Creatine is a natural supplement used to boost athletic performance (1).
Here are 10 science-based benefits of creatine.
During exercise, ATP is broken down to produce energy.
This is the primary mechanism behind creatine's performance-enhancing effects.
Summary Supplementing with creatine provides additional ATP energy, which improves high-intensity exercise performance.
Additionally, some research indicates that creatine decreases levels of myostatin, a molecule responsible for stunting muscle growth. Reducing myostatin can help you build muscle faster (18).
Summary Creatine can stimulate several key biological processes that lead to increased muscle growth and size.
- Ballistic power
- Sprint ability
- Muscle endurance
- Resistance to fatigue
- Muscle mass
- Brain performance
Summary Creatine is the world's most effective supplement for high-intensity sports. It offers benefits regardless of your current fitness level.
Taking it for as few as 5–7 days has been shown to significantly increase lean body weight and muscle size.
In one study of a six-week training regimen, participants who used creatine added 4.4 pounds (2 kg) more muscle mass, on average, than the control group (23).
Similarly, a comprehensive review demonstrated a clear increase in muscle mass for those taking creatine, compared to those performing the same training regimen without creatine (27).
This review also compared the world's most popular sports supplements and concluded that creatine is the best one available. Its advantages include being less expensive and far safer than most other sports supplements (27).
Summary Creatine can increase both short- and long-term muscle mass. It is the most effective muscle-building supplement available.
Creatine has been linked to beneficial effects on Parkinson's in mice, preventing 90% of the drop in dopamine levels (29).
In individuals with Parkinson's disease, combining creatine with weight training improved strength and daily function to a greater extent than training alone (32).
However, a recent analysis of five controlled studies in people with Parkinson’s noted that taking 4–10 grams of creatine per day doesn’t significantly improve daily activities (33).
Summary Creatine may reduce some symptoms of Parkinson's disease by improving muscle strength and function. However, certain studies observe no effects.
A key factor in several neurological diseases is a reduction of phosphocreatine in your brain (29).
Since creatine can increase these levels, it may help reduce or slow disease progression.
In mice with Huntington's disease, creatine restored the brain's phosphocreatine stores to 72% of pre-disease levels, compared to only 26% for control mice (34).
This restoration of phosphocreatine helped maintain daily function and reduced cell death by around 25% (34).
- Alzheimer's disease
- Ischemic stroke
- Brain or spinal cord injuries
Creatine has also shown benefits against ALS, a disease that affects the motor neurons essential for movement. It improved motor function, reduced muscle loss and extended survival rate by 17% (39).
Although more studies are needed in humans, many researchers believe that creatine supplements are a bulwark against neurological diseases when used alongside conventional medicines.
Summary Animal studies suggest that creatine can help with symptoms, disease progression and life expectancy in neurological diseases.
A 12-week study examined how creatine affects blood sugar levels after a high-carb meal. People who combined creatine and exercise were better at controlling blood sugar levels than those who only exercised (42).
Short-term blood sugar response to a meal is an important marker of diabetes risk. The faster your body clears sugar from the blood, the better (44).
While these benefits are promising, more human research is needed on creatine’s long-term effects on blood sugar control and diabetes.
Summary Some evidence suggests that creatine can help lower blood sugar levels after meals, but there is little data on its long-term effects.
Creatine plays an important role in brain health and function (25).
Research demonstrates that your brain requires a significant amount of ATP when performing difficult tasks (25).
As meat is the best dietary source of creatine, vegetarians often have low levels. One study on creatine supplements in vegetarians found a 20–50% improvement in some memory and intelligence test scores (25).
In older adults, creatine may boost brain function, protect against neurological diseases and reduce age-related loss of muscle and strength (48).
Despite such positive findings, more research is needed in young, healthy individuals who eat meat or fish on a regular basis.
Summary Supplementing with creatine can provide your brain with additional energy, thereby improving memory and intelligence in people with low levels of creatine.
Creatine supplements may also reduce fatigue and tiredness (49).
In a six-month study in people with traumatic brain injury, those who supplemented with creatine had a 50% reduction in dizziness, compared to those who did not (49).
Furthermore, only 10% of patients in the supplement group experienced fatigue, compared to 80% in the control group (49).
Summary Creatine can reduce symptoms of fatigue and tiredness by providing your brain with additional energy and increasing dopamine levels.
Along with creatine’s diverse benefits, it is also one of the cheapest and safest supplements available. You can find a wide selection on Amazon.
Summary Creatine is one of the safest available supplements and has been studied scientifically for over two centuries.
At the end of the day, creatine is an effective supplement with powerful benefits for both athletic performance and health.
It may boost brain function, fight certain neurological diseases, improve exercise performance and accelerate muscle growth.
Try adding this natural substance to your supplement regimen to see if it works for you.
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