Creatine is the most popular strength sports supplement and for good reason: countless studies have shown its effect. But what exactly are the benefits of creatine and are there also benefits outside strength sports? Let’s take a look at them.
1. IMPROVES HIGH INTENSITY EXERCISE PERFORMANCE
Creatine is used as a supplement to enable the body to produce ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate), an important fuel for muscles and brains, more quickly.
It has been scientifically proven that creatine supplementation provides extra ATP energy, which improves performance during intensive exercise, such as strength training. Among those achievements:
- ballistic power;
- sprint ability;
- muscular endurance;
- shorten optimal rest time between sets;
- promote recovery after exercise.
Because creatine improves strength training performance, muscle protein synthesis and thus muscle growth are also stimulated.
2. MAY REDUCE FATIGUE
Creatine can reduce symptoms of fatigue by providing your brain with extra energy and increasing dopamine levels. And that can improve your training performance.
3. CAN ALSO DIRECTLY PROMOTE MUSCLE GROWTH
The use of creatine can alter several cellular pathways leading to new muscle growth. For example, it stimulates the formation of proteins that create new muscle fibers. It can also increase levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), a hormone that promotes muscle mass gain.
4. PROTECTS MUSCLE MASS DURING ENDURANCE EXERCISE
Creatine supplementation may also have an advantage for endurance athletes, or for bodybuilders who do cardio. There are a handful of studies showing that creatine reduces muscle breakdown as a result of exercise, especially endurance training.
Possible consequences of this are that you recover a little faster from your training sessions and/or that the risk of muscle breakdown as a result of frequent endurance training is reduced.
5. CAN HELP REPAIR DAMAGE AFTER INJURY
Research suggests that creatine supplements can help prevent muscle damage and improve the recovery process after an injury.
Creatine may also have an antioxidant effect after an intense strength training session and may help reduce cramps.
6. MAY LOWER BLOOD SUGAR AND FIGHT DIABETES
There is some evidence that creatine may help lower blood sugar levels after meals. While these benefits are promising, more human research is needed on the long-term effects of creatine on blood sugar and diabetes.
7. MAY IMPROVE BRAIN FUNCTION
Creatine supplementation can provide the brain with extra energy, improving memory and intelligence in people with low creatine levels.
Research shows that adequate creatine stores in the brain ensure optimal energy production to support brain health and cognitive performance, similar to how creatine affects muscle energy and physical performance.
SAFETY AND USE
Creatine is one of the most researched supplements due to its popularity. Several long-term studies have also been conducted to test the safety of long-term use.
Based on the extensive research available, we can now conclude without hesitation that creatine supplementation is safe. And you can safely use creatine continuously. A daily dose of 3 to 5 grams is usually sufficient.
The only disadvantage of creatine is that it does not work (equally well) for everyone.