Whether you’re into bodybuilding, athletic training, or general fitness, you’ve probably heard about creatine. One of the most popular fitness supplements on the market today, it is taken by those looking to improve performance, increase energy, and build strength. A lot of research has been done on its effectiveness as a supplement since it was first linked to athletic performance. With all the hype, it is hard to know if creatine is right for you. Let’s take a look at what creatine is and how it works.
What is Creatine?
Creatine is a compound naturally produced in the body that contributes to the creation of energy for muscles, organs, and other cells. It is created in the liver from a combination of amino acids and is transported to other parts of the body through the blood. Although creatine occurs naturally, the version used in supplements is created synthetically. Both natural and synthetic creatine work the same way. The body converts its, stores it in the muscles, and uses it to create energy. Its ability to increase energy and provide associated benefits is what has made creatine such a popular supplement. It can be taken before or after workouts, but recent research has shown creatine was most effective in increasing muscles mass and strength when taken post-workout.
A lot of research and testing has been done over the years on the effects of creatine. Studies have linked the supplement to several physical and mental health benefits. Some of the potential benefits of taking a creatine supplement include:
Building Lean Muscle
Its popularity with weight lifters and strength trainers shows just how effective creatine is at increasing muscle mass. Numerous scientific studies back this belief, which has driven creatine to the top of the list of muscle-building supplements. In fact, BodyBuilding.com rates it as the best supplement for faster muscle gain.
As a building block of energy production in the body, creatine supplements can provide additional energy to the muscles, heart, and brain. This energy boost is credited with short-term improvements in athletic function, speed, and recovery.
Improving Memory & Intelligence
A report from Science Daily detailed a study that tested creatine supplementation and its impact on memory, general intelligence, and brain function. The study concluded that creatine has a positive impact on mental abilities resulting in increased memory and better overall test scores.
Reasons to Use Creatine
With its many benefits, it is easy to see why people want to use creatine supplements. For those reasons, Americans spend millions on it each year. In addition to its benefits, there are many reasons to use creatine:
Increasing Muscle Mass
Creatine can help increase muscle mass. This makes it an excellent choice for body builders, but it has also been linked by medical professionals to aiding in the treatment of diseases that affect the muscles like Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, and muscular dystrophy.
Using creatine can improve performance during high-intensity training. Its ability to increase energy and boost muscle performance makes it the perfect choice for more intense, shorter duration workouts.
Medical News Today reported that evidence supports creatine’s use in the treatment of depression. Studies indicated that supplementing creatine in addition to antidepressants improved depression more quickly and permanently than just taking antidepressants.
Studying & Retention
Another use of creatine supplements is by students looking to improve their study skills. Its link to increased memory abilities and improved intelligence has made it a popular study and test-taking aid.
Side Effects & Risks
As with most supplements, there are some risks and side effects associated with taking creatine. There is a risk of interaction with other drugs, including anti-inflammatory drugs, diuretics, diabetes medications, and any medication that can affect blood sugar. Additionally, side effect risks have been shown to increase when creatine is taken with stimulants like caffeine. The compound also is not recommended for anyone with kidney or liver issues. Reported side effects by medical sites like WebMD include:
- Water retention
- Weight gain
- Stomach upset, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting
- Kidney trouble
Creatine is a natural substance the body uses to create energy. Taking it as a supplement can increase your energy capacity and lead to improvements in athletic performance and muscle development.
Its use has also been shown to improve certain medical conditions like Parkinson’s disease and depression. There is some risk of side effects and issues when taking creatine as a supplement. You should consult a health care professional if you have any concerns about taking creatine and your health or possible drug interactions.
Where to Buy Creatine
I’d recommend you buy creatine online. But before buying anything you should speak with your doctor and then check out creatine reviews online for info on what is best for you.