6 Creatine Benefits And Side Effects

Creatine supplements are the most widely used dietary supplements or performance-enhancing auxiliary ingredients for athletes, with a usage rate of up to 40%.

What are creatine’s benefits and side effects? Are there any side effects?

Table of Contents

What is creatine?

Creatine is an endogenous amino acid compound molecule that exists in all cells of the human body and is synthesized by the three amino acids arginine, glycine, and methionine in the liver, pancreas, and kidney.

In the human body, there are two main forms of creatine, one is 60% phosphorylated form, the other is 40% free form, nearly 95% of creatine is stored in skeletal muscle, and the remaining 5% is found in the brain, liver, In the testicles and kidneys.

In addition to being available from food sources, such as meat and fish, these amino acid compounds are widely known as supplements from the Olympics in the 1990s, when athletes were generally used to improve sports performance.

What is the main role of creatine supplementation?

The main principle of creatine supplementation is to maximize the amount of total creatine in the cell.

In high-intensity, short-term, and repetitive physical activities, intracellular creatine concentration plays an important role in the immediate bioenergy system. These activities quickly consume muscle energy storage, such as weight lifting, sprinting, or swimming.

Depending on the increase in intramuscular creatine, after additional supplementation, the performance of high-intensity or repetitive exercise can generally be increased by about 10 to 20%.

In addition, endogenous creatine also plays a key role in cognitive functions, including learning, memory, attention, language, and emotions.

What are the benefits of creatine?

1. Creatine boosts strength and athletic performance

The human body is designed for sports and has the ability to achieve incredible sports achievements.

With the rapid development of sports nutrition science, nutrition is considered to be an important part of the best performance of sports.

A literature meta-analyses (including 53 double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trials) pointed out that creatine supplementation can improve the performance of upper limb strength in supine press and chest press training (the duration of exercise is less than 3 minutes), especially the muscle groups in the pectoralis major.

A literature meta-analyses (including 60 randomized controlled trials) pointed out that creatine supplementation can improve the performance of squat and leg press training (the duration of exercise is less than 3 minutes), especially the quadriceps Muscles in the muscle area.

Another literature meta-analyses (including 9 double-blind randomized experiments) pointed out that creatine can improve the performance of physical fitness tests related to anaerobic metabolism, especially anaerobic power performance.

*Conclusion: Under high-intensity, short-term, anaerobic training conditions, oral creatine helps improve strength performance.

2. Creatine increases lean tissue quality and improves strength (for older people)

The decrease in lean tissue (only the weight of bones, organs, and muscles) and the increase in fat mass is one of the most significant and consistent changes related to age, and the proper noun for this state is sarcopenia.

Muscle loss not only increases the risk of falls and fractures but also reduces the ability to move. It is also related to heart disease, respiratory diseases, and cognitive disorders. If left untreated, it may lead to mobility problems, a decline in quality of life, loss of independence, or the need for long-term care placement.

A meta-analysis of literature (including 21 studies with a total of 721 adults over the age of 50) pointed out that in combination with resistance training, creatine supplementation can improve lean tissue mass and increase chest and mass The effect of leg press strength is significantly better than placebo.

*Conclusion: For older people, creatine supplementation during resistance training is helpful to increase lean tissue quality and improve limb strength.

3. Creatine improves cognitive function

Cognitive function is an ability to think, learn, and remember, and thus forms the basis of personal perception, reasoning, creative behavior, problem solving and intuition.

Good cognitive health, especially in old age, is a necessary condition for maintaining independence and being active.

A systematic review (including 6 randomized clinical trials with a total of 281 healthy participants) pointed out that oral creatine can improve short-term memory and intellectual/reasoning ability (especially for people with various stress and aging phenomena), however, the impact on other cognitive domains (long-term memory, spatial memory, memory scanning, attention, executive function, response inhibition, fluency in wording, reaction time, and mental fatigue) remains unclear.

*Conclusion: For healthy populations, oral creatine may help improve some cognitive function indicators, but it is limited by the heterogeneity and small sample size of the included studies, and more studies are needed to corroborate.

4. Creatine increases bone density

Osteoporosis is the most common bone disease in humans. It is characterized by low bone mass, deterioration of bone tissue, and destruction of bone microstructure. It can lead to impaired bone strength and increased risk of fractures. High-risk groups include Caucasians, females, and the elderly.

Fractures can lead to chronic pain and disability, especially hip fractures. The mortality rate will increase by 15 to 20% within 1 year, and the risk of fractures will increase by 2.5 times in the future.

Approximately 20-50% of hip fracture patients require long-term home care, resulting in a decline in quality of life, social isolation, depression, and lack of self-esteem.

A meta-analysis of literature (including 5 randomized controlled trials, a total of 193 men over 50 years old or post-menopausal women) pointed out that compared to the object of resistance training alone, creatine combined with resistance training for the whole body, hip, Femoral neck or lumbar spine bone density did not significantly help (intervention duration (12 weeks to 1 year), exercise frequency per muscle per week (1.5 to 3 times per week)).

*Conclusion: Resistance training with creatine fails to effectively increase bone density in the short term, but is limited by the high bias risk of the included studies, which needs further verification by long-term trials.

5. Creatine benefits chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is the combined name of chronic bronchitis and emphysema. It is the most common chronic respiratory disease in the world and is very common among people over 75 years old.

The common feature is limited expiratory airflow and persistent coughing is a common symptom, especially with the mucus secretion, difficulty breathing, wheezing, and chest tightness.

Important comorbidities associated with the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease include cardiovascular disease (coronary heart disease, heart failure, hypertension), diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, osteoporosis, stroke, lung cancer, skeletal muscle weakness, anemia, depression, and cognitive function decline.

A systematic literature review and meta-analysis (including 4 randomized controlled trials, a total of 151 patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease undergoing a lung disease rehabilitation program) pointed out that creatine supplementation can improve exercise capacity, upper and lower limb muscle strength or The effect of health-related quality of life is not obvious.

*Conclusion: For patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease undergoing a lung disease rehabilitation program, oral creatine is not helpful for the improvement of the condition, but it is limited to small sample size, and more studies are still needed to further verify.

6. Creatine reduces the harm caused by sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation can be said to be commonplace for modern people, especially for working women who are busy with getting off work at home and have family and children to work after work. A series of these invisible stresses cause a decline in sleep time and quality.

Dark circles are everyone’s first impression of sleep deprivation. In fact, the harm it brings is not simple. It is known to cause harm to the mind, vigilance, emotions, and ability to handle affairs in the short term. And part of the physiological mechanism behind it may be related to the decrease of creatine concentration in the brain.

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of sleep deprivation found that taking creatine can reduce the emotional, balance, and cognitive impairment caused by sleep deprivation.

Are there any side effects of creatine?

For most people in good health, and used at the appropriate dose, creatine has high safety.

However, possible side effects or adverse reactions that have been reported include stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, muscle cramps, dizziness, dehydration, weight gain (due to muscle water retention), poor heat tolerance, constipation, fever, restlessness, etc. (above These conditions are particularly common in overdose).

In a 21-month study and monitoring of 52 blood and urine biochemical indexes of creatine users, no abnormal side effects were found.

Safety Precautions

1. Do not use during pregnancy and breastfeeding women (because the relevant safety is unknown).

2. Do not use in patients with bipolar disorder (may cause symptoms to worsen).

3. Do not use if the liver and kidney function is poor (may cause symptoms to worsen).

4. If you have Parkinson’s disease and take creatine, please avoid using caffeine at the same time (due to research findings that may make the disease worsen faster).

5. Do not use in combination with nephrotoxic drugs, which may increase the chance of kidney damage. Related common drugs are Cyclosporine, amikacin, gentamicin, tobramycin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: ibuprofen, indomethacin, naproxen, piroxicam, etc.

What is the dosage of creatine?

For the meat-eating group (usually, regular intake of fish and meat), the content of creatine in the muscle is about 60 to 80%.

There are many different dosage schemes to increase reserves. The most widely used is the short-term loading dose or filling period. At this stage, you will ingest a large amount of creatine in a short time to quickly saturate your muscles. , followed by a long-term maintenance dose.

The loading dose (filling period) is generally about 0.3 grams per kilogram of body weight (or 0.136 grams per pound), taking 66 kilograms as an example, 20 grams per day (divided into 4 times, 5 grams each time) for 4 to 7 days.

After the loading dose, the maintenance dose is usually 0.03 grams per kilogram of body weight, taking 66 kilograms as an example, 2 to 5 grams per day to maintain the content of creatine in the muscle.

If you choose not to do a loading dose, you can consume 3 to 5 grams per day, which may take 3 to 4 weeks to maximize reserves.

Please avoid using excessively high doses at one time (which may increase the chance of side effects or adverse reactions), and always read the instructions on the product dosage recommendations.

Where to buy the most recommended creatine?

In recent years, food safety problems in various countries have exploded, and it is not healthy but black-hearted products that everyone spends on. Therefore, European and American products with relatively strict quality control have become popular products.

And iHerb.com is a large-scale medical cosmetics e-commerce company in the United States. It has a high satisfaction rate of 97% in the evaluation of Google customers. It provides global home delivery so that you can buy it without risking buying fakes through purchasing high-quality health products.


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