Hi everyone, this is my first post on Phoenix Rising, and I thought I’d start by sharing my experiences with Creatine supplementation. I would love to hear the experiences of others, and I’ll share the results from further experiments I’m planning. I want to say upfront: I’m NOT advocating anyone using Creatine. BE VERY CAREFUL. Creatine worries me somewhat (more detail below), but I think it’s an important piece of the puzzle because supplementing with Creatine is the only thing that has ever allowed me to do moderate exercise without PEM. LONG STORY SHORT Subjectively, I would say that supplementing with Creatine for 6 weeks let me do 50-60% more intense exercise without encountering PEM. I even was able to gain some muscle mass at one point. That said, there are side effects (more details below), so do your due diligence if you want to try it. Personally, I found the side effects too much to make Creatine an everyday thing. I think a more promising avenue is to use Creatine as a way to interrupt/fix a PEM episode. I’ve had some luck with that and I plan to do more experiments toward that end. SHORT STORY LONG I have a somewhat, but not totally debilitating case of CFS. My PEM crashes take 12 hours to begin and last 3-6 days. When not experiencing PEM, I am generally pretty functional in life due to a saintly and consistent diet and light exercise regimen, but even so, CFS is a continual struggle for me that has made it a struggle to have a normal social life, have relationships, and perform the job(s) I want to perform. For the past 23 years or so, I've had an exercise ceiling that, if I hit it, would trigger an awful PEM crash lasting 3-6 days. The ceiling has always been slightly variable (and thus difficult to work around), and graded exercise therapy (GET) helped me raise it a bit, but there was a limit I couldn’t transcend with GET. The best I ever got to was light jogs, light yoga, and light hikes, but no weight lifting or pushups under any circumstances. A couple years ago, I tried Creatine supplementation. I was on it for about 6 weeks. I can’t remember the dose I was on, but it was a normal recommended dose, probably 10 grams/day. I did not “load” (take high doses) to start with as some sites recommend. Very soon after starting, I felt like I had more energy. · I started increasing my time and elevation on the walkers at the gym. No PEM. · I cautiously increased the intensity and duration of elliptical exercises. No PEM. · I cautiously started doing some super light leg lifts, leg presses, and bench presses. No PEM. · I increased the intensity of the leg lifts and leg presses, and still no PEM. Eventually, I found a limit to where PEM started to happen, but unlike most of my other PEM episodes, it was not a “binary” situation where I crashed from “normal” to zero, but in this case I crashed from “normal” to maybe 5 or 6 and stayed generally functional. It was all very encouraging. I felt like Superman, able to actually push a weight in the gym without a brutal crash! That said, there were side effects. SIDE EFFECTS The side effects of Creatine for me are not insignificant, and they make me wary of it until I can understand what’s happening so I can understand the risks. · Stomach upset (this is a common Creatine symptom that everyone gets.. the rest aren’t) · Light headedness · A lot of difficulty sleeping · Something like anxiety, but it felt more like everything went faster.. my mind was racing, but combined with the difficulty sleeping, I spent most of my days “tired but wired” Due to the side effects, I don’t make it a regular practice to take Creatine. It’s really uncomfortable being so “tired but wired” all the time. For that reason, the experiments I’m engaging in now are to see if I can reverse the course of a PEM episode with “spot” doses of Creatine (rather than taking Creatine all the time). I have some results on that front, but I’ll post that separately. DIET FWIW Also, FWIW, by far the biggest improvements for CFS that I’ve had were from diet. I went from being sick, weak, foggy, stressed, dysfunctional, unable to sleep, and tired 99% of the time to having a spectrum that goes all the way as low as 20% of those symptoms. I usually waver between 30-60% of those symptoms and random crashes still happen (although far less often), but it’s a world of difference from before I started experimenting with diet. If anyone is interested, I’d be happy to share what helped me.