Creatine is an amino acid found in meat and fish and can be purchased as a dietary supplement. It is one of the most popular dietary supplements for people who want to build muscle and improve their strength. Creatine can also help athletes who require short bursts of speed and increased muscle strength, such as sprinters, weightlifters and team athletes.
As one of the best studied dietary supplements, creatine has been shown to have several benefits for athletic performance and health. In this article, I will discuss several benefits of creatine.
Increases Muscle Size and Strength
According to the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, creatine is the most effective supplement for increasing lean muscle mass through exercise. Creatine supplementation allows athletes to work more during reps or sprints, leading to greater gains in strength, muscle mass and performance. Furthermore, creatine supplementation also increases lean body mass, strength and energy expenditure at rest, resulting in more muscle mass.
Improves Exercise Performance
Creatine is one of the most popular and effective supplements to improve exercise performance.
Creatine, a substance found in muscle cells, helps muscles produce explosive energy during exercises such as HIIT and weight lifting. Over the years, athletes have taken creatine to gain an advantage in their performance, gain strength, size and muscles, and improve their training ability.
For specific exercises such as bench press, supplementing with creatine can increase strength by up to 43%. For example, a review study found that people who had creatine performed 26% more bench-press repetitions than those who had creatine compared to 12% for people who had a placebo dose. One such study also found that supplementing users with creatine for 28 days allowed users to improve their bike sprint by 15% and bench-stretch by 6%.
Helps Improve Recovery
Creatine is often used by athletes involved in high-intensity intermittent activities that require a rapid recovery during training and competition. According to research, creatine supplementation may help prevent muscle damage and enhance the recovery process after an athlete has experienced an injury.
Creatine may also have an antioxidant effect after an intense workout, and it may help reduce muscle cramping and injuries to the bones, ligaments, tendons and nerves.
Improves Athletic Performance
Most endurance athletes are familiar with carbohydrate loads that help replenish the glycogen stores before race, but adding creatine to the diet can also improve these stores. Researchers at Louisiana State University found that when creatine was taken five days after a typical carbohydrate loading protocol, the glycogen level increased 53 percent above baseline. There is a strong association between a high glycogen storage capacity and prolonged exercise so creatine may be beneficial for endurance activities. Types of Creatine and Strength (Pubmed) Before you get overwhelmed, there are studies showing that creatine supplementation can increase strength.
Might Treat a Number of Neurological Diseases
Creatine has also been studied for its other potential health benefits such as healthy ageing and improved brain function. It might improve performance during cognitive tasks, especially in older adults.
It also appears that people suffering from several neurological diseases could benefit from taking creatine. These include traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and ischemia.
Might Improve Bone Health
Creatine supplementation might help counteract age-related declines in skeletal muscle and bone mineral density. A growing collection of evidence supports that creatine supplementation may help minimize bone loss, improve functional capacity in patients with knee osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia.
According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, creatine supplementation is safe, has little or no side effects and can prevent injuries and certain diseases. Dietary supplements in the form of creatine are associated with a wide range of health benefits including improved strength and muscle size, improved body composition and a greater capacity for intense training. Creatine supplements have little to no side effects and are therefore a safe and popular supplement for athletes.
Although an older case study suggested that creatine might worsen kidney dysfunction in people with kidney disorders, creatine doesn’t appear to affect kidney function in healthy people.