Creatine is a naturally occurring substance found in muscle cells that helps to supply energy to muscles during high-intensity exercise. It is one of the most widely used and studied supplements in the world, with numerous benefits for athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike.
Here are some of the top benefits of taking creatine, backed up by scientific research.
One of the most well-known benefits of creatine is its ability to increase muscle strength and power. Studies have shown that supplementing with creatine can help to increase strength and power in both trained and untrained individuals. In fact, research has found that taking creatine can increase strength by up to 8% in as little as two weeks (1).
In addition to increasing strength and power, creatine has also been shown to increase muscle size and growth. Studies have found that creatine supplementation can increase muscle mass by up to 10 pounds in just 12 weeks (2). This is due in part to the fact that creatine helps to increase the water content of muscle cells, which can lead to increased protein synthesis and muscle growth.
Creatine has been shown to enhance athletic performance in a number of ways. For example, research has found that creatine can improve performance in high-intensity exercise tasks such as sprinting and jumping (3). It can also improve performance in endurance exercise by reducing the time it takes to complete a set distance (4).
Another benefit of creatine is its ability to speed up muscle recovery after exercise. Studies have shown that creatine supplementation can help to reduce muscle damage and inflammation after exercise, leading to faster recovery times (5). This can be especially beneficial for athletes who need to recover quickly in order to perform at their best.
In addition to its benefits for muscle performance, creatine has also been shown to have positive effects on brain function. Research has found that creatine can improve memory and cognitive function in both healthy individuals and those with neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease (6).
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Volek JS, Kraemer WJ, Bush JA, Boetes M, Incledon T, Clark KL, Lynch JM. Creatine supplementation enhances muscular performance during high-intensity resistance exercise. J Am Diet Assoc. 1997 Jul;97(7):765-70. PMID: 9216553.
Hespel P, Derave W. Ergogenic effects of creatine in sports and rehabilitation. Subcell Biochem. 2007;46:245-59. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4020-6486-9_11. PMID: 18652081.
Casey A, Constantin-Teodosiu D, Howell S, Hultman E, Greenhaff PL. Creatine ingestion favorably affects performance and muscle metabolism during maximal exercise in humans. Am J Physiol. 1996 Jul;271(1 Pt 1):E31-7. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.1996.271.1.E31. PMID: 8760083.
Cooke MB, Rybalka E, Stathis CG, Cribb PJ, Hayes A. Creatine supplementation enhances muscle force recovery after eccentrically-induced muscle damage in healthy individuals. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2009 Feb 2;6:13. doi