1. Creatine is a safe and well researched supplement
2. Creatine can be used to increase lean muscle (not just body weight)
3. You don’t “lose” your gains when you come off creatine
4. Creatine builds fatigue resistance in sport and activity
5. Creatine can improve performance in both males and females
6. Creatine can improve hydration leading to less cramping
7. Creatine is now being used to assist mental fatigue and numerous other age-related diseases
Creatine monohydrate is one of the most researched supplements on the market today. It is undoubtedly one of the must have products in any athletes kit bag. It is suggested that up to 75% usage in some sports, namely football (team sports), soccer and track & field use creatine to enhance athletic performance.
In a landmark study in 1992, Professor Roger Harris demonstrated that oral creatine supplementation can enhance muscle creatine stores, thereby resulting in resistance to fatigue and increased lean body mass. However creatine can also influence recreational athletic performance and age-related diseases not limiting to use by just elite athletes.
Since the majority of creatine is stored in skeletal muscle, dietary creatine supplementation has traditionally been important for athletes and bodybuilders to increase the power, strength, and mass of the skeletal muscle. However, new uses for creatine have emerged suggesting that it may be important in preventing or delaying the onset of neurodegenerative diseases associated with aging. On average, 30% of muscle mass is lost by age 80, while muscular weakness remains a vital cause for loss of independence in the elderly population. In light of these new roles of creatine, the dietary supplement’s usage has been studied to determine its efficacy in treating congestive heart failure, gyrate atrophy, insulin insensitivity, cancer, and high cholesterol. In relation to the brain, creatine has been shown to have antioxidant properties, reduce mental fatigue, protect the brain from neurotoxicity, and improve facets/components of neurological disorders like depression and bipolar disorder. The combination of these benefits has made creatine a leading candidate in the fight against age-related diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, long-term memory impairments associated with the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, and stroke (Smith et. al. (2014) A Review of creatine supplementation in age-related diseases: more than a supplement for athletes. F1000Research).
Further to this, women who don’t want the desired weight gain but demand the most of their workouts are finding that taken differently to the traditional loading doses, they are able to enhance fatigue resistance in the absence of weight-gain.
Traditional loading protocols have usually been about 20-25g/day for 5-7 days. An proposed lower dosage of 2-5g/day for 36 days still elevated muscle creatine stores but did not affect body mass. This is promising for athletes who like to keep their weight stable but still need the performance enhancement (Rawson et. al. (2010) Low-Dose creatine supplementation enhances fatigue resistance in the absence of weight gain. Nutrition).
Further to this, creatine has now also been shown to aid with hydration. This makes its potential use during the hot months more valuable. There are suggestions that it may actually have a positive influence on core temperature and heart rate response (Sobolewski et. al (2011). The physiological effects of creatine supplementation on hydration: A review. Physical Activity).
Creatine has become an all-round supplement that is safe to use in both adult men and women of all ages to improve different aspects of performance.