- What Is Creatine and How It Works?
- 6 Creatine Health Benefits
- Potential Side Effects of Creatine
- The Safest Form of Creatine
One of the most widely used bodybuilding supplements is creatine. When taken in supplementation form, creatine improves strength, especially during workouts. But that’s not all, we’ll explore the list of creatine health benefits.
Those who are doing bodybuilding and strength training whether you are a trainer or an athlete, it is vital to know proper supplementation. Creatine is one of the bodybuilding supplements that hit the market with success.
It is available in various forms and it is the scientific community recognizes it. People who have used creatine supplements find it delivers its promises such as enhancing muscle mass and improving strength.
But first, let us have a quick look on…
What Is Creatine and How It Works?
Creatine is a fuel source for ATP(adenosine triphosphate), an energy system in the body inside the mitochondria. This helps release short bursts of energy. Creatine provides an ample fuel allowing a continuous release of energy from ATP.
However, regardless of its effectiveness, some authorities viewed it as a potentially harmful product. Fortunately, as long as the proper use is prioritized, creatine is one of the safer bodybuilding supplements to take.
6 Creatine Health Benefits
Now let us explore the benefits of taking creatine supplementation. There are lots of studies conducted on creatine. In fact, it is one of the most researched supplements in sports nutrition and its effectiveness is undeniable.
1. Boosts Your Strength
One of the key goals of doing bodybuilding aside from gaining muscles is to gain strength. For someone trying to develop their strength and yet no progress in getting stronger, taking creatine supplement can help. This is one of creatine health benefits useful in bodybuilding and strength training.
If you’ve watched the video earlier, you’ve learned that taking creatine allows the muscle to produce phosphate, which key to maintaining ATP. During workouts, it boost performance on shorter and intense strength-building exercises1.
Taking creatine supplements along with consumption of creatine-rich foods like beef, pork, tuna, and salmon allows you become efficient on exercises involving heavy lifts with fewer reps.
2. Speeds Up Your Reaction Time
In one Italian study2 researchers find that creatine improves jump and sprint performance significantly in individuals who took creatine supplements.
Events in which seconds matter, creatine supplementation plays a role. During the first 30 seconds of jumping and sprinting, roughly 10% improvement in performance was found. If you want to take advantage early on over the others on the court, creatine shake could be valuable.
3. Increase Your Testosterone Level
Testosterone is men’s key hormone in both health and performance. For someone doing intermittent fasting and cold showers, you know how both of these boosts your testosterone naturally.
However, if you need more especially while doing workouts, creatine is a key supplement. The body naturally produces testosterone hormone but it declines with age.
Therefore, to maintain that high energy level, strength and endurance, mental sharpness and sex drive, it is vital to maintaining a good level of testosterone.
Apart from natural means, taking creatine bodybuilding supplements can be helpful.
Another solution to sustain testosterone level is through testosterone replacement therapy. However, it’s expensive and comes with side effects. Why settle for something risky if there is another way through creatine supplementation.
In one study3, researchers find that taking creatine supplement increases resting testosterone levels in 10-week resistance training program. On the other hand, if you’re unsure about your testosterone levels and have concerns on it, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor for a blood test.
4. Boosts and Maintain Mental Sharpness
There is no doubt creatine supplements boosts physical performance. But there’s more, it also improves and maintains mental sharpness.
One study4 finds that participants taking 5 grams of creatine supplement daily over a 6-week period experienced memory improvement.
Supplementation with oral creatine monohydrate significantly increased intelligence.
Additionally, the participants were also found to process information a lot more quickly.
This study showed that increasing creatine intake by oral supplementation resulted in improved brain function…
5. Boosts Your Productivity
When it comes to boosting productivity, it’s not just time management that matters but creatine supplements can help, too. A study5 on Kayakers find that oral creatine monohydrate supplementation increases paddling capability.
Although this study was done on Kayakers, researchers believed that creatine provides a boost on physical performance. Therefore, whether you’re paddling, working out in the gym or home, or even doing office works or studying, you may find creatine supplements helpful in increasing productivity.
6. Maximize Your Muscle Gains
Most likely you’re looking for information on creatine because you’re doing bodybuilding. Well, you’re in the right place.
One of the benefits of creatine supplements is maximized muscle growth.
If you’ve been focusing on protein consumption for muscle growth, that’s good. But study6 also finds creatine is just as vital in maximizing muscle gains.
In that study, researchers at Washington State University researchers find that people who took creatine supplements while working out gained significant muscle mass and strength in satellite cells.
Both of these are essential in maintenance and regeneration of skeletal muscles.
Creatine in the monohydrate form induced differentiation of myogenic satellite cells… These results provide initial evidence for a mechanistic understanding of observed effects in vivo of increased muscular size and strength from creatine supplementation.
Potential Side Effects of Creatine
It’s good to know the good side of creatine but it also worth knowing its potential side effects. Doing so allows anyone who wants creatine as part of their supplement stacks be aware on it.
Now that we’ve explored creatine health benefits, let us dive in what are the potential side effects. Note that, creatine at proper doses is safe.
On the other hand, if you’re unsure and have some concerns, it is advisable to talk to your doctor prior to taking creatine supplements for proper guidance.
The University of Maryland Medical Center says that creatine can cause side effects that are mild. These side effecs include;
- Muscle cramping
- Stomach pain
Moreover, individuals or patients with problems in their kidneys should not use or take creatine. When taking creatine supplements, the process takes place in the kidney and the kidneys break it down to creatinine.
On the other hand, individuals with healthy kidneys should have no problem taking creatine supplements. In addition, individuals who have diabetes and those taking blood sugar supplements are cautioned when taking creatine supplements.
The best and safe thing to do is consult your doctor prior to taking a creatine supplement. Overall, one article review7 says creatine is relatively safe.
…at this point in time creatine supplementation appears to be a safe nutritional strategy that may enhance exercise performance in sports participants requiring maximal single effort and/or repetitive sprint bouts.
The Safest Form of Creatine
Creatine has many forms and each has pros and cons. Popular forms of creatine include creatine monohydrate, kre-alkalyn, creatine hydrochloride, and creatine nitrate. There are also micronized creatine, creatine serum, creatine ethyl ester, effervescent, creatine orate.
Of all the forms of creatine, creatine monohydrate is safe. Creatine monohydrate is highly soluble and its bioavailability is also high allowing skeletal muscles absorb it very efficiently.
Bodybuilding.com’s list of creatine forms include details such as pros and cons of each form. Examine.com also has a detailed description of creatine health benefits including a quick summary to scientific studies.