When it comes to creatine benefits, for decades, the fitness and bodybuilding community has counted on creatine supplements to amplify their physical performance. This tasteless, crystalline powder has many beneficial properties, making it a practical addition to endurance training, weight training, and mental acuity.

By taking this substance regularly, you can get extra reps on each set. So, you achieve more power, toughness, and muscle. It is one of the body’s fundamental sources of energy for muscle contraction. People use it to take their muscle mass and fitness performance to the next level.

Creatine Benefits

Of course, creatine alone can’t give you a ripped physique. But, it can give you the capability to train hard and make the most of every physical activity. Here is a close-up of all the creatine benefits for men and women for health and athletic performance.

How Do Athletes Take Creatine?

The closest to pure creatine monohydrate, the better. It has the best research support, safety record, and efficiency. Many products on the market offer a “proprietary blend”. These products feature different creatine forms, which tend to be less efficient and not as well tested.

The quickest and most efficient way of increasing muscle creatine stores is to take 5 g of creatine monohydrate 4 times a day for 5 to 7 days. That means 0.3 g per kg a day. Some reports indicate that taking 2 to 3 g creatine a day for 30 days can be beneficial for increasing muscle creatine stores. (1)

The standard creatine dose recommendation is 3 to 5 g a day. Either option could be sufficient. But, the dosage can vary. For example, people under 120 pounds usually take 3 g of creatine. Those between 121 to 200 pounds opt for 5 g. And individuals over 200 pounds are often using 8 g.

Tip: You can obtain around half of the daily creatine needs from your diet. For example, 1 pound of salmon and uncooked beef offers roughly 1 to 2 g of creatine. (2)

Creatine Benefits for Men and Women

Better power output, muscle, and endurance – this is what makes creatine stand out. Few supplements that offer substantial results can live up to the hype and impact of creatine. Since almost every bodybuilder has incorporated some form of creatine in their diet, it’s essential to talk about the benefits of creatine monohydrate. That way you can see exactly what made it so mainstream.

1. Creatine Helps Build Muscle

One of the key creatine benefits for men is that the substance raises water content in the muscle cells. This causes a cell-volumization effect, which could aid in building muscle. So, how to build muscle with creatine the right way? Take it alongside heavy resistance training. When you pair that with proper protein and energy intake, you can stay on the right track. (3)

Research backs up the effectiveness of creatine monohydrate as a notable ergogenic nutritional supplement. Athletes can use it to amplify their lean body mass and exercise capacity during training. But, if you leave the protein intake out of the picture, you can’t reap the results. (4)

How much protein to eat with creatine? To maximize the anabolic effects, people often take 3 to 5 g of creatine. Do have in mind that bodybuilders typically need 1.4 to 1.7 g of protein per kg a day. But for optimizing the response for a major portion of athletes who need to build muscle mass, 2.2 g per kg might be necessary. (5)

2. Reduces Muscular Fatigue

Do you have a hard time moving the muscles after a long workout session? After a vigorous activity, it is normal to feel drained and exhausted. You can’t keep up with the desired power output. The dull ache is hindering your physical performance. That’s where creatine supplementation comes into play.

Creatine supplements can curb the impact of muscle fatigue after exercise on the lower body. It can help your muscles recover sooner. So, how does creatine help with muscle recovery? The product provides the central nervous system with a boost in dopamine levels and energy. Thus decreasing the symptoms of tiredness and fatigue. (6)

The creatine benefits for women were studied among athletes who took a cycling test. When exercising in high heat, the substance helped reduce fatigue. These reports suggest that 5 days of creatine loading in women could be efficient for slowing down the onset of neuromuscular fatigue when cycling. (7)

3. Increases Muscular Endurance

Improving muscular endurance for athletes and fitness enthusiasts remains a top priority. That’s because building muscle endurance can help you: 

  • maintain better stability and posture for a longer time
  • amplify athletic performance in endurance-based activities (i.e. cycling, running, skiing, etc)
  • better the aerobic capacity of muscles
  • improve your ability to lift heavy objects

When it comes to supplying the body with performance-enhancing properties, creatine seems to be the jack of all trades. With supplementation, you can boost your phosphocreatine stores. This is providing the system with the ability to increase ATP energy.

Thus, fueling the muscles during high-intensity training. Although it may not work for everyone the same way, it seems to be a generally efficient ergogenic aid for muscle fatigue and performance.

Tip: In high-intensity workouts, creatine supplementation can boost strength or maximal power by up to 15%. Taking supplementation during training can offer drastically better fat-free mass, performance, and strength results. (8)

4. Improves Recovery From Injuries

About 33 million musculoskeletal injuries are reported every year across the United States. 50% of which involve ligament and tendon injuries. Anyone can have tendon injury – not just athletes. Any kind of motion at work, at home, or when doing sports can damage a tendon. (9)

According to clinical trials, one of the notable creatine benefits is that supplementation alongside therapeutic strategies can help speed up the recovery of the injured ligaments and tendons. To top it all off, oral creatine supplementation when used in the most severe training periods, could prevent overuse injury. This can be highly beneficial for those who like to avoid injuring their tendons or ligaments. (10)

The good thing is, that you can take creatine monohydrate with just about anything. Even milk – if you are not lactose intolerant. Dairy products, like milk, cottage cheese, and yogurt are an excellent post-exercise fuel. Since they have chock-full of protein, they can supply the system with all the nutrients it needs for speedy muscle repair.

But, for many, milk is not the beverage of choice with creatine. Mainly because of the taste. Creatine is mostly used in protein shakes, yogurt, and lemonade. The best drink to mix creatine is with water. If you want to make it more exciting, you can use sparkling water and a tiny bit of blueberry extract.

Tip: Don’t mix creatine with coffee or caffeinated sports drinks. Caffeine can make it downright taxing for the body to make use of the creatine benefits. And mixing creatine with a caffeinated drink could increase the odds of dehydration.

5. Can Improve Brain Function

Creatine might be a practical supplement for a noteworthy boost in brain power. Research indicates that increased creatine intake improved brain function. Experts claim that supplementation correlates with reduced mental fatigue and better recognition memory. In other words, creatine can have a significant and dynamic role in impacting brain performance. (11)

On another note, a significant factor in many neurological ailments is the drop of phosphocreatine in the brain. Because creatine supplements can amplify these levels, there is a chance that supplementation could decrease or slow ailment progression.

Therefore, creatine might aid with Huntington’s disease, ischemic stroke, spinal or brain cord injuries, and Alzheimer’s disease. However, more large-scale and human studies are necessary to confirm these results.

When to Take Creatine?

Most athletes and fitness enthusiasts have a preference for when to use creatine. For many, it’s ideal to use it half an hour before physical activity. If your muscles are healing and growing, you can include creatine in your post-workout meal or recovery shake.

It’s fine to use it whenever you believe has the most benefit. Pick the time that feels best for your body. If it’s making you feel sick when you take it first thing in the morning, use it after a workout. When you find the perfect timing, you can create a more comfortable experience.

How Soon Can Creatine Offer Results?

It depends on how much creatine you are using. Most people take 5 g a day, which is the most scientifically supported monohydrate creatine dosage. To ensure faster results, you need a top-quality creatine monohydrate.

Naturally, the body is producing around 2 g of creatine a day. By the end of the day, you will use it up for energy, which will get restored again. The muscle cells in the human body have their creatine reserves. These tend to be roughly 60% to 80% full.

Now, you can’t expect to see results until the muscles are completely saturated with creatine. When you are using creatine supplementation, you make sure those reserves are filled up. So, if you are training hard, eating well, and using creatine, you can notice results in about a month.

The muscles can slightly get bigger and you can manage to do a couple of extra reps. What makes creatine supplementation useful is that the extra strength you are getting from it can help you put in the extra work and build more muscle. If you, by any chance, stop taking creatine, it won’t show right away.

In the first 1 to 2 weeks, you won’t be able to lift as heavy as you used to. This won’t be a drastic loss in strength, but just enough to make it difficult to keep up with the exercises. In a month or so of not using creatine, you might lose all that extra muscle you gained while exercising. This is something to have in mind when planning your workout routine.

Creatine Side Effects

Just like any product out there, people have reported experiencing side effects with creatine use. Although there are a lot of scientifically supported benefits, it’s a good idea to know how supplementation can negatively affect the body. Some people experience problems with digestion. Including:

Contact a healthcare professional if you are noticing fluttering in the chest or quickened breathing. If there is a swollen tongue, throat lips, and face, this could be a red flag for an allergic reaction. Before you purchase any creatine supplement, it’s best to talk to a general healthcare practitioner. You shouldn’t use the product if you have diabetes, kidney disease, or heart problems. As well as if you are allergic to any of the ingredients in a creatine supplement.

FAQ

  • Is creatine a steroid?

No. Creatine has nothing to do with steroids. Creatine is a completely natural substance present in foods and the human body. Creatine is an organic compound, while anabolic steroids are synthetic versions of testosterone.

  • Is creatine a drug?

Creatine is a popular dietary supplement that you can find in the form of tablets, powder, drink mixes, and energy bars. You can get this natural substance without a prescription. But, it is still a good idea to talk to a doctor or nutritionist before you add it to your diet. That way, you can avoid a potential drug interaction.

  • Does creatine make you bald?

Creatine is a popular target for misconceptions and rumors, which is why many think it can make people bald. In reality, current research doesn’t show that taking creatine supplements causes baldness or hair loss. If you don’t have a family history of male pattern baldness. And if you can manage your stress and testosterone effectively, then you don’t have to worry about it. (12)

Conclusion

We hope you’ve enjoyed this article on the subject of creatine benefits. For those who want to revamp their physical performance and fitness routine, creatine can make for a worthy addition to their dietary regimen. But, don’t expect this product to be a magic pill. To notice results, you would still need to pay attention to what you eat and how much you exercise. When you put in the work with creatine, you can notice a boost in muscle growth and strength.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7910963/
  2. https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-017-0173-z
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8949037/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2048496/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6680710/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5707641/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18039377/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12701815/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5549180/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5950745/
  11. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/08/030813070944.htm

About the Author: Jason Chapman

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Jason Chapman has a degree in Exercise Science and is a personal trainer with 10+ years of experience in fitness and strength coaching. Jason spends his time with BodyCapable researching the latest strength training trends and writing science-backed, informative content. Jason likes to spend his spare time hiking, traveling, and of course training!