Performance enhancing drugs and supplements have been popular among athletes. Creatine is one of the most accessible. Be it in the form of powder, tables, drinks or energy bars, Creatine is available without a doctor’s prescription.
Creatine is a natural substance and can be found in small quantities in foods like red meat. Creatine converts into creatine phosphate in the body that help generate ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP is useful for providing muscle contraction energy. Creatine can be produced from amino acids glycine and arginine in the body. Factors that affect the body’s creatine stores include meat intake, exercise, amount of muscle mass and levels of hormones like testosterone. The main effect of taking creatine is to reduce fatigue, increase strength, improve muscle mass and performance during physical activity.
In numerous studies, Creatine has been found safe for high-intensity resistance training in the short term. However, researchers are still aren’t sure what effect it might have on the body in the long-term.
- Here are 6 science-backed benefits of creatine.
- Should One Take Creatine supplement in Powder Form or Capsules?
- Should You Mix Creatine with Water or the Protein Shake?
- When Should You Take Creatine?
- Are There Any Side-Effects of Creatine?
Here are 6 science-backed benefits of creatine.
1. Become Stronger
Using creatine along with proper diet and exercise can give you more energy and endurance1. If you train for strength, it is certainly helpful for the moments when you have to fight for those last few reps.
2. Increase in Weight
Creatine can help with weight gain2 due to fluid retention or water weight because it draws water into your muscle cells. If you want to reap the benefits of creatine, but without increase in weight, decrease its daily dose. In this case, a portion of 2-3 g per day passes the exam well.
3. Improves Memory and Brain Function
Creatine has shown to improve memory, overall functioning of the brain and reduction in depressive episodes3. Depression usually makes you not want to move, you have no motivation for any activity etc. Creatine helps in mobilizing you to take you to exercise.
Should One Take Creatine supplement in Powder Form or Capsules?
Most supplements are available in various forms – capsules, powders, or even liquid. If you can, choose the powder version. This does not mean that other forms are bad. Powder creatine has the most advantageous price. Capsules are more expensive, but they provide the convenience of dosing. If you are buying creatine online, you should try to source high-quality creatine products from reputed sites only.
Should You Mix Creatine with Water or the Protein Shake?
Creatine can be mixed with practically everything and still be effective, but it’s better to stay with the mixes of water and protein cocktail.
When Should You Take Creatine?
Creatine can used in the morning or just before training. Try to take it about an hour before exercise, and if your workout is intensive, add to your post-workout cocktail.
Are There Any Side-Effects of Creatine?
For the most part, creatine is safe but it can cause few side effects on high dosage. Creatine can cause liver, kidney, or heart damage in high doses. For liver, kidney or heart patients, we strongly advise doctor consultation.
Creatine has also been linked with minor side effects such as muscle cramps, nausea, diarrhoea, dizziness, and heat intolerance. As a safe measure, you should always consult a doctor if you are taking any medications to avoid drug interactions.
- Kreider, R. B. (2003). Effects of creatine supplementation on performance and training adaptations. Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, 244(1/2), 89–94. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1022465203458
- Buford, T. W., Kreider, R. B., Stout, J. R., Greenwood, M., Campbell, B., Spano, M., … Antonio, J. (2007). International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation and exercise. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 4(1), 6. https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-4-6
- Rae, C., Digney, A. L., McEwan, S. R., & Bates, T. C. (2003). Oral creatine monohydrate supplementation improves brain performance: a double–blind, placebo–controlled, cross–over trial. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences, 270(1529), 2147–2150. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2003.2492