Creatine 101: What You Need To Know

If you want to boost your performance in the gym, taking creatine is an excellent way to do it. In fact, studies show that this ingredient can help increase your strength, muscle mass, and workout performance. Furthermore, creatine can also provide several benefits like protecting you from neurological disease.

Few people believe that creatine is unsafe and carries a lot of side effects. However, these accusations are not supported by any evidence. In reality, creatine is one of the world’s most well-researched and tested supplements. Not only that, but it also has an outstanding safety profile.

Getting To Know Creatine

You can find creatine naturally in your muscle cells. It helps your muscles build energy during high-intensity exercises or heavy lifting. Moreover, most bodybuilders and athletes take creatine supplements for more strength and in order to gain muscles.

Creatine shares several similarities with amino acids. Your body produces it through the help of amino acids arginine and glycine. Furthermore, about 95% of creatine your body naturally produces is stored in your muscles in the form of phosphocreatine. On the other hand, the remaining 5% can be found in your kidneys, brain, and liver.

If you take creatine supplements, this means you also increase the phosphocreatine in your body. Phosphocreatine is the stored energy in your cells, which helps your body build more adenosine triphosphate (ATP).  

ATP is a high-energy molecule. It is also considered your body’s energy currency. When you have more ATP, it is expected that you will experience a boost in your workout performance.

How Does Creatine Work?

Creatine can help improve your athletic and health performance in many ways. During your high-intensity exercise, creatine’s huge role is to increase the phosphocreatine stores in your muscles. These extra stores can be used to help you produce more ATP, which is an energy source for high-intensity exercise and heavy lifting.

Creatine can also help you out in gaining muscles through the following:

  • Boosted Workload

Creatine can help you have more volume or total work in a single training session. This is considered one of the critical factors in long-term muscle growth.

  • Improved Cell Signaling

Creatine can help increase your satellite cell signaling. This helps you out in muscle repair as well as new muscle development or growth.

  • Raised Anabolic Hormones

According to studies, there is a rise in hormones like IGF-1 if you take creatine supplements.

  • Increased Cell Hydration

Taking creatine can lift the water content located within your muscle cells. This causes a cell volumization effect that might be responsible for muscle growth.

  • Reduced Protein Breakdown

Creatine supplements can help you out by increasing your total muscle mass. This is done by reducing the muscle breakdown in your body.

  • Lower Myostatin Levels

If you have an increased level of myostatin (a type of protein), it can slow down or inhibit your muscle growth totally. However, if you supplement with creatine, these levels will be reduced. This means a potential increase in your muscle growth.

Benefits of Taking Creatine Supplements

The following are some of the advantages creatine supplements provides:

Creatine’s Effects On Your Muscle Gain

When it comes to both short- and long-term muscle growth, creatine can be very effective. This supplement can help aid many different types of people. This includes sedentary individuals, elite athletes, and older adults.

A 14-week study that has been conducted in older adults shows that adding creatine supplements to a weight training program can help increase the muscle mass and leg strength of an individual. Also, according to a study conducted on weightlifters for 12 weeks, creatine helps increase muscle fiber growth in about 2 to 3 times more than weightlifting training alone. In addition to this, a review of the most popular supplements chose creatine as the most advantageous supplement great for adding muscle mass.

Creatine’s Effects on Strength and Workout Performance

Creatine is best in boosting your power, strength, and high-intensity exercise performance. Adding a creatine supplement to an individual’s training program can help increase strength by 8%, bench press one-rep max by 43%, and weightlifting performance by 14% than the usual training alone. On the other hand, when it comes to well-trained athletes, taking creatine supplements for 28 days can help increase bench-press performance by 6% and bike-sprinting performance by 15%.

Creatine is also responsible for maintaining your training and strength performance. This is done while increasing your body’s muscle mass during intense workouts. Furthermore, these excellent improvements are caused by your body’s capacity to produce more ATP.

ATP depletes typically after 8 to 10 seconds of high-intensity activity. However, since creatine supplements can help your body produce more ATP, you can easily maintain your optimal performance several seconds longer.

Creatine’s Impact On Your Brain

Your brain also stores phosphocreatine. It also requires a lot of ATP to function correctly. Moreover, supplementing your body with creatine might improve the conditions below:

  • Parkinson’s disease;
  • Alzheimer’s disease;
  • Huntington’s disease;
  • Epilepsy;
  • Ischemic stroke;
  • Motor neuron disease;
  • Spinal cord or brain injuries;
  • Brain function and memory in older adults.

Creatine supplements can help vegetarians, older adults, and other people at risk of developing neurological diseases. Vegetarians are included in this list because they don’t eat meat. Concerning this, meat is considered the main natural dietary source of creatine.

Other Benefits

Below are other benefits creatine supplements might offer:

  • Improve the quality of life and muscle function in older adults;
  • It can help lower your blood sugar levels;
  • It can help treat your non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Safety and Side Effects of Taking Creatine Supplements

As mentioned, creatine is one of the most well-researched supplements in the world. In fact, studies that usually last for four years show no negative side effects of taking these supplements. Furthermore, no evidence can support that taking creatine supplements can harm your kidneys and liver. However, if you have any existing kidney or liver problems, it would be best to consult your doctor before deciding to take creatine supplements.

Some people link taking creatine supplements to cramps and dehydration. However, research does not support this. In fact, several studies suggest that creatine supplements can help reduce cramps and dehydration during a workout in high heat.


Creatine is known for boosting workout performance. Not only that but, it also carries several health benefits such as protecting you from having any neurological disease. That is why creatine supplements are extremely popular with weightlifters and athletes. 

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