If you were to ask any dietitian, nutritionist or sports performance coach about the negative side effect of creatine, they would be silent. Creatine has only produced positive results despite what many may have heard.
Creatine is a substance made up of three amino acids and is stored in the muscle and brain. It gets turned into phosphocreatine providing energy to the working muscles.
It is found naturally in foods like seafood and red meat and can be purchased as a supplement. Creatine is widely popular and accepted among athletic and sports communities. It is generally recognized as a safe supplement to consume to improve muscle performance.
Creatine itself doesn’t improve performance but it does improve energy levels produced by the muscle. So an individual who uses creatine might be able to do an extra set of bench press, or push out one extra rep, increasing their work efforts which in turn
increases muscle strength and ultimately performance.
Creatine is one of the most widely researched and commonly used ergogenic aids. It helps in increasing energy in your muscle but also helps increase muscle mass by several mechanisms. In addition to increasing overall workload due to increased energy, it also can increase cell signaling to repair muscles and reducing muscle breakdown. Creatine can also increase cell hydration by pulling water into muscle cells also contributing to the appearance of muscle growth.
There are several studies showing an increase production of phosphocreatine in the brain helping to improve brain health and many neurological diseases. Diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, ischemic stroke, epilepsy, and overall brain and memory function in older adults.
There is also research on vegetarians supplementing with creatine showing improvements in memory. While more research needs to be done on humans to investigate the benefits creatine supplementation on the brain, we do know it can enhance athletic performance, strength, and muscle size.
Creatine is found naturally in meats and fish such as beef, pork, herring, salmon, and cod as well as milk. Creatine monohydrate is the best option for supplementation despite other product claims for different forms being superior. Evidence does not support other creatine supplements providing more benefit than the low-cost creatine monohydrate. It is important to stay hydrated when taking this supplement and always consult a doctor if there are preexisting conditions in the liver and kidneys.