Numerous Benefits of Creatine- beyond getting jacked

What is Creatine?

Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid in the body. It is produced by the liver, pancreas and kidneys at about 1 gram/per day. About 95% of it is stored in the skeletal muscle as phosphocreatine and the rest is stored in the brain. It’s main purpose plays a role in producing energy.

During high intensity training or exhaustive endurance exercises, the body’s phosphocreatine stores are reduced. Therefore, the idea is supplementing with Creatine will allow for greater and quicker stores of energy available which can aid in recovery and performance.

Creatine Monohydrate is the safest and most studied supplement and the one I am addressing in this article.

Whether you are an athlete, an active adult, or an aging adult, Creatine has numerous benefits for you.

Is Creatine Safe?


The International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) states, “Creatine monohydrate supplementation is not only safe, but has been reported to have a number of therapeutic benefits in healthy and diseased populations.”

This is good news for athletes and active adults who are curious about natural ways to enhance performance and recovery. Young and old can benefit from creatine supplementation. Scroll down to read the benefits in the aging population and for menopausal women. As far as high school athletes, The ISSN views creatine supplementation as safe for those who are involved in competitive sports or training.

According to the ISSN, “There is no compelling scientific evidence that the short- or long-term use of creatine monohydrate has any detrimental effects on otherwise healthy individuals.”


Creatine’s numerous Benefits

It can benefit performance & recovery no matter your skill level

  1. Creatine aids energy levels.
  2. Enhances strength & endurance & muscle power. Creatine supplementation is most effective for exercises such as high intensity/short duration, for jumping, for sprinting, and for resistance training.
  3. Improves muscle size (hypertrophy): The performance benefits of Creatine are best seen when coupled with resistance exercise vs. the supplement alone. Strength training helps muscles grow and this can be enhanced when taking Creatine which is why people say it makes you “jacked.” But hypertrophy is valuable beyond aesthetics.
  4. Hydrates the muscle: It promotes water entry and retention in the muscle which can help with dehydration and cramping.
  5. Aids recovery. It may shorten recovery time after injury and it may delay the burn and fatigue you feel in an exercise session according to, Dr Stacy Sims. Evidence shows that athletes supplementing creatine in their training and competition experience a lower incidence of injuries compared to athletes who don’t supplement.
  6. Prevent muscle loss in aging adults. Sarcopenia is the scientific term for age related muscle loss. Creatine combined with exercise can prevent sarcopenia and bone loss in older adults.
  7. Brain Health

Benefits for Women

Women may have concerns regarding Creatine supplementation due to weight gain, bulking or adverse effects. However, when reviewing the literature, the benefits outweigh the risks.

Creatine supplementation is effective for females since it supports a pro-energetic environment in the brain.  Dr Stacy Sims stresses the importance of supplementing with creatine, “Women naturally have 70 to 80 percent lower creatine stores than men and we typically consume significantly lower amounts of dietary creatine, which comes primarily from animal foods like beef.”

There are no current human studies for creatine supplementation during pregnancy due to ethical concerns,  but there are promising animal studies that show benefits for fetal development.

During perimenopause the estrogen fluctuation leads to a loss of lean muscle mass, gain in body fat, more visceral fat, worse muscle quality, and more muscle breakdown. When combined with resistance training, creatine supplementation has been shown to counteract the menopausal related decrease in muscle, bone, and strength. 

Strength training through the menopausal transition is profoundly beneficial. Creatine plus strength training can boost body composition and bone mineral density  in post menopausal females. So whether you are menstruating or not, you can benefit from Creatine monohyrate supplementation.

For more in depth scientific evidence and misconceptions read the ISSN journal.


How & When to take Creatine

Creatine Monohydrate is natural, safe and relatively inexpensive.

The recommended effective dose is 3-5 g daily.

Superloading which can occur in weight lifting populations is not necessary and could lead to GI issues.

Find a time of day that works for you and make it a habit. You don’t have to take it right around your exercise session. It will store in the muscle over time so it’s more about consistently dosing than immediate affects. Results are seen within 30 days so if you want to trial it, give it at least that much time. Once you have built up stores, it can take about 30 days for it to wash out of your system.

Mix the powder into 8 oz of water and drink. It dissolves in water and is tasteless. 

Brands to check out: Thorne, Creapure, and Momentous.( I am not an affiliate of any of them).

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