Top 5 Reasons Creatine Should Be On Your Shelf

Creatine’s popularity remains on the rise, but some still may be skeptical of the benefits.

Creatine has become a staple supplement for those looking to get big and see great results when it comes to strength and lean muscle mass. Creatine has been researched extensively for its benefits on both recreational and professional athletes and while those looking to get big are comfortable with it, those seeking more growth with athletic performance remain skeptical. While creatine is a supplement known to increase muscle growth, the other benefits of this mighty supplement suggest its effects go far beyond simply bulking up.

As an incredibly efficient supplement, creatine is loved by serious lifters and bodybuilders, and sought after by those looking to boost short and powerful exercise performance, like sprinting. Creatine is a nitrogenous organic acid naturally found in muscles and nerve tissue and aids in supplying energy to your body. The fuel source provided is for Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) which offers short bursts of power, so during high intensity training, creatine stores in your cells get used up quickly. By using this as a supplement, you help restore what is lost in a grueling workout and can support a longer, stronger workout to take you to, or keep you at, an elite level.

Although creatine has created some cause for speculation as a potentially harmful product, through research and proper dosing, it has become one of the safer supplements. Along with a solid exercise routine and healthy diet, creatine can give you that much needed boost to maximize your potential in the gym. The benefits of creatine go far beyond what people imagine and these top reasons why creatine is helpful for you should be reasons to have it on your shelf.

Creatine

Increase Athletic Performance

Creatine increases strength and power output, but also aids in athletic performance, in particular those endurance athletes who use high amounts of energy during short, high interval intense training sessions or who need energy stores for prolonged exercise (1). For those who need the most output with as much power as possible, creatine offers that explosive benefit of bringing energy to the forefront. On top of the physical benefits associated with performance, its ability to resupply those energy stores can support recovery and get your muscles to where they need to be to see growth and increased energy. A good creatine supplementation can also reduce muscle damage (2) during training to keep you as healthy as possible during complex, high intensity training sessions.

Promotes Strength

The most widely accepted benefit of creatine is its ability to promote strength and muscle growth. Consuming creatine helps your muscles build phosphocreatine which allows for better performance with intense strength-building exercises. Creatine has a great effect on muscle growth by causing the cells to inflate improving muscle pump. Since creatine contains L-arginine, your blood flow and circulation improve (3) and your muscles retain more water. It allows you to push through that extra rep or two and maximizes your time in the gym to lift more safely and effectively while providing that big, toned aesthetic you want. The benefit creatine has on your myogenic satellite cells is important for muscle regeneration and the overall maintenance of your skeletal muscle (4).

Creatine

Improves Metabolism

Creatine can improve your insulin sensitivity and improve glycemic control (5) to help boost your metabolism. With an increased metabolic rate, you can increase the number of calories burned also aiding in fat loss. Since creatine allows for prolonged activity, your ability to burn more calories comes from the fact you can train longer. This will allow you to better control your weight management as well as energy control to benefit your optimum strength and weight loss goals without sacrificing that hard-earned muscle.

Boosts Mental Capacity

A grueling workout can be draining both on your body and your mind. Creatine helps boost mental capacity by improving your working memory and processing speed (6). For those struggling to stay focused and alert to get the most out of training, creatine offers great benefit to brain power. As you become more fatigued, creatine can enhance cognitive function (7) by increasing oxygen utilization in the brain. Creatine’s ability to reduce mental fatigue makes this a great supplement to keep you grinding harder so you stay alert and building muscle without the sluggish, lazy feeling.

Creatine

Elevates Testosterone

Those who know the feeling of low testosterone understand the frustrations that come with it. A decrease in energy levels, endurance, mental sharpness, and sex drive can all be unfortunate side effects of low testosterone which can negatively affect your training. What creatine can do is convert testosterone into a more active form, known as dihydrotestosterone, to increase the effect (8) and aid in elevated levels of testosterone and the benefits it provides. You will find that your energy, endurance, and mental capacity all improve to keep you running at maximum capacity without worrying about a crash in the middle of your workout.

Wrap Up

While creatine is widely accepted as a strength building supplement, some still shy away from it for fear of getting too big. Those looking to pack on lean muscle tend to lean towards other supplements to keep from gaining too much muscle. But the benefits of creatine on the body and the mind are hard too ignore. Creatine is a great supplement for those looking to get bigger and see substantial muscle growth, but creatine’s ability to increase athletic performance, boost metabolism and testosterone, and promote cognitive function are all solid reasons this supplement should be on your shelf. Look into the benefits of creatine and feel comfortable in knowing that your supplement is providing so much more than what you originally thought. Supplemented with a great workout regimen and healthy diet, creatine will give you that boost for growth and the ability to train at the highest level.

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*Images courtesy of Envato

References

  1. Graham, A. S.; Hatton, R. C. (1999). “Creatine: a review of efficacy and safety”. (source)
  2. Wang, Chia-Chi; Fang, Chu-Chun; Lee, Ying-Hsian; Yang, Ming-Ta; Chan, Kuei-Hui (2018). “Effects of 4-Week Creatine Supplementation Combined with Complex Training on Muscle Damage and Sport Performance”. (source)
  3. Bode-Boger, Stefanie M.; Boger, Rainer H.; Galland, Andrea; Tsikas, Dimitrios; Frolich, Jurgen C. (1998). “L-arginine-induced vasodilation in healthy humans: pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic relationship”. (source)
  4. Vierck, Janet L.; Icenoggle, Deri L.; Bucci, Luke; Dodson, Michael V. (2003). “The effects of ergogenic compounds on myogenic satellite cells”. (source)
  5. Pinto, Camila L.; Botelho, Patricia B.; Pimentel, Gustavo D.; Campos-Ferraz, Patricia L.; Mota, Joao F. (2016). “Creatine supplementation and glycemic control: a systematic review”. (source)
  6. Rae, Caroline; Digney, Alison L.; McEwan, Sally R.; Bates, Timothy C. (2003). “Oral creatine monohydrate supplementation improves brain performance: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial”. (source)
  7. Avgerinos, Konstantinos; Spyrou, Nikolaos; Bougioukas, Konstantinos; Kapogiannis, Dimitrios (2018). “Effects of creatine supplementation on cognitive function of healthy individuals: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials”. (source)
  8. Arazi, H.; Rahmaninia, F.; Hosseini, K.; Asadi, A. (2015). “Effects of short term creatine supplementation and resistance exercises on resting hormonal and cardiovascular responses”. (source)
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Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.