Health

10 Health and Performance Benefits of Creatine.

Overview.

Creatine is an amino acid located mostly in your body’s muscles as well as in the brain. Most people get creatine through seafood and red meat — though at levels far below those found in synthetically made creatine supplements. The body’s liver, pancreas and kidneys also can make about 1 gram of creatine per day.

Your body stores creatine as phosphocreatine primarily in your muscles, where it’s used for energy. As a result, people take creatine orally to improve athletic performance and increase muscle mass.

People also use oral creatine to treat certain brain disorders, neuromuscular conditions, congestive heart failure and other conditions. Topical creatine might be used to treat aging skin.

10 Health and Performance Benefits of Creatine.

.Here are 10 science-based benefits of creatine

1. Helps muscle cells produce more energy.

Creatine supplements increase your muscles’ phosphocreatine stores .Phosphocreatine aids the formation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the key molecule your cells use for energy and all basic life functions .

During exercise, ATP is broken down to produce energy.The rate of ATP resynthesis limits your ability to continually perform at maximum intensity, as you use ATP faster than you reproduce it .

Creatine supplements increase your phosphocreatine stores, allowing you to produce more ATP energy to fuel your muscles during high-intensity exercise .This is the primary mechanism behind creatine’s performance-enhancing effects.

2. Supports many other functions in muscles.

Creatine is a popular and effective supplement for adding muscle mass .It can alter numerous cellular pathways that lead to new muscle growth. For example, it boosts the formation of proteins that create new muscle fibers .It can also raise levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), a hormone that promotes increases in muscle mass .What’s more, creatine supplements can increase the water content of your muscles. This is known as cell volumization and can quickly increase muscle size .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 .

3. Improves high-intensity exercise performance.

Creatine’s direct role in ATP production means it can drastically improve high-intensity exercise performance .Creatine improves numerous factors, including :

▪️strength.

▪️ballistic power.

▪️sprint ability.

▪️muscle endurance.

▪️resistance to fatigue.

▪️muscle mass.

▪️recovery.

▪️brain performance.

Unlike supplements that only affect advanced athletes, creatine benefits you regardless of your fitness level .

One review found that it improves high-intensity exercise performance by up to 15%.

4. Speeds muscle growth.

Creatine is the world’s most effective supplement for adding muscle mass .Taking it for as few as 5–7 days has been shown to significantly increase lean body weight and muscle size.

This initial rise is caused by increases in the water content of your muscles .Over the long term, it also aids in muscle fiber growth by signaling key biological pathways and boosting gym performance .In one study of a 6-week training regimen, participants who used creatine added 4.4 pounds (2 kg) more muscle mass, on average, than the control group .

Similarly, a comprehensive review demonstrated a clear increase in muscle mass among those taking creatine, compared with those performing the same training regimen without creatine .

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.

5. May help with Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is characterized by reduced levels of dopamine, a key neurotransmitter in your brain.The large reduction in dopamine levels causes brain cell death and several serious symptoms, including tremors, loss of muscle function, and speech impairments .

Creatine has been linked to beneficial effects in mice with Parkinson’s, preventing 90% of the typical drop in dopamine levels. However, there is no evidence that it has the same effect in humans .

In an attempt to treat the loss of muscle function and strength, those with Parkinson’s often weight train .

In one study in individuals with this disease, combining creatine with weight training improved strength and daily function to a greater extent than training alone .

However, a recent analysis of five controlled studies in people with Parkinson’s noted that taking 4–10 grams of creatine per day didn’t significantly improve their ability to perform daily activities.

6. May fight other neurological diseases.

A key factor in several neurological diseases is a reduction of phosphocreatine in your brain .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 with only 26% for control mice .This restoration of phosphocreatine helped maintain daily function and reduced cell death by around 25% .

Research in animals suggests that taking creatine supplements may treat other diseases too, including:

▪️Alzheimer’s disease.

▪️ischemic stroke.

▪️epilepsy.

▪️brain or spinal cord injuries.

Creatine has also shown benefits against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a disease that affects the motor neurons that are essential for movement. It improved motor function, reduced muscle loss, and extended survival rate by 17% .

Although more studies are needed in humans, some researchers believe that creatine supplements can serve as a defense against neurological diseases when used alongside conventional medicines.

7. May lower blood sugar levels and fight diabetes.

Research suggests that creatine supplements may lower blood sugar levels by increasing the function of glucose transporter type 4 (GLUT-4), a molecule that brings blood sugar into your muscles .

A 12-week study examined how creatine affects blood sugar levels after a high carb meal. People who combined creatine and exercise exhibited better blood sugar control than those who only exercised .

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 .While these benefits are promising, more human research is needed on creatine’s long-term effects on blood sugar control and diabetes.

8. Can improve brain function.

Creatine plays an important role in brain health and function .Research demonstrates that your brain requires a significant amount of ATP when performing difficult tasks .

Supplements can increase phosphocreatine stores in your brain to help it produce more ATP. Creatine may also aid brain function by increasing dopamine levels and mitochondrial function .

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 .

For older individuals, supplementing with creatine for 2 weeks significantly improved memory and recall ability .

In older adults, creatine may boost brain function, protect against neurological diseases, and reduce age-related loss of muscle and strength .Despite such positive findings, more research is needed in young, healthy individuals who eat meat or fish regularly.

9. May reduce fatigue and tiredness.

Creatine supplements may also reduce fatigue and tiredness.

In a 6-month study in people with traumatic brain injury, those who supplemented with creatine experienced a 50% reduction in dizziness, compared with those who did not supplement.

Furthermore, only 10% of patients in the supplement group experienced fatigue, compared with 80% in the control group .Another study determined that creatine led to reduced fatigue and increased energy levels during sleep deprivation .

Creatine also reduced fatigue in athletes taking a cycling test and has been used to decrease fatigue when exercising in high heat.

10. Safe and easy to use.

Along with creatine’s diverse benefits, it’s one of the cheapest and safest supplements available. You can find a wide selection online.

It has been researched for more than 200 years, and numerous studies support its safety for long-term use. Clinical trials lasting up to 5 years report no adverse effects in healthy individuals .What’s more, supplementing is very easy — simply take 3–5 grams of creatine monohydrate powder per day.

Side Effects.

When taken by mouth: Creatine is likely safe for most people. Doses up to 25 grams daily for up to 14 days have been safely used. Lower doses up to 4-5 grams daily for up to 18 months have also been safely used. Creatine is possibly safe when taken long-term. Doses up to 10 grams daily for up to 5 years have been safely used. Side effects might include dehydration, upset stomach, and muscle cramps.

When applied to the skin: There isn’t enough reliable information to know if creatine is safe. It might cause side effects such as redness and itching.

Special Precautionsand Warnings.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn’t enough reliable information to know if creatine is safe to use when pregnant or breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Children: Creatine is possibly safe when taken by mouth, short-term. Creatine 3-5 grams daily for 2-6 months has been taken safely in children 5-18 years of age. Creatine 2 grams daily for 6 months has been taken safely in children 2-5 years of age. Creatine 0.1-0.4 grams/kg daily for up to 6 months has been taken safely in both infants and children.

Bipolar disorder: Creatine might make mania worse in people with bipolar disorder.Kidney disease: Creatine might make kidney disease worse in people who already have kidney disease. If you have kidney disease, speak with a healthcare professional before using creatine.

Parkinson disease: Caffeine and creatine taken together may make symptoms of Parkinson disease worse. If you have Parkinson disease and take creatine, use caffeine with caution.

Reference:

Mayo Clinic Staff (12-10-2017), “Creatine”، www.mayoclinic.org

Rudy Mawer, MSc, CISSN (22-4-2016), “10Health and Performance Benefits of Creatine”، www.healthline.com

“Find a Vitamin or Supplement CREATINE”, www.webmd.com

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