Creatine

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 Creatine – is it for you?

Creatine is one of the worlds most researched supplements. There is an extensive and ever-growing body of research studies supporting the efficacy of creatine supplementation. In sports, creatine is renowned for increasing athlete’s endurance and exercise tolerance, along with increases in muscle mass and strength.

In terms of supplementation of creatine on general health, evidence has been shown to benefit a wide range of diseases from neurodegenerative disorders, cancer, rheumatic diseases, and type 2 diabetes. It is shown to have benefits in the elderly in terms of cognition and preventing memory decline and sarcopenia, age-related muscle decline. It is good for all populations for memory functions and cognition.

What is creatine?

Creatine is a molecule produced in the body by amino acids, it is made in the liver predominantly but also in the kidneys and pancreas. By supplementing with creatine, it increases phosphocreatine stores in your muscles. The additional stores can then be used to produce more ATP (adenosine triphosphate), ATP is the energy currency of the body. It is the breakdown of ATP that releases energy which the body’s tissues such as muscle can use. This is the key energy source for heavy lifting and high-intensity exercise.

Creatine improves numerous factors,

  • Strength
  • Ballistic power
  • Sprint ability
  • Muscle endurance
  • Resistance to fatigue
  • Muscle mass
  • Recovery
  • Brain performance

 

Who should take creatine?

  • Athletes – endurance athletes
  • Powerlifters, track and field athletes, sprinters etc.
  • Gym goers looking to increase strength
  • Gym goers looking to increase muscle mass
  • The elderly and ageing populations
  • Students to aid with cognition and memory

 

Side effects of creatine?

Myths

  • It is bad for your kidneys.

There is extensive literature to debunk the myth that creatine supplementation is bad for your kidneys. [1] [2] [3] (please see references below)

  • It causes bloating and weight gain.

Creatine can cause some individuals to hold more water, this is not fat, just water weight. This is the reason we should not rely solely on the weighing scales.

  • Stomach discomfort. Some people report stomach discomfort, this is usually in cases where there is not adequate hydration. Remember to take extra water. Others find it beneficial to take with food.

 

What is the best creatine to take?

Creatine monohydrate

 

 

How much? Do you need to load it?

3-5g per day is an adequate dosage. No, you do not need to load it, you can if you wish but it is not essential. It may take up to 12 weeks to see benefits in strength and endurance. You do not need to cycle it; it is perfectly safe to take year-round.

The only people that may decide to stop taking it, are athletes that need to drop weight in a weight cut.

[1] Kreider RB, et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. (2017)

[2] Pline KA, Smith CL. The effect of creatine intake on renal function. Ann Pharmacother. (2005)

[3] Persky AM, Rawson ES. Safety of creatine supplementation. Subcell Biochem. (2007)

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