It is everyone’s dream to enjoy life and its perks. Maintaining good health allows us to do such. However, it doesn’t happen by accident. It requires work and smart lifestyle choices. Eating a healthy diet rich in fiber, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and other healthy requirements can turn down inflammation in our body that can damage tissue, joints, artery walls, and organs. Doing away with processed foods and artificial sweets especially foods made with highly refined grains, and sugar-sweetened beverages can help us maintain good health, too.
All men from all walks of life, young and old, deserve a healthy body. Doing physical activity is also necessary for good health for it reduces that risk of developing certain illnesses. Physical activity improves sleep and endurance while strength training is important for balance, bone health, controlling blood sugar, and mobility. Indeed, having a healthy body is a choice one has to make because it would entail hard work and investment. Luckily, there are available supplements in the market today that can help us get the right nutrients without a hassle. These supplements can benefit everyone by way of boosting one’s stamina and performance.
One very well-touted supplements in the market today that especially athletes would rave about is the creatine supplement. It is said, however, that the body makes its own creatine, by way of the kidney and liver, after one eats protein. Then, the muscles convert creatine into creatine phosphate, which is then generated into adenosine triphosphate (ATC), which your body uses for explosive exercise (1). This is the very reason why athletes take creatine. Taking this supplement orally can help them to improve athletic performance and increase muscle mass. Today, creatine intake becomes more efficient that instead of consuming pounds of protein, all you have to do is take the nutrient in powdered, liquid, or pill form.
What is Creatine Supplement?
- Creatine is a nitrogenous organic acid found primarily in the skeletal muscle that helps muscles get the energy they need to contract (2).
- The body makes about a 1-2 grams of creatine a day from amino acids, and overall, your body is composed of about 1% creatine (3).
- The majority of creatine is found in skeletal muscle (~95%) with small amounts also found in the brain and testes (~5%) (4).
- Creatine can be also derived from what you eat especially from the meat of other animals, like beef, chicken, or pork (5).
- It is a naturally occurring guanidino compound that plays a vital role in the storage and transport of cellular energy (6).
- The creatine molecule is a fundamental component of high-energy phosphate metabolism, required for buffering, transport, and regulation of cellular energy (7).
Scientific research reveals that using creatine as a dietary supplement improves physical performance during short, intensive and repetitive exercises and leads to optimal muscle growth and helps to promote long term growth (8). Higher availability of creatine in muscles improves the energy supply to muscle cells, thereby making it possible to improve performance (9).
Health benefits of creatine supplement:
1. Strength and performance
Taking creatine supplements helps add more physical strength and endurance to the body’s capacity while performing high intensity exercises. One review noted that when creatine supplements were added to the training program, it increased weight-lifting performance by a whopping 14 percent and bench pressing abilities by 43 percent and muscle mass is naturally increased in this process (10). Usually, ATP is exhausted within 8 to 10 seconds of intensive exercise, but you can optimize performance better as the body can produce more ATP when supplements are consumed (11). Creatine can be used as a tool for endurance athletes because it has been shown to increase glycogen stores (12). It can enhance your endurance performance.
Creatine has been shown to help reduce inflammation and muscle soreness and the shorter recovery times, means you can get back to training sooner, so more gym time can equal a stronger you (13). It allows training at a higher intensity, and if you are training at a higher intensity, it can lead to muscle increase. One study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found men who supplemented with creatine made more strength and muscle mass gains after 12 weeks of strength training than those who did not and a second study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found those who supplemented with creatine also recovered from strength training significantly faster (14).
3. Brain function
The brain stores phosphocreatine as well and needs ATP for increased performance and functioning of the organ and creatine supplement can help several conditions occurring as a result of impaired brain function, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, ischemic stroke, epilepsy, brain or spinal cord injuries, and it improves memory in older adults (15). Although the majority of the research has been done on animals, creatine does show some promise on treating older healthy adults with slight cognitive impairment (16).
4. Skin health
Preliminary research suggests that a cream containing creatine and other ingredients applied to the face every day for six weeks might reduce skin sag and wrinkles in men while another study suggests that a cream containing creatine and folic acid improves sun damage and reduces wrinkles (17). It helps to repair skin cells and gives our skin the power to regenerate. The production of collagen in the skin is quite complex, but without sufficient cellular energy to synthesize, collagen stores will deplete that results in a decline in skin elasticity and promotes the formation of unwanted wrinkles (18). Applying creatine to the face and body helps to provide new energy to our cells, stimulate collagen production, and reduce the signs of ageing (19).
Surely, this supplement can benefit us in so many ways. However, there might be some precautions that we should warn ourselves about. When this supplement is taken orally and at appropriate doses, it is likely safe to take for up to five years. But, there is concern that creatine taken in high doses is possibly unsafe and could damage the liver, kidneys or heart (20). So, avoid this supplement if you have a history of kidney disease or you have conditions such as diabetes that increase the risk of kidney problems.
Some mild side effects may include muscle cramping, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, gastrointestinal pain, dehydration, weight gain, water retention, heat intolerance and fever (21). In addition, there are also many drugs that might interact with creatine and increase the risk of kidney damage (22). It is important to consult your doctor when you are considering this supplement as part of your daily dose of booster.