Creatine is one of the best selling supplements on the market with benefits as a powerful antioxidant promoting both heightened mental and physical energy levels and cognitive improvements in mental performance.
What is Creatine?
Creatine is a natural nitrogenous acid, made from amino acids that the body already produces in the liver and kidneys in small amounts through our diet. It can be found in high protein foods including seafood and red meat.
It is a chemical mostly found in our working muscles and in the brain of all humans and vertebrates and is responsible for providing every cell with energy through the production of ATP.
Once Creatine is consumed, it than turns into creatine phosphate and makes adenosine or ATP. This is a substance used to supply energy to every cell in both the body and the brain where it is needed. Vegetarians may have lower reserves of ATP available due to their diets.
Creatine Monohydrate is considered a non-essential nutrient, since the body can produce it in small amounts. However, there are many believed beneficial effects of regulated ATP energy production in both the body and brain.
Creatine is used by many athletes due to the increase in demand for this nutrient by the muscles. From a cognitive perspective, many people also find Creatine to be very effective at improving mental energy, boosting brain function and additionally protecting the brain.
Benefits of Creatine for the Body
The most sought after effect of Creatine, is it’s potential ability to produce energy in working muscles at a faster rate. This helps to increase physical performance and endurance, especially for all types of strength training and even muscle mass.
Taking Creatine supplements increases Creatine phosphate stores in the body that will give you more energy when you need it.
It is thought to increase lean muscle mass and strength and also to help the muscles recover faster while exercising. This allows for the ability to train longer and more intensely.
For this reason, it is commonly used by athletes, body builders and people who are physically active to achieve bursts of energy, lean mass and enhance performance.
Research is currently being studied on whether it may help certain health conditions that are related to muscle weakness including ALS, heart attacks and Huntington’s.
It may also reduce muscle pain for people suffering from osteoarthritis and conditions related to chronic muscular pain.
Benefits of Creatine for the Brain
In terms of cognition and brain health, the main function of Creatine, is to help produce more energy into the cells which also applies to the brain. It is thought to increase the energy stores in the brain which is needed since the brain uses up to 20% of our total daily energy just to fuel our neurons.
There has been a lot of research done on Creatine. It is not only believed to be a safe supplement but may have neuroprotective properties which can lead to improving brain cell health and enhancing mental energy.
Supplementation or food sources of Creatine absorb into the blood stream and cross the blood-brain barrier entering the brain. Once there, it binds to phosphate and creates phosphocreatine. This is an energy storage which creates ATP, a molecule that transports energy where it is needed.
When we are having to think intensely, levels of phosphocreatine drop, using up that storage. Which means, we may need to use the reserves that are left or create more storage to continue to think effectively. This whole process is thought to boost and improve brain efficiency.
This may allow your brain to function at optimal levels, fueled with energy and provide an anti-aging brain effect. It is also thought to enhance oxygen to the brain which may help to reduce mental exhaustion.
When ATP is increased, it is also thought that less toxic damage occurs to the brain. This is one of the reasons why Creatine is considered a neuroprotectant.
For the brain, Creatine is used to increase mental clarity, mental performance and neural health.
Creatine Side Effects
In general, Creatine is well tolerated and considered safe to take with mild side effects if any. Reported possible side effects, in rare cases, have been diarrhea, anxiety, fever, potential weight gain, headaches and rashes. It is not recommended for people under the age of 18 while bones are still growing.
It is always recommended to take a supplement at the proper dosage. In some cases, over usage, taking too much or taking it for too long of a period of time can cause potential side effects.
Although not confirmed, Creatine in high doses has been associated with potential harm to the kidneys. If you currently have issues related to kidneys or taking medications that effect the kidneys, it may increase this risk and this supplement is recommended to be avoided.
Also, many different types of this supplement are sold. It is recommended to not choose one that contains heavy metals that are contaminants. Make sure you to check that it is contaminate free.
If you have any questions, it is recommended to speak with your doctor first before taking it.
The most common dosage is between 2g-5g per day. Dosages vary a lot when it comes to Creatine and depending on what you are taking it for, the range can be anywhere between 200mg-25g per day for some people.
For people considering this supplement for athletic performance, many different dosing levels have been taken. However, many users take Creatine while including a loading and maintenance phase. Typically, this can be 10g-30g per day for the first 5-7 days to saturate the muscles. After that, maintenance can range between 2g-5g per day.
Also, Creatine in liquid form has been considered non effective and wears off fast. A better option is powder form or capsules taking twice daily. Once in the morning and once in the afternoon for cognitive effect or once before a workout and once after within the daily recommended dosages.
It should be taken with a meal to avoid diarrhea or stomach cramps.
Creatine is a naturally occurring organic compound and a popular supplement used to enhance physical output and strength for bodybuilders and others who engage in demanding exercise routines. Naturally, this can also be effective by eating healthy foods that fuel your body.
Many users say it improves energy levels, muscle size and relief from muscle soreness. Creatine is mostly found in red meat and vegetarians may benefit greatly by adding this to their daily supplement regimen.
Cognitively, some users say Creatine greatly improves mental clarity and focus and may delay mental fatigue after exhausting mental activity. This supplement is known to enhance the energy supply to both the body and the brain cells and may additional even improve your neural health.
Creatine is mostly used for it’s power providing effects on physical performance. It may not be a fast acting Nootropic taken on it’s own but may be a good option for physical output while potentially protecting the brain and for adding in combination with other Nootropics to enhance energy output.