Creatine for Muscle, Strength, & Cognition
Learn about creatine- a natural supplement that has been shown to improve muscle strength, power, and size as well as cognitive benefits.
Sounds like the name of an ancient Greek god, doesn’t it?
In reality, creatine is a supplement, and quite a popular one in the fitness community.
While creatine has a range of benefits, including increased muscle strength and size (are you picturing a Greek god’s bod too?) and improved exercise performance – there is still some confusion about what creatine is and whether or not it is safe to use.
In this article, we will explore the science behind creatine and why it may be an ideal supplement for those looking to build muscle, increase strength, and improve cognition. Let’s dive in…
Jump to Topic:
The Magical Benefits of Creatine
Is Creatine Safe?
General Recommendations for Taking Creatine
The Need to Know About Creatine
The Magical Benefits Of Creatine
Many fitness supplements produce little to no results despite often promising significant benefits. Creatine is an exception.
Creatine offers noticeable results which are backed by dozens of studies. Specifically, it provides the following benefits:
- Enhances the strength and muscle gained from strength training.
- May help build stronger bones.
- Improves cognitive function for those with brain-related challenges: sleep deprivation, depression, declining cognitive function, or brain injuries.
Creatine works for a few reasons. Mainly, the benefits are explained by creatine’s role in energy production.
One of the three energy systems in the human body uses creatine to produce energy (ATP). This energy system specifically fuels intense efforts, such as lifting a challenging weight. As a result, it can improve strength training performance (heavier weights, more reps/time), which in turn leads to larger muscles and stronger bones.
Similarly, the energy creation also helps boost performance for cells in the central nervous system, which could explain why creatine helps those with cognitive struggles.
Is Creatine Safe?
Before getting into details about taking it, you might wonder, “is creatine safe?” Research shows a clear answer: YES!
Creatine is a natural compound that we create in our bodies and obtain by eating fish or red meat. However, most people don’t get the full benefits through those methods.
Research shows that creatine supplementation has no known side effects to the liver, kidneys, or other major organs. (If you have existing chronic health issues, it’s still wise to speak to your doctor before trying creatine or any other supplements).
General Recommendations for Taking Creatine:
- Amount. Taking 5-7 grams per day is enough to obtain the strength and muscle benefits of creatine.
- Type. The most basic form, creatine monohydrate, is shown to provide the aforementioned benefits.
- Timing. Taking it daily at any time of the day is shown to be effective. Taking it just before or after a workout might boost the strength and size benefits.
- Additional tip. Avoid consuming caffeine and creatine simultaneously. The body might not be able to use both when consumed close together. Leave about 30-60 minutes in between caffeine and creatine consumption.
The Need to Know About Creatine
In conclusion, creatine is a safe and effective supplement that can produce numerous benefits. Its role in energy production allows it to improve strength training performance and build larger muscles and stronger bones.
It can also improve cognitive function in those with brain-related challenges. It is recommended to take 5-7 grams of creatine monohydrate daily at any time, but avoiding consuming caffeine and creatine simultaneously is advisable.
Overall, creatine is a valuable supplement to consider for those looking to enhance their physical and cognitive performance.
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- Antonio, J., & Ciccone, V. (2013). The effects of pre versus post workout supplementation of creatine monohydrate on body composition and strength. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 10(1), 36.
- Roschel, H., Gualano, B., Ostojic, S. M., & Rawson, E. S. (2021). Creatine supplementation and brain health. Nutrients, 13(2), 586.
- Trexler, E. (2022). Creatine: Frequently asked questions and lesser-known effects. MASS, 6(8).
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