Creatine is a natural substance found in the body and plays an important role in the production of energy. As such, creatine supplementation has become increasingly popular among those looking to improve their fitness and athletic performance. With a growing number of supplements continuously exploding onto the market, creatine remains the most widely studied & safest supplements in existence. In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of creatine supplementation for enhancing fitness, health, and athletic performance.
What Is Creatine?
Creatine is a naturally-occuring amino acid produced in the liver, pancreas, and kidneys. It helps to create ATP (adenosine triphosphate). All cells, organs, & muscle tissue, etc in your body are powered by ATP!
How Does Creatine Work?
When you supplement with creatine, it increases your body’s stores of phosphocreatine (PCr). This increase in PCr provides your muscles with more readily available sources of energy during high-intensity exercise. This can help to improve power output and performance during short bursts of activity such as playing sports.
What Are the Benefits?
Creatine supplementation has been linked to several health benefits, including improved muscular strength & increased muscle mass (1, 2). Creatine also enhances recovery from intense exercise bouts, & delayed fatigue during prolonged exercise bouts. Creatine may also improve brain function and cognitive ability. Your brain uses a ton of ATP when performing demanding tasks. Creatine can help your brain produce more energy, which may boost brain functioning & even protect against neurological disease especially in older adults (3).
Additionally, studies have shown that creatine supplementation can be beneficial for people with muscular diseases or neuromuscular disorders like Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD).
For athletes looking to improve their performance on the field or court, creatine supplementation may also be beneficial. Studies show that taking supplemental creatine can help to enhance explosive power output resulting in faster sprinting speeds or higher vertical jumps. Additionally, research suggests that taking supplemental creatine may help reduce muscle damage caused by intense physical activity allowing athletes to recover quicker after training sessions or games/matches.
Creatine can be dosed in several ways, but the simplest way is to dose between 3-7 grams per day based on body weight, with the average person seeing a positive effect at 5 grams per day. Individuals who weigh <50 kg may see a benefit at 3 grams, while individuals >100 kg may need to supplement closer to 7 grams per day.
When To Take Creatine?
It appears that it does not matter when you take creatine. All that matters is that you should attempt to take it somewhere close to your training, right before or after you work out (4).
Are There Any Side Effects?
Other than the potential gastrointestinal issues that come with creatine loading, there aren’t really any adverse side effects to creatine supplementation. However, you should always pay attention to the type of creatine you’re buying & make sure it is coming from a high-quality supplier. Always get creatine monohydrate. Study after study has consistently found that consuming creatine monohydrate for 2 to 5 years appears safe, with no adverse effects documented (5).
Overall, there is evidence that suggests that creatine supplementation can provide several health benefits including improved muscular strength and power output as well as increased muscle mass. Additionally, it may also be beneficial for people with neuromuscular disorders like DMD as well as athletes looking to enhance their performance on the field or court. However, when it comes to you are considering taking supplemental creatine, please speak with your doctor first before starting any new supplement regimen.
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