Creatine is among the most popular supplements for improving gym performance. It is a substance that has been naturally derived from muscle cells with the intention to help muscles produce energy during various high-intensity physical activities. Several factors influence the formation and storage of Creatine in the body, such as the intake of meat, exercising, the amount of one’s muscle mass, as well as testosterone and IGF-1 levels (Mawer). The major claims of Creatine supplementation are that it can facilitate an improvement in muscle strength, exercise stamina, increase muscle mass, as well as provide protection against neurological diseases. Overall, Creatine is likely to be safe for the majority of people when taken for up to eighteen months (“Creatine Side Effects”).
Moreover, doses of up to ten grams per day taken for up to five years have also been safe (“Creatine Side Effects”). However, research by Antonio et al. has shown that despite the overarching concerns that the supplement may result in kidney damage, no substantial and up-to-date evidence is available to support the hypothesis (3). In addition, most studies studying the possible toxicity of the supplement were inconclusive. Therefore, the concerns raised regarding the supplementation with Creatine are myths.
As to the supplement’s functioning in the body, when a person uses it, it helps the body to produce a high-energy molecule, ATP, which helps perform better during strenuous activity. In addition, Creatine can help modify several cellular processes in the body that lead to increased muscle mass, strength, and improved recovery. The ability to prolong exercise stamina and facilitate muscle development is also promoted through increased cell hydration. Creatine lifts water content within the muscle cells in the body, causing the volumizing of cells and, as a result, increased muscle growth. Besides, supplementing with Creatine can reduce the levels of protein myostatin, which slows or sometimes inhibits the growth of muscles and increases the potential for growth instead.
Naturally, Creatine is a substance that is found in flesh and can be acquired through consuming a diet that is rich in meat, fish, and other animal-derived products such as dairy. Because all cells need to function correctly, the body makes its own. It is notable that a diet containing animal products can constitute 50% of a daily requirement for Creatine while the rest of the 50% is being produced by the body on its own (Dickinson and Ellery). If one chooses the supplement, the price range for Creatine is diverse, varying from $8.99 for 120 servings of the supplement by Ronnie Coleman to $29.99 for 150 servings by Rule 1 R1. Thus, depending on the dosage and serving needs, it is possible to find an affordable option for Creatine supplementation.
Finally, if a friend tells me that they want to take Creatine, they will get a generally positive response. Specifically, if the friend does not consume large amounts of meat, fish, or dairy to guarantee the needed levels of the substance in the body, Creatine may be beneficial to them. Important questions that I will ask them to include “Do you feel that your muscle strength needs help from supplementation?”, “Have you been struggling with your stamina during exercises?”, “Have you considered increasing fish, meat, and dairy intake for muscle strength?”, and “Have you discussed taking Creatine long-term with your healthcare provider?”
Antonio, Jose, et al. “Common Questions and Misconceptions About Creatine Supplementation: What Does the Scientific Evidence Really Show?” Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition, vol. 18, no. 13, 2021.
“Creatine Side Effects.” Webmd, 2020, Web.
Dickinson, Hayley, and Stacey Ellery. “Creatine: What Is It and Should We Supplement Our Diets with It?” The Conversation, 2016, Web.
Mawer, Rudy. “Creatine 101 — What Is It and What Does It Do?” Healthline, 2018, Web.