Creatine is a natural supplement that is used to increase sports performance (1).
Not only is it safe to use, but it is also one of the most popular and effective supplements for strengthening muscles and strength (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).
Here are 10 benefits of creatine based on science.
1. It helps the muscle cells to produce more energy
Creatine supplements increase the phosphocreatine stores in your muscles (7, 8).
Phosphocreatine helps the formation of a new ATP, the key molecule used by your cells for energy and all the basic functions of life (8).
During exercise, ATP breaks down to produce energy.
The rate of ATP resynthesis limits your ability to perform continuously at maximum intensity: you use ATP faster than you reproduce it (9, 10).
Creatine supplements increase your phosphocreatine stores, allowing you to produce more ATP energy to fuel your muscles during high-intensity exercise (10, 11).
This is the main mechanism behind the effects that improve the performance of creatine.
Summary Creatine supplementation provides additional ATP energy, which improves the performance of high intensity exercise.
2. Supports many other functions in the muscles
Creatine is a popular and effective supplement for adding muscle mass (1, 4).
It can alter numerous cellular pathways that lead to new muscle growth. For example, it increases the formation of proteins that create new muscle fibers (12, 13, 14, 15, 16).
It can also raise the levels of IGF-1, a growth factor that promotes an increase in muscle mass (12, 13).
In addition, creatine supplements can increase the water content of muscles. This is known as cell volumization and can rapidly increase muscle size (15, 17).
In addition, some research indicates that creatine decreases the levels of myostatin, a molecule responsible for muscle growth retardation. Reducing myostatin can help you develop muscle faster (18).
Summary Creatine can stimulate several key biological processes that lead to greater growth and muscle size.
3. Improve the performance of high intensity exercise
The direct role of creatine in the production of ATP means that it can drastically improve the performance of high intensity exercise (1, 2, 19).
Creatine improves numerous factors, including (6, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24):
- Ballistic power
- Sprint skill
- Muscular resistance
- Fatigue resistance
- Muscle mass
- Brain performance
Unlike supplements that only affect advanced athletes, creatine benefits you regardless of your physical condition (25, 26).
One review found that it improves the performance of high intensity exercise by up to 15% (2).
Summary Creatine is the most effective supplement in the world for high intensity sports. Offers benefits regardless of your current fitness level.
4. Accelerates muscle growth
Creatine is the world's most effective supplement for adding muscle mass (1, 27).
Taking it for only 5 to 7 days has been shown to significantly increase lean body weight and muscle size.
This initial increase is caused by the increased water content in your muscles (15, 17).
In the long term, it also helps in the growth of muscle fiber by signaling key biological pathways and increasing gym performance (12, 13, 14, 15, 23).
In a study of a six-week training regimen, participants who used creatine added 4.4 pounds (2 kg) more muscle mass, on average, than the control group (23).
Similarly, a comprehensive review showed a clear increase in muscle mass for those taking creatine, compared to those who perform the same training regimen without creatine (27).
This review also compared the most popular sports supplements in the world and concluded that creatine is the best available. Its advantages include being less expensive and much safer than most other sports supplements (27).
Summary Creatine can increase muscle mass in the short and long term. It is the most effective muscle building supplement available.
5. Can help with Parkinson's disease
Parkinson's disease is characterized by a reduction of the key neurotransmitter dopamine in your brain (8, 28).
The large reduction in dopamine levels causes the death of brain cells and several serious symptoms, such as tremors, loss of muscle function and speech disorders (28).
Creatine has been linked to beneficial effects on Parkinson's in mice, preventing 90% of the fall in dopamine levels (29).
In an attempt to treat the loss of muscle function and strength, people with Parkinson's often perform weight training (30, 31).
In individuals with Parkinson's disease, the combination of creatine with weight training improved strength and daily function to a greater extent than training alone (32).
However, a recent analysis of five controlled studies in people with Parkinson's observed that taking 4 to 10 grams of creatine per day does not significantly improve daily activities (33).
Summary Creatine can reduce some symptoms of Parkinson's disease by improving strength and muscle function. However, certain studies do not observe effects.
6. Can fight other neurological diseases
A key factor in several neurological diseases is a reduction of phosphocreatine in your brain (29).
Since creatine can increase these levels, it can help reduce or slow the progression of the disease.
In mice with Huntington's disease, creatine restored brain phosphocreatine stores at 72% of pre-disease levels, compared with only 26% for control mice (34).
This phosphocreatine restoration helped maintain daily function and reduced cell death by approximately 25% (34).
Animal research suggests that taking creatine supplements can also treat other diseases, including (35, 36, 37, 38):
- Alzheimer disease
- Ischemic stroke
- Injury to the brain or spinal cord
Creatine has also shown benefits against ALS, a disease that affects the motor neurons essential for movement. It improved motor function, reduced muscle loss and increased the survival rate by 17% (39).
Although more human studies are needed, many researchers believe that creatine supplements are a bulwark against neurological diseases when used in conjunction with conventional medications.
Summary Studies in animals suggest that creatine can help with symptoms, disease progression and life expectancy in neurological diseases.
7. Can lower blood sugar levels and fight diabetes
Research suggests that creatine supplements can lower blood sugar levels by increasing the function of GLUT4, a carrier molecule that carries blood sugar to muscles (40, 41, 42, 43).
A 12-week study examined how creatine affects blood sugar levels after a high-carbohydrate meal. People who combined creatine and exercise were better at controlling blood sugar levels than those who only exercised (42).
The short-term response of blood sugar to a meal is an important marker of the risk of diabetes. The faster your body removes sugar from the blood, the better (44).
While these benefits are promising, more research in humans is needed on the long-term effects of creatine on blood sugar control and diabetes.
Summary Some evidence suggests that creatine may help reduce blood sugar levels after meals, but there is little data on its long-term effects.
8. It can improve brain function
Creatine plays an important role in the health and function of the brain (25).
Research shows that your brain requires a significant amount of ATP when performing difficult tasks (25).
Supplements can increase the reserves of phosphocreatine in your brain to help you produce more ATP. Creatine can also help brain function by increasing dopamine levels and the function of mitochondria (25, 45, 46).
Because meat is the best dietary source of creatine, vegetarians often have low levels. A study of creatine supplements in vegetarians found an improvement of 20 to 50% in some memory and intelligence test scores (25).
For the elderly, two weeks of creatine supplementation significantly improved memory and recovery capacity (47).
In older adults, creatine can increase brain function, protect against neurological diseases, and reduce age-related muscle and strength loss (48).
Despite these positive findings, more research is needed in young, healthy individuals who eat meat or fish on a regular basis.
Summary Supplementing with creatine can provide additional energy to your brain, which improves memory and intelligence in people with low creatine levels.
9. Can reduce fatigue and fatigue
Creatine supplements can also reduce fatigue and fatigue (49).
In a six-month study in people with traumatic brain injury, those who were supplemented with creatine had a 50% reduction in dizziness, compared to those who did not (49).
In addition, only 10% of patients in the supplement group experienced fatigue, compared to 80% in the control group (49).
Another study found that creatine reduced fatigue and increased energy levels during sleep deprivation (50).
Creatine can also reduce fatigue in athletes who take a cycling test and has been used to decrease fatigue when exercising at high temperatures (51, 52).
Summary Creatine can reduce symptoms of fatigue and fatigue by providing the brain with additional energy and increasing dopamine levels.
10. Safe and easy to use
Along with the various benefits of creatine, it is also one of the cheapest and safest supplements available. You can find a wide selection on Amazon.
It has been researched for more than 200 years and numerous studies guarantee its safety for long-term use. Clinical trials lasting up to five years do not report adverse effects in healthy individuals (1).
Also, supplementing is very easy: simply take 3 to 5 grams of creatine monohydrate powder per day (1, 53).
Summary Creatine is one of the safest supplements available and has been scientifically studied for more than two centuries.
The bottom line
At the end of the day, creatine is an effective supplement with powerful benefits for both sports performance and health.
It can increase brain function, combat certain neurological diseases, improve exercise performance and accelerate muscle growth.
Try adding this natural substance to your supplement regimen to see if it works for you.
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