The Benefits of Creatine Supplementation

The Benefits of Creatine Supplementation

According to the Cleveland Clinic, creatine is a natural energy source that the body uses for muscle contraction. While the body’s organs produce creatine, people also get it in their diets from foods like red meat and seafood. Some people also take creatine supplements to enhance health and fitness, and the research shows that they offer numerous benefits. 

Creatine for Building Muscle

Creatine is known for its role in building muscle, and the research supports its use for this purpose. In fact, scientists have known for quite some time that creatine is useful for gaining muscle mass.

In a 1999 study in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, a group of men participating in a weight training program took either a placebo pill or a creatine supplement every day for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, those in the creatine group gained significantly more lean body mass when compared to those taking the placebo, and they had increases in muscle fibers compared to the placebo group. 

Creatine for Fat Loss

Creatine tends to build muscle in males, and for women, it is associated with fat loss. Female lacrosse players participating in a 2000 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research took either a placebo or a creatine supplement each day for 5 weeks while completing fitness conditioning for their sport. Study results showed that women taking creatine lost body fat, per skin fold testing, when compared to those in the control group. As part of a healthy diet and exercise program, creatine can support fat loss. 

Creatine and Strength

In addition to positively impacting body composition, creatine supplementation can improve strength. Researchers writing for a 2003 edition of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research reviewed the results of 22 different studies that compared creatine to a placebo, and they found that when people supplement with creatine during resistance training, their muscular strength, as judged by maximum weight they can lift, increases by 8 percent compared to people taking a placebo. In addition, muscular endurance, as evidenced by the maximum number of repetitions that can be performed, increases by 14 percent in the creatine versus placebo group. Creatine can be useful for building strength when combined with a quality weight lifting program. 

Creatine and Anaerobic Ability

Beyond increasing strength, creatine may improve anaerobic capacity. In a 2003 study in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, male rowers took either creatine or a placebo daily for five days and then completed two rowing exercises. Study results showed that those who took the creatine had an increase in lactate threshold and were able to row longer than those taking the placebo. These results suggest that creatine may improve endurance during intense anaerobic activities like running or rowing.

Creatine During Older Adulthood

Creatine has shown numerous fitness-related benefits, and it may be especially effective among older adults who are prone to a loss of muscle mass as they age. A review of studies with older adults averaging 59 to 70 years of age showed that those who took creatine supplements in addition to lifting weights 2-3 days per week gained significantly more muscle mass and saw significant improvements in leg and chest strength compared to those who took a placebo. This review was published in a 2017 edition of the Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine, and it suggests that creatine can be important for preventing loss of strength and muscle as one ages. 

Based on the available evidence, creatine can increase muscle mass and strength in older adults, and provide benefits to athletes and fitness fanatics by increasing strength, improving endurance, burning fat, and building muscle. Those who are looking to improve strength and fitness should consider including creatine supplements in their diets.

Example of good Creatine Supplements

APS Nutrition Creatine Monohydrate

Creatine Monohydrate – APS Nutrition
5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

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Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals Phosphagen

Phosphagen – Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals
5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

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Allmax Nutrition Creatine Monohydrate

Creatine Monohydrate – Allmax Nutrition
5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

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Universal Creatine

Creatine – Universal
5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

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