessness, heart palpations, and in rare cases, toxicity can lead to seizures. Therefore, it is important to use creatine and caffeine safely as we all work to improve our physical health.
As always, the Georgia Poison Center is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide support and answer questions related to a potential poisonous exposures or drug information questions. Our team of experts includes pharmacists, nurses, and physicians who are specially trained in toxicology and poison prevention. If you or a family member have questions or concerns, please call our toll-free number at 1-800-222-1222.