Top Five Benefits of Creatine

Top Five Benefits of Creatine

In the realm of sports nutrition, creatine has proven to be one of the most effective supplements in existence. It’s gained a tremendous amount of popularity over the years thanks to its ability to enhance athletic performance, body composition, and recovery.

But that’s not all creatine has to offer…

It turns out that creatine is a powerful nootropic that can reliably improve cognitive function. More research is emerging every year that showcases the multifaceted benefits of creatine in people of all ages.

In this article we’ll cover the top five benefits of creatine, when to take it, the proper dose, best form, what it is and how it works!

What is creatine and how does it work?

Creatine is a naturally occurring compound the body synthesizes from three amino acids: glycine, arginine, and methionine. Approximately 95% of the body's creatine is stored in skeletal muscle tissue, while the remaining 5% is distributed in other tissues, predominantly the brain.

Creatine exists in the body in two forms, free creatine and phosphocreatine, also known as creatine phosphate. Phosphocreatine plays an important role in the regeneration of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the main energy currency of your cells.

The phosphocreatine system supplies a phosphate group to adenosine diphosphate, an unusable form of adenosine, to turn it into adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The more ATP available during high intensity, short-duration activities, such as sprinting, weightlifting, and jumping, the better the body will be able to sustain musculular energy production.

Although the body can endogenously synthesize creatine from the three amino acids listed above, the amount is not sufficient enough to maximize your skeletal muscle storage capacity.

Not to mention, it’s very challenging to consume enough meat on a daily basis to equate to the recommended amount of creatine for optimal performance. This is why many people turn to creatine supplementation to augment their body's creatine stores and optimize performance.

What’s the best form of creatine supplementation?

With the rise in popularity of creatine, it’s natural to have a spike in the creation of various forms. Some of the most popular include creatine hydrochloride, creatine citrate, creatine malate, creatine ethyl-ester, and buffered creatine. We’re going to let you in on a secret while saving you some money… the best form of creatine is the tried and true creatine monohydrate.

So don’t be fooled into thinking the other “fancy” forms of creatine are better because they are not!

Creatine monohydrate is the most common, cost effective, and well-researched form of creatine used in dietary supplements. It is composed of creatine molecule bound with a single molecule of water, hence the term "monohydrate." This form of creatine is highly stable, soluble in water, and readily absorbed by the body.

Creatine monohydrate has been extensively studied for its efficacy and safety in improving athletic performance, muscle strength, and power output. Research has consistently shown that supplementation with creatine monohydrate can increase muscle creatine stores, enhance phosphocreatine levels, and improve the body's capacity to perform high-intensity exercise.

Now that you know what creatine is, let’s cover the top five benefits!

Top 5 Benefits of Creatine Supplementation

  1. Increased strength and power
  2. Enhanced muscle growth
  3. Improved athletic performance
  4. Faster recovery and reduced muscle soreness
  5. Elevated cognitive performance

Increased strength and power

Creatine supplementation has been consistently shown to enhance muscle strength and power output, allowing individuals to lift heavier weights, perform more repetitions, and generate greater force during resistance training. This increased strength and power can lead to improvements in athletic performance and exercise capacity.

Enhanced muscle growth

Creatine supplementation can promote muscle hypertrophy (growth) by increasing intracellular water retention, stimulating protein synthesis, and reducing muscle protein breakdown. This can result in greater muscle mass and improved body composition, particularly when combined with resistance training.

Improved athletic performance

By replenishing phosphocreatine stores, creatine supplementation enhances the body's capacity to perform high-intensity, short-duration activities, such as sprinting, jumping, and weightlifting. This can lead to improvements in anaerobic performance, allowing individuals to exert maximal effort for longer durations and recover more quickly between bouts of intense exercise.

Faster recovery and reduced muscle soreness

Creatine supplementation has been shown to reduce muscle damage and inflammation following intense exercise, leading to faster recovery times and less muscle soreness between workouts. This can allow individuals to train more frequently and with higher intensity, leading to greater gains in strength, power, and muscle mass over time.

Elevated cognitive performance

Emerging research suggests that creatine supplementation may have cognitive-enhancing effects, including improved memory, attention, and cognitive function. This is thought to be due to creatine's role in cellular energy metabolism and its ability to enhance brain phosphocreatine levels, particularly in situations of increased cognitive demand or stress.

When should you take creatine and how much is optimal?

There’s a lot of misconceptions about the timing and dosing protocol of creatine. Some say you should cycle creatine, while others recommend a loading phase.

To keep things simple, we recommend taking 5 grams of creatine monohydrate on training and non-training days. If you’re above 200lbs, you can take up to 10 grams per day since you have more muscle mass and storage capacity.

There really isn’t a need to load creatine and taking upwards of 20 grams per day is usually when people experience gastrointestinal distress. In terms of cycling on and off creatine, there’s no need to do that either. Whether you’re looking to lose, gain, or maintain weight, continue to supplement with creatine year round.

Final Thoughts

Overall, creatine supplementation offers a range of benefits for athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and individuals seeking to optimize their physical performance, muscle growth, and cognitive function. Its safety, efficacy, and affordability make it a valuable dietary supplement for individuals looking to achieve their health and fitness goals.

If you’re looking for an affordable creatine supplement, check out Basics Creatine!