The moment you step into a supplement store thinking about how great your body would turn out to be if taking protein supplements, the one word that never seems to fade away from the seller’s mouth is ‘Creatine’!

In order to be the champion of their quest, many bodybuilders and athletes have tried turning towards a greater and better drug supplement that is believed to enhance muscle growth.

Is creatine the best supplement for bodybuilders?

Creatine is a naturally occurring supplement that has an important role in energy production and muscle function. Studies have shown that it can increase muscle mass, strength, and exercise performance, making it a popular supplement for bodybuilders and other athletes (R. Cooper [1] ).

In addition to these benefits, creatine has also offered several other health benefits, such as protecting against neurological disease. Some people believe that creatine is unsafe and has many side effects, but these are not supported by evidence.

If you’re interested in using creatine to improve your bodybuilding workouts or athletic performance, it’s important to understand how it works and use it safely. This article will provide everything you need to know about creatine and your body, including tips for optimizing its effects and avoiding potential side effects.

What is creatine?

Creatine is a natural substance that plays an important role in supporting lean muscle growth and enhancing bodybuilding workouts. It works by turning into creatine phosphate in the body, which helps produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the primary energy source for cells during intense physical activity. As a result, creatine can help boost your performance during bodybuilding workouts, allowing you to achieve more muscle gains.

Additionally, incorporating a healthy diet rich in protein-rich foods like meat and fish can help ensure that your body system has the nutrients it needs to produce adequate amounts of creatine. With the right training and diet regimen, you can use creatine to maximize your results in the gym and achieve the muscular physique you desire.

NOTE: Creatine supplementation is not a replacement for eating protein. These two nutrients work in different ways and should be used accordingly in your bodybuilding diet. Creatine will help you get stronger during your workouts, while proteins lead to muscle repair after them. Just taking supplements without consuming enough of either could lead to fewer results than expected.

Studies (2) found that the body’s creatine is stored in the muscles, with 95% being present as phosphocreatine. The other 5% can be found throughout your brain and organs, such as kidneys or liver.

‘Creatine’ Creating Wonders – How It Works?

Research has shown that it may play a role in preventing Parkinson’s disease, protecting the brain from damage after traumatic injury, and improving memory (3). Creatine is an important muscle-building supplement, as it helps to increase muscle growth and support bodybuilding workouts.

One of the main ways creatine promotes muscle growth is by increasing phosphocreatine levels in your muscles. This allows your body to produce more energy during high-intensity exercise, leading to greater muscle growth.

  1. Creatine Boosts Workload: The key to long-term muscle growth is in the total work or volume that you can achieve during a single training session. Creatine helps with this by enabling more of it.
  2. Improved Cell Signaling: Creatine can boost satellite cell signaling that relates to aiding muscle repair and more muscle growth.
  3. Raised Anabolic Hormones: Research shows how creatine can bring about a rise in hormones, such as IGF-1 (4).
  4. Reduction in Protein Breakdown: It may also tend to reduce muscle breakdown and increase total muscle mass.
  5. Lower Myostatin Levels: Creatine has been shown to reduce myostatin levels, which can lead to increased new muscle growth. (This supplement is perfect for people who want bigger arms!)

Foods that are high in creatine

Creatine is a naturally occurring ingredient found in various foods. It’s not just taking supplements, though. You can also get your fill by eating beef liver or salmon fillets. Try out these foods listed in order of highest to the lowest amount of creatine. Per 100 gram:

  • Herring Fillet – 1.1 g
  • Beef patties – 0.9 g
  • Beef Steak Gravy – 0.9 g
  • Salmon – 0.9 g
  • Beef burger – 0.9 g
  • Pork – 0.7 g

Creatine Affecting Muscle Gains – a week-wise growth!

Creatine is a popular supplement that is effective for muscle growth in both the short- and long-term. It is beneficial for people of all ages and fitness levels, including sedentary individuals, older adults, and elite athletes.

One 14-week study has shown that older adults can significantly increase leg strength and muscle mass (5).

Creatine has been shown in various studies to increase the growth of muscle fibers, specifically those involved with strength exercises. Research shows that after 12 weeks of supplementation, athletes will experience 2-3 times more increased fiber development than training alone and double their total body mass (6).

Does it impact your brain?

It’s a well-known fact that your brain needs plenty of energy to function at its best. Even more so, it stores phosphocreatine in order for you to have the optimal amount available when needed most. It is claimed that supplementing with creatine may solve diseases such as:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Ischemic stroke
  • Epilepsy
  • Brain or spinal cord injuries
  • Motor neuron disease
  • Memory and brain function in older adults

How safe is this supplement after all?

Creatine has always been a popular sports supplement for decades now, but it’s not without its controversy. It is natural and can be found in many plants throughout nature, including green tea leaves or fishmeal. There isn’t always an easy answer when searching whether something is safe to use because supplements aren’t held accountable by the FDA like medications.

So you really never know what could potentially enter your system if taking these types of products!

Researchers have been concerned about the safety of taking creatine supplements during childhood and adolescence. Adolescents who use this product often do so without consulting their doctor, which can cause them to exceed recommended doses by quite a lot.

Side effects can include:

  • Weight gain
  • Anxiety
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Kidney problems
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Rash
  • Stomach upset

References:

  1. Creatine supplementation with a specific view to exercise/sports performance, Robert Cooper, Fernando Naclerio, Judith Allgrove, and Alfonso Jimenez, 2012
  1. Clinical pharmacology of the dietary supplement creatine monohydrate, A M Persky, G A Brazeau, 2001
  1. Nutrition and Traumatic Brain Injury: Improving Acute and Subacute Health Outcomes in Military Personnel,  Erdman J, Oria M, Pillsbury L, 2011
  1. Increased IGF mRNA in human skeletal muscle after creatine supplementation, Louise Deldicque,  Magali Louis, Daniel Theisen, Henri Nielens, Mischaël Dehoux, Jean-Paul Thissen, Michael J Rennie, Marc Francaux, 2005
  1. Creatine supplementation enhances isometric strength and body composition improvements following strength exercise training in older adults, Andrea Brose, Gianni Parise, Mark A Tarnopolsky, 2003
  1. Performance and muscle fiber adaptations to creatine supplementation and heavy resistance training, J S Volek, N D Duncan, S A Mazzetti, R S Staron, M Putukian, A L Gómez, D R Pearson, W J Fink, W J Kraemer