Creatine is becoming one of the most popular supplements on the market. This amino acid is present in the muscle cells of many fish and animals. It fuels your muscles and helps your body quickly create energy.
Your body naturally creates about a gram of creatine per day. However, you need at least two grams per day. You can get additional creatine from eating seafood or animal proteins. However, if you really want to take advantage of creatine, you can also ingest it via supplement. Creatine is available in powder, gummy, liquid and pill forms.
There are many reasons to consider adding creatine to your daily supplements. Here are six benefits of creatine.
1. It Speeds and Increases Muscle Growth
If you are looking to quickly boost the size of your muscles, creatine can help. Research shows that taking this supplement can moderately increase your lean muscle mass within a few days. Creatine does this by adding to the water content within your muscles. It also assists in muscle fiber growth.
2. It Provides an Energy Boost During Workouts
Creatine is particularly useful during high-intensity workouts. That’s because your body uses creatine to create energy molecules called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) when your body works hard. This energy can increase your sprint ability and power during workouts. It may also boost your muscle mass and make you more resistant to fatigue. One study even found that creatine can improve your performance during an intense workout by up to 15 percent.
3. It May Make You Stronger
Over time, creatine may increase the strength of your muscles. However, you must combine the supplement with strength training to see results.
Creatine’s effects are not immediate, either. At first, you will likely only be able to do an extra rep or two per session.
Over time, though, you could see more significant results. One study found that athletes who took 20 grams of creatine a day for six days and then two grams a day for the next three weeks were faster and stronger than those who ingested a placebo.
4. It May Increase Brain Function
Creatine may improve your brain power just as it boosts your physical power. Research has found that difficult tasks use up a lot of your brain’s ATP. Since creatine helps the body create more ATP, the supplement could increase your brain function. In fact, people with diseases that prevent them from making their own creatine take creatine supplements so they can perform essential cognitive functions.
5. It May Help Fight Diabetes
There is some research indicating that creatine increases your body’s ability to manage blood sugar. A three-month study found that those who exercised and took creatine had more control of their blood sugar than those who only exercised.
It is still unclear whether creatine helps control blood sugar in the long term. Additional studies are needed on this topic. However, if creatine does lower blood sugar levels over extended periods, it could be a useful supplement for diabetics.
6. It May Help Treat Neurological Diseases
Similarly, creatine could help slow the progression of certain neurological diseases. That is because many of these conditions, including Huntington’s Disease and Alzheimer’s, are associated with lower creatine phosphate levels in the brain. There is also a study showing that creatine increased the survival rate of individuals battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Still, most of the relevant studies involved animal subjects, so more human studies are needed to confirm any neurological benefits of creatine.
Best of all, creatine is relatively safe to consume. While you may experience a bit of bloat when you start taking the supplements, you can avoid this symptom if you limit your dosage. There also are no published reports linking any severe health conditions to creatine use.
Creatine has been proven to increase muscle strength and athletic performance. It may have some other benefits, as well, though more research is needed. Still, creatine’s impact on muscle performance and minimal side effects make it a supplement worth trying.