Creatine helps your muscles produce energy during heavy lifting or high intensity exercise. Athletes often take creatine supplements to enhance strength and improve performance, but older adults and vegetarians may also benefit.
Creatine is the top supplement for improving performance in the gym.
Some people believe that creatine is unsafe and has many side effects. However, scientific evidence
This article explains everything you need to know about creatine.
Creatine is a substance found naturally in muscle cells. It helps your muscles produce energy during heavy lifting or high intensity exercise.
Why use creatine?
Taking creatine as a supplement is very popular among athletes and bodybuilders. They use it to gain muscle, enhance strength, and improve exercise performance.
Chemically speaking, creatine shares many similarities with amino acids, important compounds in the body that help build protein. Your body can produce creatine from the amino acids glycine and arginine.
Where is creatine phosphate found in the body?
When you supplement, you increase your stores of phosphocreatine. This is a form of stored energy in the cells. It helps your body produce more of a high energy molecule called
ATP is often called the body’s energy currency. When you have more ATP, your body can perform better during exercise.
Creatine also alters several cellular processes that lead to increased muscle mass, strength, and recovery.
Creatine is a substance found naturally in your body — particularly in muscle cells. Athletes commonly take it as a supplement.
Creatine can improve health and athletic performance in several ways.
In high intensity exercise, its
Your body can then use the additional stores to produce more ATP, the key energy source for heavy lifting and high intensity exercise.
Creatine also helps you gain muscle in the following ways:
- Boosted workload: It enables more total work or volume in a single training session, a key factor in long-term
- Improved cell signaling: It can increase
satellite cell signaling, which aids muscle repair and new muscle growth.
- Raised anabolic hormones: Studies note a rise in hormones, such as IGF-1, after taking creatine.
- Increased cell hydration: Creatine lifts
water contentwithin your muscle cells, which causes a cell volumization effect that may play a role in muscle growth.
- Reduced protein breakdown: It may increase total muscle mass by reducing muscle breakdown.
- Lower myostatin levels: Elevated levels of the protein myostatin can slow or inhibit new muscle growth. Supplementing with creatine can
reduce myostatin levels, increasing growth potential.
Creatine gives your muscles more energy and leads to changes in cell function that increase muscle growth.
Supplementing with creatine can result in significant increases in muscle mass. This applies to both untrained individuals and elite athletes.
Creatine can also improve strength, power, and high intensity exercise performance.
Various studies have found that creatine can:
muscle strength and endurancein young adults undergoing resistance training
extra powerfor cyclists during the final sprint in a time trial
jumping and sprinting performancein soccer players
power developmentin swimmers, particularly helpful for butterfly and breaststroke
These noticeable improvements are primarily caused by your body’s increased capacity to produce ATP.
Normally, ATP becomes depleted after up to
Creatine is one of the best supplements for improving strength and high intensity exercise performance. It works by increasing your capacity to produce ATP energy.
Like your muscles, your brain stores phosphocreatine and requires plenty of ATP for optimal function.
Preclinical studies (mostly on animals) suggest that creatine supplementation
- neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) traumatic brain injuries epilepsy
Human studies suggest that creatine can also aid other groups as well.
Creatine may reduce symptoms and slow the progression of some neurological diseases, although more research in humans is needed.
Research also indicates that creatine
- lower blood sugar levels
- help treat nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
- support heart health
However, more research in these areas is needed.
Early research suggests that creatine might help treat high blood sugar, fatty liver disease, and heart disease.
The most common and well-researched supplement form is called creatine monohydrate.
Creatine monohydrate is very cheap and is supported by hundreds of studies. Until new research claims otherwise, it seems to be the best option.
The best form of creatine you can take is called creatine monohydrate, which has been used and studied for decades.
Many people who supplement start with a loading phase, which leads to a rapid increase in muscle stores of creatine.
To load with creatine, take
Eating a carb- or protein-based meal may help your body absorb the creatine.
Following the loading period, take 3–5 g per day to maintain high levels within your muscles. As there is no benefit to cycling creatine, you can stick with this dosage for a long time.
If you choose not to do the loading phase, you can simply consume 3–5 g per day. However, it may take
Since creatine pulls water into your muscle cells, it is advisable to take it with a glass of water and stay well hydrated throughout the day.
To load with creatine, take 5 g four times per day for 5–7 days. Then take 3–5 g per day to maintain levels.
Creatine is one of the most well-researched supplements available, and studies lasting up to 4 years reveal no negative effects.
There is also
Creatine exhibits no harmful side effects. Though it’s commonly believed to cause dehydration and cramps, studies don’t support this.
What does creatine do for you?
Creatine is a leading supplement used for improving athletic performance. It may help boost muscle mass, strength, and exercise efficiency. It may also reduce blood sugar and improve brain function, but more research is needed in these areas to verify these benefits.
Is creatine good or bad for you?
Creatine is one of the world’s most tested supplements and has an
Does creatine work for women?
Earlier 2016 research suggested that creatine may not be as effective in women compared to men due to physiological and hormonal differences. But newer research seems to suggest there are still plenty of benefits for women. According to a
How long does it take for creatine to work?
Are there any side effects of creatine?
Still, the researchers cautioned that it might be safest for people with pre-existing kidney disease to not use creatine because taking it could metabolize into methylamine and formaldehyde, which could be toxic to the kidneys with pre-existing conditions. That said, this is a precaution, and there’s no evidence of an actual harmful effect.
Creatine is one of the cheapest, most effective, and safest supplements you can take.
It supports quality of life in older adults, brain health, and exercise performance. Vegetarians — who may not obtain enough creatine from their diet — and older adults may find supplementing particularly useful.
Creatine monohydrate is likely the best form if you’re interested in trying creatine to see if it works for you.