Creatine is a chemical present in the body naturally, mostly present in the muscle and brain. It is a nitrogenous organic acid that helps supply energy to the cells throughout the body, particularly muscle cells.
Improves exercise ability to perform and increase muscle mass in adults and athletes. Also known as a performance-enhancing supplement. Creatine is the most popular substance for people who want to enhance muscle mass and give a burst of strength to athletes.
Creatine got its popularity because of its easy accessibility. It is available in the form of powder, tablets, drink mixes, and energy bars. You can buy these supplements without a doctor’s prescription at online markets, supplement stores, and supermarkets. Researchers aren’t sure what effect creatine will cause by taking over a long period, but creatine is safe to take for a short period for high-intensity training.
What is Creatine?
Creatine is a natural source which helps to provide energy to your muscles. It is a type of amino acid obtained mainly from glycine and methionine.
It is also produced naturally inside the body with itself with the help of pancreas, kidney and liver. The average amount is 1-2g per day, naturally produced in the body. Helps to maintain the energy levels inside muscles. Researchers have also shown that creatine helps to prevent and slow down skin aging, also preventing muscle disease.
Creatine is also rich in some food sources like red meat and fish. Creatine supplements are also available in the market, if you’re not able to fulfil from food sources.
These are mainly used by Athletes to enhance their performance and build muscle mass.
5 Health Benefits of Creatine you should know
1. Increase muscle mass
It’s a very effective supplement in growing muscle mass. By taking creatine for consistent 5 to 6 days, could result in lean muscle gain and increased efficiency to lift weights.
You should also increase the water intake up to 4-5 liters per day, while taking creatine.
Increased muscle phosphocreatine (PC) stores, eventually increases the amount of creatine in muscles helps to build more muscles.
Creatine helps to give high energy levels frequently, which helps to build more muscle with high intensity.
Creatine supplements benefit men and women, but have seen more benefits in men rather than women. It could be building muscle mass or training strength. Also creatine is known for world’s most popular sports supplements, because it is cheaper and safer to us.
2. Creatine Enhance Athletes Performance
Creatine supplements help to increase Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) levels in the body, giving energy to muscles during heavy intense workout.
Creatine is recommended for bodybuilders, power lifters and strength athletes for increasing their performance.
Benefit of instant recovery, it is now used for competition like football, volleyball or badminton.
These supplements help to maximize the muscle stores level with saturation level up to 60-79%.
If your body is filled with extra amounts of creatine rather than normal then excess creatine will break down into creatinine, the liver going to metabolize it and will excrete in urine.
In Athletic sports like running or jumping, creatine is not helpful. But at the same time for body builders it’s a top supplement because of no side effects.
3. Creatine for Muscle Loss With Age
Creatine helps to delay muscle wasting and tends to improve strength and also increase endurance. It provides strength in legs, shoulder and hands; with proper lean muscles.
Taking creatine with exercise will benefit more and a small amount of dose won’t help also if taken without doing exercise. If looking for effective results then you should train your muscles then see changes.
It helps to increase muscle strength in older adults.
4. Creatine for Brain Health
Creatine is good for the brain, it plays a vital role for brain health. Creatine supplements increase oxygen level and energy to the brain upto 5-15% which eventually improves the brain functioning.
Researchers have shown that taking creatine for a week with dosage of 5 to 17g, helps to improve brain memory and intelligence level.
Also helps to increase recognition memory and reduces mental fatigue.
5. Creatine Heart Health
Creatine supplement helps to lower the risk of heart attack in your body. It reduces the high cholesterol level and prevents bad cholesterol.
Maintains healthy blood lipid levels, helps to prevent narrow blood vessels which reduces the risk of heart attack.
The high homocysteine level increases the risk of heart disease, eventually heart attack risk also occurs. So, creatine helps to maintain the homocysteine level in the body to prevent heart disease and blood sugar levels.
Any Side Effects of Creatine?
Creatine does not have any side effects as such. But high doses of creatine are possibly safe. Some exceptions might be there to one’s body that couldn’t tolerate creatine or high doses of creatine. Might affect your liver, kidney, heart; it’s not proven, but it might affect.
Some more effects of creatine might cause
Kidney or liver damag
Side Effects of Creatine with points
1. Dehydration / Cramps
Creatine takes water from the body to muscle cells. That’s why creatine might cause dehydration, it is always advisable to increase water intake when you are taking creatine up to 4-5 liters a day. But research has shown that dehydration does occur. But you should always take care of changes in your body while taking creatine.
2. Weight Gain
Creatine tends to occur fast. By taking 20g a day, weight increases by 2-3 kg. This is also because of increased water content in muscles.
Creatine takers tend to have more weight rather than who is not taking creatine. Weight here refers to muscle gain not body fat.
3. Digestion Problems
Consuming creatine with proper medications and recommended dosage up to 3-5g a day have not found any digestive related issues.
But increasing the amount of creatine intake, in creatine loading phase up to 15-20g a day, which might cause digestion problems with a risk factor up to 40%.
It is recommended to go for good brands in creatine supplements, do not go for cheaper ones.
It’s not advisable to take creatine with caffeine. It’s eventually going to decrease the effects of creatine in body. Also it is advisable, that you shouldn’t consume caffeine more than 300 mg, because it might worsen the progression of Parkinson’s disease progression.
Is Creatine a Steroid?
The short answer is No, because it’s obtained from natural substances. But it also doesn’t mean that it is safer to consume as much quantity as you want.
Researchers still don’t have any final conclusion on the health effects of creatine in long term use.
You should take some advice from the doctor, what time period is good for the creatine cycle and how much consumption of creatine is good as per your health.
Taking creatine for 2-3 months is okay, there would be no harm, if taken in adequate quantity. A normal person can consume 3-5 g of creatine every day.
But if he or she is consuming more creatine rather than an adequate quantity like 15-20g creatine per day, that might cause several health issues.