Creatine is one of the most beneficial compounds for muscle growth and development. Weight lifters know this and science has extensively researched the incredible benefits of creatine.
If you’re a weightlifter who hasn’t started taking creatine yet, then you’re doing yourself a disservice. Creatine supplementation is easily one of the most beneficial ways to improve your performance and here’s why:
What is Creatine?
Creatine is a naturally occurring chemical that is found in the human body, mostly in muscles. Creatine is produced by the body and foods like fish and meats are excellent sources of creatine as well.
Creatine’s main function is to help supply the body with energy, primarily muscle. This function is achieved by increasing the formation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the most basic form of energy the body uses to function.
Benefits of Creatine
Creatine is widely considered to be one of the most studied substances in the world, next only to caffeine. There are over 100 well-formed double-blind studies involving creatine, which is why scientists feel so strongly about the several benefits of creatine.
Creatine and Bodybuilding
Creatine’s main use is to improve performance for athletes and bodybuilders. For example, in one study, creatine was successfully able to significantly improve strength output by around 40% in just 8 weeks. Another similar study discovered that creatine use significantly increased thickness in the arms, shoulders, and legs in men over the course of six weeks.
Overall, creatine has several performance based benefits including:
- Faster muscle mass gains
- Improved strength output
- Increased endurance threshold during workouts
- Improved anaerobic running capacity
- Greater fatigue resistance while working out
- Improved VO2 Max
- Minor increase in testosterone levels
Other Benefits of Creatine
While creatine is mostly used for athletic performance, creatine may have several other benefits as well. For example, one such study found that creatine may reduce glucose spikes by up to 22% after a meal. Another study found creatine helped to slightly decrease lipid peroxidation. A third study discovered that creatine may be useful to help treat depression because of its’ effects on serotonin.
In all, creatine may have up to a dozen non-performance based benefits with several studies still in progress to hopefully discover more benefits of creatine. Right now, creatine is undoubtedly one of the most beneficial supplements for bodybuilders – along with beta alanine.
Side Effects of Creatine
Short and long term use of creatine is likely safe for most adults. There has been some concern that creatine may cause damage in to the kidneys, liver, or heart, but research has proven no connection to high doses of creatine and these negative effects. In fact, research has shown that even adults with only one kidney have no experienced damage with high doses of creatine.
With that said, there are some known side effects of creatine, which are typically only common in high doses of creatine (10g+ per day). One of the most common side effects of creatine is weight gain. Since creatine pulls water into your muscle and holds it, which means your body is going to naturally retain more water, thus leading to weight loss.
Creatine may also cause stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, and muscle cramping, particularly in the abdominal region. In most cases, these side effects are only minor and may go away after a few days of use.
If for any reason you experience a dramatic shift in your health, then you should call your doctor immediately and discontinue use of creatine.
Creatine dosing is normally around 3-5g per day, although doses of 10-20g are sometimes used by larger bodybuilders and athletes to further increase muscle gains.
It is in your best interest to start your dosing around 2-3g and increase it slowly as you deem necessary.
Let’s keep it simple, creatine is mostly safe, incredibly effective, and readily available and affordable. Athletes and bodybuilders can both benefit from creatine and you can find creatine on almost any online retailer like Amazon or Bodybuilding.com.
Feel free to check out creatine supplements on Amazon by checking out the products below: