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Supplement Spotlight: Creatine

Updated: Jun 6, 2023

A high powered brain and body booster


Creatine was once a hotly debated topic in the health and fitness community.


Creatine is naturally present in food, especially rich in red meat as well as other animal foods. It has been a favorite of bodybuilders for decades for its benefits on athletic performance and recovery, but it's also worth taking for its energy and mental benefits. Creatine even has some anti-aging effects, especially for our muscles. Keep reading to find out more.


Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. That means that if you purchase something by clicking the link, I earn a small commission from the company, at no cost to you. I only recommend items that I have researched and tried myself, and recommend to clients in my practice.


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Benefits of Creatine

Best Dose for Creatine

Sourcing Creatine


 

Benefits of Creatine


1. Boosts Mental and Physical Energy​


Creatine helps our mitochondria, the powerhouses of our cells.


We use ATP similar to a rechargeable battery, and Creatine literally speeds up the recharging process.


For more info, click here.



 

2. Sports Performance

Creatine is best known for it's ability to boost sports performance.

This includes:

• Increased anaerobic threshold

• Enhancement of aerobic capacity

• Increased work capacity

• Increased single and repetitive sprint performance

• Greater training tolerance


 

3. Faster Muscle Recovery


Creatine speeds up workout recovery, improves glycogen replenishment, increases muscle mass and gives faster strength gains.






 

4. Prevents Injury

Creatine improves hydration; especially in the muscles, which prevents muscle cramps and reduces the risk of muscular injuries while exercising.


The injury protection extends to joints, bones, and nerves.




 

5. Helps Maintain the Brain​

Creatine improves symptoms in:


 

6. Anti-Aging for Bones and Muscles



Creatine has an anti-aging effect on skeletal muscle, helping to maintain and increase muscle mass as well as reducing muscle fatigue in older adults. It also protects bones, possibly by energizing bone building cells.



 

7. Antioxidant



Creatine functions as an antioxidant, helping to combat inflammation and aging.


This explains part of it's promise as a cancer protective agent. ⬇️




 

8. Anti-Cancer Benefits






 

9. Lowers High Blood Sugar


Creatine speeds up Glucose Transporter type 4 (GLUT-4), a molecule that moves blood sugar into your muscles.


The faster sugar gets out of the blood, the lower the risk of Diabetes.


 

10. Protects Developing Babies



The results are still preliminary, but Creatine is showing promise in protecting fetal and neonate brains as well as better growth and development when their mothers consume Creatine.




 

11. Heart Health Booster

Creatine supplementation lowers triglycerides and improves our heart's energy reserves, and improves how well the heart contracts - making it useful for heart disease and heart failure.


Creatine also improves our microvascular circulatory system (the tiny capillaries)


 

Dosing


Studied and recommended Creatine dosing is 5 grams per day.


Some bodybuilders will do a temporary "Loading Phase" where they consume up to 20 grams daily for 2 weeks to maximize Creatine levels faster, then reduce to the 5 grams per day.

If you do the 5 grams daily instead of a loading dose, your blood levels will hit the maximum in 3-4 weeks. Side effects with higher (15-20g) doses can occur, mainly bloating and digestive upset.



Dose Timing:


Taking creatine before your workout will help more with performing in the workout itself, while taking it after will maximize recovery and prep for the next workout.


You can also take it just for the mental and energy benefits by adding it to your morning drink. (You are drinking something in the morning, right?)

 

Sourcing


Always make sure Creatine or any supplement you purchase comes from a facility certified in at least one of the following: GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices), FDA registered, USP (United States Pharmacopeia), QAI (Quality Assurance International) or NSF (National Sanitation Foundation).

Creatine is tasteless, but doesn't dissolve easily in liquids and tastes like beach sand if you get the regular granules in your mouth.


Look for Micronized Creatine, which has been ground to a fine powder that mixes much more easily in liquids, especially warm water.



My favorite is Bulk supplements due to how pure and affordable they are, but sometimes you can find better deals on micronized creatine when new sellers first launch on Amazon - just look at the price per ounce to compare them.


 


Interactions


Caffeine

Large amounts of caffeine - over 300 mg (about 3 cups of coffee), may make Creatine less effective.


People with genetic risk for Parkinson's - specifically the GRIN2A T allele - may experience faster progression of Parkinson's with combined Creatine and over 300 mg daily of Caffeine.


 

Is it Safe?


Verdict: Safe


Creatine is one of the oldest and most studied supplements in the supplement industry, and is quite safe. It is naturally occurring, with minimal side effects and very few medication interactions when taken in appropriate amounts. High doses larger than those listed above should be done under the supervision of a health practitioner. Always check with your health care provider before starting any supplement, especially if you are taking prescription meds.


 

Special note for CKD Patients: Creatine can temporarily raise Creatinine levels in a kidney function panel, but this is harmless. Creatine may even be of particular benefit for CKD patients.


However, since you want to get an accurate reading, stop any Creatine supplement 3 days before a blood draw - and don't forget to double check with your provider on the prescription meds!


 


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