Benefits of Creatine: How This Supplement Works For More Than Athletic Performance
Here we discuss what Creatine is, and it’s 10 science-based benefits.
What Is Creatine?
Creatine is found naturally in muscle cells. It helps your muscles produce energy during heavy lifting or high-intensity exercise.
Taking creatine as a supplement is very popular among athletes and bodybuilders in order to gain muscle, enhance strength and improve exercise performance. 
Chemically speaking, it shares many similarities with amino acids (the building blocks of proteins). Your body can produce it from the amino acids glycine and arginine.
Several factors affect your body’s natural creatine stores, including meat intake, exercise, amount of muscle mass and levels of hormones like testosterone and IGF-1. 
About 95% of your body’s creatine is stored in muscles in the form of phosphocreatine. The other 5% is found in your brain, kidneys and liver. 
When you supplement, you increase your stores of phosphocreatine. This is a form of stored energy in the cells, as it helps your body produce a molecule called Adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
ATP is often called the body’s energy currency. When you have more ATP, your body can perform better, improving health and athletic performance. 
Benefits of Creatine
1. Helps Muscle Cells Produce More Energy
During exercise, ATP is broken down to produce energy.
The rate of ATP resynthesis limits your ability to continually perform at maximum intensity — that is you use your existing ATP stores faster than your body, and specifically your mitchondria are able to reproduce it. 
This is the primary mechanism behind creatine’s performance-enhancing effects.
2. Supports Many Other Functions in Muscles
Additionally, some research indicates that creatine decreases levels of myostatin, a molecule responsible for stunting muscle growth. Reducing myostatin can help you build muscle faster and retard sarcopenia, the age-related loss of muscle mass. 
3. Improves High-Intensity Exercise Performance
- Muscle endurance
- Resistance to fatigue
- Ballistic power
- Sprint ability
- Muscle mass
- Brain performance
One review found that it improves high-intensity exercise performance by up to 15%. 
4. Accelerates Muscle Growth
Taking it for as few as 5–7 days has been shown to significantly increase lean body weight and muscle size.
In one study of a six-week training regimen, participants who used creatine added 4.4 pounds (2 kg) more muscle mass, on average, than the control group. 
Similarly, a comprehensive study demonstrated a clear increase in muscle mass for those taking creatine, compared to those performing the same training regimen without creatine. 
This study also compared the world’s most popular sports supplements and concluded that creatine is the best one available. Its advantages include being less expensive and far safer than most other sports supplements. 
5. May Lower Blood Sugar Levels And Fight Diabetes
A 12-week study examined how creatine affects blood sugar levels after a high-carb meal. People who combined creatine and exercise were better at controlling blood sugar levels than those who only exercised. 
Short-term blood sugar response to a meal is an important marker of diabetes risk. The faster your body clears sugar from the blood, the better. 
While these benefits are promising, more research is needed on creatine’s long-term effects on blood sugar control and diabetes.
6. Can Improve Brain Function
Creatine plays an important role in brain health and function. 
Research demonstrates that your brain requires a significant amount of ATP when performing difficult tasks. 
As meat is the best dietary source of creatine, vegetarians often have low levels. One study on creatine supplements in vegetarians found a 20–50% improvement in some memory and intelligence test scores. 
For older individuals, two weeks of supplementing with creatine significantly improved memory and recall ability. 
In older adults, creatine may boost brain function, protect against neurological diseases and reduce age-related loss of muscle and strength. 
Despite such positive findings, more research is needed in young, healthy individuals who eat meat or fish on a regular basis.
7. May Reduce Fatigue and Tiredness
Creatine supplements may also reduce fatigue and tiredness. 
In a study creatine led to reduced fatigue and increased energy levels during sleep deprivation. 
8. May Help With Parkinson’s Disease
The large reduction in dopamine levels causes brain cell death and several serious symptoms, including tremors, loss of muscle function and speech impairments. 
Creatine has been linked to beneficial effects on Parkinson’s in mice, preventing 90% of the drop in dopamine levels. 
In individuals with Parkinson’s disease, combining creatine with weight training improved strength and daily function to a greater extent than training alone. 
However, a recent analysis of five controlled studies in people with Parkinson’s noted that taking 4–10 grams of creatine per day doesn’t significantly improve daily activities. 
9. May Fight Other Neurological Diseases
A key factor in several neurological diseases is a reduction of phosphocreatine in your brain. 
Since creatine can increase these levels, it may help reduce or slow disease progression.
In mice with Huntington’s disease, creatine restored the brain’s phosphocreatine stores to 72% of pre-disease levels, compared to only 26% for control mice. 
This restoration of phosphocreatine helped maintain daily function and reduced cell death by around 25%. 
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Ischemic stroke
- Brain or spinal cord injuries
Creatine has also shown benefits against ALS, a disease that affects the motor neurons essential for movement. It improved motor function, reduced muscle loss and extended survival rate by 17%. 
Although more studies are needed in humans, many researchers believe that creatine supplements are a bulwark against neurological diseases when used alongside conventional medicines.
10. Safe and Easy to Use
Along with creatine’s diverse benefits, it is also one of the cheapest and safest supplements available. That said, as with all nutritional supplements, it’s important that you only purchase products from the best supplement brands which provide the purest and most high-quality supplements available.
These supplement brands not only strictly adhere to the rigid manufacturing guidelines required by the FDA, but they far exceed their competitors and industry standards on all measures. These supplement brands are not only hypoallergenic and free-from common allergens such as: gluten, soy, nuts, fish, shellfish, dairy, and wheat, but also artificial colors and dyes, trans fats and hydrogenated oils, as well as toxic residues from pesticides. Some of the brands go a step further by excluding GMOs, binders, fillers and other un-necessary excipients. Our recommended creatine supplement is Pure Encapsulations Creatine Powder.
It’s been researched for more than 200 years, and numerous studies support its safety for long-term use. Clinical trials lasting up to five years report no adverse effects in healthy individuals. 
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, creatine is an effective supplement with powerful benefits for both athletic performance and health.
It may boost brain function, fight certain neurological diseases, improve exercise performance and accelerate muscle growth.
Try adding this natural substance to your supplement regimen to see if it works for you.
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