Supplemental Creatine, Not Dietary Creatine, Appears to Improve Exercise Performance in Individuals Following Omnivorous or Meat-Free diets: A Narrative Review


  • David M. Goldman Game Changers Institute
  • Regan A. Stiegmann United States Air Force Academy
  • Joel C. Craddock 3Sydney School of Education and Social Work, The University of Sydney



creatine, exercise performance, lean body mass, plant-based, vegetarian, vegan


Eating a high-quality diet and engaging in regular physical activity are fundamental components of lifestyle medicine that can reduce the risk of morbidity and mortality. Increased interest in plant-based eating may lead to questions about whether meat-free diets lack certain nutrients, such as creatine, which support vigorous exercise. Creatine supplementation has been consistently shown to improve exercise performance, especially during high-intensity efforts, in individuals following omnivorous and meat-free (vegetarian and vegan) eating patterns. Only foods of animal origin contain dietary creatine, however, leading some to speculate that people eating omnivorous diets may gain a performance advantage relative to their meat-free counterparts. Research revealing dis-
crepancies in creatine storage between those eating omnivorous and meat-free diets has not found lower lean body mass, type I or II muscle fiber area, 1-repetition maximum, power output, VO2max, or time to exhaustion. Creatine supplementation augments exercise performance for individuals of all dietary patterns studied but improvements resulting from supplementation have not been consistently greater in subjects who follow meat-free versus omnivorous diets, indicating that their lower baseline creatine stores are unlikely ergolytic. Additional research finds no performance disadvantage for individuals who follow unsupplemented meat-free diets compared to those following unsupplemented omnivorous diets despite their differing creatine stores. These findings
indicate that the discrepant creatine contents of omnivorous and meat-free diets are not associated with differences in lean body mass and exercise performance.

Author Biographies

David M. Goldman, Game Changers Institute

David Goldman is the Chief Science Officer for the Game Changers Institute, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that explores the intersection of plant-based diets and sports nutrition. David earned his Master’s Degree in Applied Physiology and Nutrition at Teachers College, Columbia University where he secured the Registered Dietitian credential. He is also a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Nutrition (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (National Strength and Conditioning Association). His work experience spans clinical obesity research (St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital), NCAA Division 1 strength and conditioning (Columbia University Athletics), lecturing in the biobehavioral sciences (Teachers College, Columbia University), and clinical dietetics practice (Optum Health). David’s research interests center on the relationships between plant-based diets and exercise performance and chronic disease prevention.

Regan A. Stiegmann, United States Air Force Academy

Dr. Regan Stiegmann is an Active Duty Flight Surgeon and Lifestyle and Performance Medicine subject matter expert with the United States Air Force, currently stationed in Colorado. She completed her medical residency in Preventive Medicine and earned a Master's Degree in Public Health from the Uniformed Services University. She is double board-certified in Preventive Medicine and Lifestyle Medicine. Dr. Stiegmann is an adjunct clinical instructor at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, School of Medicine, Family Medicine residency. She also serves as Director of the Digital Health Track at Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine. 

Joel C. Craddock, 3Sydney School of Education and Social Work, The University of Sydney

Joel Craddock is a lecturer in the School of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney. He has a Master’s Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics and Bachelor’s Degrees in Health and Physical Education as well as Medical Biotechnology and is in the final stages of completing his PhD. He has worked as a clinical dietitian and as a dietitian in private practice. Joel’s research interests are focused on the influence of plant-based dietary patterns and how these eating patterns influence health and exercise. Specifically, his work has explored nutrient compositions in those following plant-based diets and how nutrient variations may modulate inflammatory, immune, and antioxidant markers. Examining physiological responses and exercise performance outcomes of dietary patterns and supplements are also a focus of his research.




How to Cite

Goldman, D. M., Stiegmann, R. A., & Craddock, J. C. (2022). Supplemental Creatine, Not Dietary Creatine, Appears to Improve Exercise Performance in Individuals Following Omnivorous or Meat-Free diets: A Narrative Review . International Journal of Disease Reversal and Prevention, 4(1), 15 pp.