Creatine is an amino acid that our body makes naturally. Most of our body’s creatine is stored in the muscles.
Creatine helps provide our cells with energy, which fuels our muscles to carry out everything from intense physical activity, to the beating of our heart.
It also protects the brain, promotes muscle mass, improves endurance, and plays a role in bone health, among many other benefits.
Although we can get creatine from foods such as meats and seafood, many people supplement with creatine to improve athletic performance and reap other health benefits.
In fact, the amount we can get from our diet is so small that we’d have to consume 2-3 pounds of meat daily to get the benefits that just one teaspoon of supplemental creatine would provide.
This article lists and explains the benefits of creatine.
Helps muscle cells produce more energy
One of the most significant and well-researched benefits of creatine is its ability to support muscle health.
Creatine supplements have been shown to increase our muscles’ phosphocreatine stores.
Phosphocreatine helps form ATP, which is the primary compound that our cells need for energy. We need ATP to perform every single life function, and we require it to stay alive (1).
In other words, creatine can increase the energy capacity of our muscles, allowing our muscles to continue to perform and exert especially during high intensity exercise.
Increases muscle mass and strength
In addition to boosting the energy-capacity of our muscles, creatine can also increase strength and muscle mass.
Creatine is the most effective supplement for increasing muscle mass, which is why it’s quite popular among the bodybuilding and fitness communities.
Because creatine allows us to exercise at high intensities for longer durations, people can train with higher weights without getting tired as quickly, which helps promote more lean muscle (2).
Studies consistently show that taking creatine along with resistance training increases muscle mass and strength (3).
Creatine, although often touted for its strength-training benefits, is also beneficial for endurance training.
Recall that creatine increases ATP, which fuels our cells with energy. With more energy in our cells, our body can perform at higher intensities for longer amounts of time.
Athletes that rely on their endurance, such as runners, basketball players, and soccer players, can also benefit from creatine supplementation.
Athletes who require short stints of intense exertion such as in sprinting, may especially benefit from creatine (6).
Expedites workout recovery
Creatine can reduce the severity of injury and enhance rehabilitation from after a workout.
Research shows that supplementing with creatine along with resistance training can reduce muscle damage and therefore speed up the recovery process (2).
In order to stick to your exercise plan, it’s important for muscles to recover quickly so you can get back to the gym and continue training. Perhaps adding creatine to your routine can help you best achieve your fitness goals.
May help improve blood sugar regulation
Creatine also has the ability to help regulate blood sugar.
Creatine supplementation along with regular exercise has been shown to improve blood sugar control (7).
In one study, blood sugar was better controlled in diabetic patients when they added a creatine supplement to their daily routine (8).
When we eat carbohydrates, or sugar, it turns into glucose, which in turn causes an increase in our blood sugar. Certain foods increase our blood sugar more than others – such as refined and processed carbohydrates, and foods high in sugar and saturated fat.
Regulating blood sugar through diet and lifestyle choices is important for overall health, boosting the immune system, reducing inflammation, and preventing chronic disease.
Boosts cognitive health
Creatine may boost cognitive health, too.
Although creatine has been researched far less for cognition than physical performance, there is promising evidence that creatinine can reduce mental fatigue, improve memory, and boost mental sharpness.
Research shows that in healthy individuals, creatine supplementation may improve short-term memory, and boost intelligence and reasoning skills (9).
But more research and larger studies are needed on creatine and brain health to better understand its benefits.
It’s not just about hitting the weights harder. Creatine can also help improve sleep quality which directly affects all other aspects of your health, including muscle growth and recovery.
But when you don’t get enough sleep (we all have those days), creatine may reduce the effects of sleeplessness.
However, this is not to say that creatine can replace good quality sleep. To learn more, you can check out our article on how creatine affects sleep.
Safe to use
Creatine is one of the safest, most researched, and effective supplements available (12).
It’s been safely consumed for many years and there are hundreds of studies to support its safety and efficacy.
Some consumers have noted concern about creatine affecting kidney and liver health, digestion, and hydration status. However, when taken in the recommended amount, there is no evidence to show creatine to cause any of these side effects.
How to incorporate creatine in your diet
As you can see, supplementing with creatine can offer many benefits that likely cannot be obtained from the diet.
Creatine supplementation may be especially important if you do not eat creatine-rich foods, or if you follow a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.
When choosing a supplement, make sure that it’s a creatine monohydrate powder like Naked Creatine, with no artificial additives.
It’s super easy to add creatine into your daily routine.
Simply add a scoop to a smoothie, milk, or juice before or after a workout. Although there is in fact no best time to take creatine, absorption may be boosted if you take it with a meal.
So, what are you waiting for? Try adding in creatine to your daily routine to see for yourself the many benefits creatine can offer.