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An overview of Creatine its uses, benefits and side effects.

Last updated on : 16 May, 2024

Read time : 6 min

Creatine is a nitrogenous organic acid that helps the body’s cells, particularly muscle cells, supply energy. It is a natural substance that the body converts to creatine phosphate. This aids in the formation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Muscle contractions require ATP as an energy source.

It is found naturally in red meat and fish, as well as being produced by the body and supplemented. It contributes to muscle energy production. Skeletal muscle contains approximately 95% of it. It is found in the majority of sports supplements in the United States. People who begin taking this with lower creatine levels appear to benefit more than those who begin with higher levels.

The three amino acids required are L-arginine, L-glycine, and L-methionine. It accounts for roughly 1% of the total volume of human blood. Creatine monohydrate and creatine nitrate are two types of creatine that are used in supplements.

Need

A person requires between 1 and 3 gm of creatine per day. The body synthesises the remaining half, with the rest coming from the diet. Red meat and fish are two food sources. 1 to 2 gm can be found in a pound of raw beef or salmon.

It can provide energy to parts of the body that require it. Supplements are used by athletes to boost their energy levels, improve their athletic performance, and allow them to train harder. To avoid health problems, people who are unable to synthesise it due to a medical condition may need to take 10 to 30 g per day.

Uses

  1. Strength, muscle size and performance-  Oral creatine powder may allow an athlete to put in more effort during reps or sprints, resulting in greater strength, muscle mass, and performance gains. Athletes who engage in high-intensity intermittent activities that require quick recovery during training and competition frequently use it.
  2. Injury prevention- Dehydration, muscle cramping, and damage to the muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons, and nerves can all be reduced by taking oral creatine.
  3. Rare creatine-metabolizing syndromes-  Oral creatine powder may help some symptoms in children with certain creatine deficiency syndromes.
  4. Cognition and brain health-  Supplementing with creatine benefits people to perform better on cognitive tasks, especially those who are older.
  5. Bone health and sarcopenia-  Creatine powder may help to prevent age-related skeletal muscle and bone mineral density declines.
  6. Heart failure- There is insufficient evidence to recommend oral benefits as a treatment for heart failure.
  7. Ageing of the skin- According to preliminary research, applying a cream with this content and other ingredients to the face every day for six weeks may help men’s skin sag and wrinkles. A cream containing folic acid and creatine benefits in reducing sun damage and wrinkles.

Benefits

1. Helps muscle cells produce more energy

Creatine powder helps muscle cells produce more energy by increasing phosphocreatine stores, which allows you to produce more ATP energy to fuel your muscles during high-intensity exercise. It benefits in enhancing effects through this mechanism.

2. Speeds muscle growth

Creatine powder is the world’s most effective supplement for gaining muscle mass. It has been shown that taking it for as little as 5–7 days can significantly increase lean body weight and muscle size. Increases in the water content of your muscles cause this initial rise. It benefits muscle fibre growth by signalling critical biological pathways and improves gym performance over time.

3. Improvement In Brain Function

Its positive effects on brain function and overall neurological health have been studied. Your muscles aren’t the only parts of your body that use ATP. When completing complex tasks, your brain also relies on them. Supplementation can aid in the production of ATP in the brain. It benefits to boost your dopamine levels and improves your mitochondrial function.

4. Defense Against Neurological Disease

Its potential therapeutic use for degenerative neurological diseases has been explored. Neurological disorders have been linked to low phosphocreatine levels in the brain. However, whether or not taking creatine powder can effectively slow or treat the progression of these diseases is still unknown.

5. Improvement In Intense Exercise Performance

To effectively perform short, fast bursts of energy, such as sprinting, ballistic movements, Olympic lifting, a heavy squat, and so on, our muscles rely on a substance called adenosine triphosphate, as a result of our phosphagen energy system. Creatine’s direct effect on ATP production in our muscles can help us create more potentially available ATP, which can help us perform better during short, intense exercises and efforts.

Side effects

It is a relatively safe supplement, with only a few reported creatine side effects. However, keep in mind the following:

  1. Cramps or Dehydration

Its side effects such as Dehydration is observed. It changes the amount of stored water in your body, allowing more water to enter your muscle cells. This fact could explain why some people believe creatine causes dehydration. However, the change in cellular water content is minor, and no evidence of dehydration has been found. Further blood tests revealed no differences in hydration or electrolyte levels, both of which are important in muscle cramps.

  1. Weight Gain

You may gain weight as its side effects if you take this powder because your body’s muscles retain water. It may take seven to 28 days to notice energy effects, depending on how much creatine you already have in your body.

  1. Liver and Kidneys

It can slightly raise creatinine levels in the blood as a Creatine side effect. its levels are frequently checked to rule out kidney or liver problems. The fact that creatine raises creatinine levels does not necessarily imply that it is harmful to your liver or kidneys. If you have a history of liver or kidney problems, you should be cautious about taking creatine powder as it can produce Creatine side effects.

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  1. Digestive Issues

Excessive doses, like many supplements or medications, can cause digestive problems. However, supplements, additives, or pollutants used in the industrial manufacture of creatine may cause problems. When the recommended dosages and loading guidelines are followed, creatine side effects do not cause digestive issues.

  1. Interaction With Other Drugs

Before beginning any diet or supplement regimen, speak with a doctor or other medical professional about your creatine goals. If you are taking any medications that affect liver or kidney function, you should avoid creatine powder supplements. Anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, cyclosporine, aminoglycosides, gentamicin, tobramycin, and others may cause creatine side effects. Creatine can help with blood sugar management, so if you’re taking medication that affects blood sugar, talk to your doctor about taking it. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have a serious condition like heart disease or cancer, you should seek medical advice to avoid the dangers of creatine.

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Our healthcare experts have carefully reviewed and compiled the information presented here to ensure accuracy and trustworthiness. It is important to note that this information serves as a general overview of the topic and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, prevent, or cure any health problem. This page does not establish a doctor-patient relationship, nor does it replace the advice or consultation of a registered medical practitioner. We recommend seeking guidance from your registered medical practitioner for any questions or concerns regarding your medical condition.

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