What is Creatine

Creatine, also known as creatine monohydrate, is an amino acid occurring primarily in muscle cells. It is synthesized in your kidneys, liver and pancreas from L-arginine, glycine and L-methionine. Creatine supplement may have an energy-generating action during anaerobic exercise and may also have neuroprotective and cardioprotective actions.[1] Creatine is an effective nootropic supplement that athletes and bodybuilders take in order to gain muscle, enhance strength and improve exercise performance.[2] This nootropic enhances cognitive performance, increases brain health and improves mental energy.

Creatine health benefits

Creatine supplementation comes with a variety of health benefits and has neuroprotective and cardioprotective properties. It is most commonly used for improving exercise performance and increasing muscle mass in athletes and older adults. Actually, creatine stores high-energy phosphate groups in the form of phosphocreatine. Phosphocreatine releases energy to aid cellular function during stress. The effect causes increased strength after creatine supplementation. It can also benefit the brain, bones, muscles, and liver.[3][4] The common health benefits of creatine include:Stimulates muscle protein synthesis [5] Enhances fat-free mass and physical performance [6] Enhances muscle force recovery [7] Enhances athletic performance [8] Protects the brain [9] Improves cognitive performance [10] Improves learning and memory [11] Helps with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) [12] Improves depressive mood [13] Improves heart health [14] Reduces fatigue [15] Improves swimming performance and reduces increased blood lactate levels [16] Helps improve bone density [17] Improves the clinical signs of skin aging [18] Helps people with Alzheimer’s disease [19]Creatine offers a lot of health benefits. There are many other health benefits out there. But most commonly it is used for gaining muscle, enhancing strength and improving exercise performance.  That’s why it’s not hard to see why there’s a connection between creatine and bodybuilding.

How Creatine works

Creatine is important for energy storage; it is phosphorylated to creatine phosphate, which serves as a phosphate donor in the conversion of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and supplies energy necessary for muscle contraction. Creatine can promote health and athletic performance in several ways. Its primary role in high-strength exercise is to increase the phosphocreatine stores in your muscles. Then the additional stores may be used to create more ATP, which is the key energy source for heavy lifting and high-strength exercise.[19][20] Creatine can cross the blood-brain barrier, which is designed to keep toxins out. It binds to phosphate when it is inside the brain. Then creatine phosphate increases energy consumption within the brain. In this way it helps increase cognitive function.

Recomendation and consideration

Creatine dosages vary according to the age and purposes. For adult, for athletic performance, many different dosing regimens have been used. However, most people use a short-term “loading dose” followed by a long-term maintenance dose. Loading doses are typically 10-35 grams daily for 4-10 days. Maintenance doses are typically 2-9 grams daily.[22]
If you don’t have a choice for the loading phase, you can simply consume 3 to 5 grams daily. It may take 3 to 4 weeks to maximize muscle stores.[23]
Another important thing to note is since creatine pulls water into the muscle cell, you are advised to take it with a glass of water and stay well hydrated throughout the day.

Creatine is usually safe when taken appropriate dose. Otherwise it may have some possible side effects. The adverse effects may include – Weight gain due to water retention (sometimes up to three to five pounds of weight gain in a day due to fluid accumulation if taking high doses), abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, cramping, constipation, restlessness.
Due to not having any reliable suggestion, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, avoid using creatine. It is always a good suggestion for you to consult your physician or healthcare provider before using any medication.[24]