Creatine made its way to the top of the list of supplements athletes use. Not only does it enhance muscle mass, but it also helps achieve great strength. But is creatine a healthy option for athletes, and are all body types suited for it?
What is Creatine, and Why is It So Popular among Athletes?
Creatine is an amino acid found in muscles and the brain. Different body organs, such as the liver, pancreas and kidneys, produce it in unnoticeable amounts.
Creatine can also be supplied through food such as seafood and red meat. But, once again, although these foods provide us with creatine, the levels are pretty low. That is why many athletes turn to creatine supplements.
This amino acid is beneficial not only to the body but to the mind as well. Some people take creatine supplements orally, in pills, energy bars or powders to treat or decrease the chances of experiencing brain disorders, neuromuscular disorders and other conditions.
But why is creatine so popular among athletes? First, creatine supplements are easily purchasable; the fact that you can find creatine powders, pills or power bars so quickly aided in its rise to the top. Not only is it accessible, but you do not need a doctor’s prescription to buy it. Also, they are easily accessible — drug stores, nutrition stores, supermarkets and the internet.
Creatine has been on the market for more than 30 years, becoming a popular sports supplement over time. Since then, creatine has been primarily used by athletes, such as wrestlers, gymnasts, football players and gym enthusiasts.
What Does Creatine Do?
Athletes use creatine to enhance their strength and muscle mass while aiding post-training recovery. These supplements give the user bursts of energy during high-intensity training or activities such as weight lifting.
Opinions regarding the effects creatine have on the body have been mixed through time. Some professionals think that creatine helps improve performance, while others affirm that there is no evidence to support that creatine aids with durability sports.
Keep in mind that everyone is different. You may find that your muscles do not respond to creatine, but that does not mean it has no effects on other athletes.
Is Creatine Safe Overall?
Only because our body creates creatine does not mean it’s safe. That is why it’s crucial to inform yourself as much as you can before buying creatine supplements. Because the FDA does not label creatine supplements as medication, you may not learn enough about the number of ingredients in some supplements. So, take the time to inform yourself before buying any type of creatine supplement. Consult a professional and learn what quantity is recommended for you.
As with any medication or supplement, adverse effects can occur. With creatine, these cases are pretty rare but not impossible, often occurring when supplements are taken in excess. Possible side effects include:
- Digestive issues;
- Weight management issues;
- Breathing difficulties.
Ideal Candidates for Creatine Supplements
Certain factors must be considered before putting yourself on a creatine supplement plan:
- Caffeine intake can increase the risk of creatine over supplementation.
- People with diabetes and kidney and liver diseases should not interact with creatine supplements.
- Children under 18 and pregnant women should stay away from creatine.
- Medications or treatments you may use can interfere with creatine, creating side effects such as blood sugar problems.
#1: Muscle Mass Improvement
Creatine makes way for new muscle improvement by altering numerous cellular pathways. Also, it encourages protein development, which, in turn, creates new muscle fibers.
However, this is not the only way in which creatine improves muscle mass. Creatine can raise different hormone levels, promoting muscle mass growth.
One study also shows that creatine is responsible for diminishing myostatin levels. Myostatin is a molecule at fault for impairing muscle growth. And so, by reducing myostatin levels in your body, you may build up muscle faster.
Creatine can also aid with the speed at which you build muscle — no wonder it was named the world’s most effective supplement for building mass!
#2: Creatine Improves High-intensity Training Performance
Many athletes use creatine to significantly improve their durability, performance and strength during high-intensity exercises. Creatine helps athletes improve strength and durability, ballistic power, sprint ability, endurance during training, muscle mass and recovery.
These positive effects are not limited only to high-performance athletes. Everyone wishing to improve their bodies through exercise can benefit from creatine supplements!
#3: Aid in Brain Function
It has been shown that creatine can help the brain produce different chemicals, such as dopamine. Because we get our necessary dopamine from red meats, vegetarians find themselves experiencing low levels of it. Therefore, vegetarians should take creatine supplements for better brain health. In the long term, creatine can improve memory and recall while protecting you from neurological diseases!
Questions about Creatine
It is only natural to have questions about this supplement before taking it — you are not the only one. Over the years, many myths, misunderstandings and questions have loomed over creatine, which, fortunately, can easily be debunked, solved and answered.
Is Creatine a Steroid?
Many people wrongly think that creatine supplements are steroids, which is false. Creatine has no link to steroids; it’s completely legal to use and is entirely natural. After all, you can even find the substance in your own body!
Which is Better? Creatine or Whey?
Creatine and whey are both supplements that promote weight and muscle gain, but they differ in how they work. While creatine increases strength and muscle mass by enhancing your exercise capacity, whey protein increases your strength and muscle mass by boosting muscle protein synthesis. You can choose in which way you wish to improve your body, but there isn’t necessarily one better than the other.
Is Creatine Vegan?
Certain types of vegan creatine supplements can be found on the market. Usually, powdered versions of synthetic creatine are more vegan-friendly because capsulated versions of creatine supplements may contain bovine gelatine. Look for the V-Label before purchasing any creatine supplement.
A Parting Reminder
Creatine is a safe supplement that can benefit anyone, especially athletes and professionals. Not only does it help with your muscle mass and the speed with which you build them, but it can also boost brain function and keep you away from neurological disorders. However, remember that before taking creatine supplements, you should consult a specialist and learn if you are healthy enough to do it.