10 Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of Creatine
Creatine is a substance that naturally occurs in your muscle cells and provides muscle energy during weight lifting or high-intensity workouts. Approximately 95% of the body’s creatine is stored in the muscles, in the form of phosphocreatine.
It is also the top supplement among gym addicts and bodybuilders to gain muscle, enhance strength, and improve workout performance.
There is a very popular misconception about creatine that it is unsafe and has many side effects. However, research does not support these notions. Instead, creatine has been scientifically linked with many health benefits even during pregnancy. So, science highly recommends this multi-tasking supplement to be added to your diet whether or not you are a workout freak.
Here are the scientifically proven health benefits of Creatine that will convince you to include it you your diet regardless of your activity level.
1. Supports muscular Growth
Normally, we tend to lose strength, muscle mass, and bone mass, while increasing body fat as we grow old.
Creatine is very effective for the growth of new muscles and for adding mass to muscles.
It reduces protein degradation. Rather triggers the formation of proteins that assist the formation of new muscle fibers.
Creatine supplementation is also reported to increase the levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), which further increases muscle mass.1
Creatine supplements promote water retention that increases muscle cell swelling, which is considered a key stimulus for muscle growth.3
Additionally, some research also shows that creatine decreases levels of myostatin, which is responsible for stunting muscle growth. Reducing myostatin levels can speed up muscle growth.4
2. Enhance exercise and performance
Creatine supplementation has been reported to increase creatine and Phosphocreatine levels in muscles, giving your muscle cells the capacity to produce more energy in the form of ATP during repeated bouts of exercise.
The more creatine you have in muscles, the more energy your muscle cells can produce during high-intensity workouts for an extended duration. This enhances your workout or sports performance.2
Creatine supplementation of 5 g/day for 3 months in combination with strength training can potentially improve muscle endurance, muscle mass, and strength to perform tasks.9
3. Improves Brain Functioning
Creatine works for the brain by increasing dopamine levels which are responsible for memory coordination, body movements, mood, and consciousness specifically in old age.
A vegetarian diet is often low in creatine than a non-vegetarian diet. There was a study conducted on 45 young vegetarian adults who exhibited 20–50% improvement in memory and intelligence test scores after supplementing with 5g creatine per day for 6 weeks.5
Supplementing creatine for even 2 weeks can significantly boost your memory and thinking skills.
4. Reduces blood sugar levels
Creatine supplementation in combination with regular exercise can enhance insulin secretion and improve glucose tolerance to ingest a standard meal in type 2 diabetes.
Creatine levels in blood speed GULT-4 translocation that further increases glucose uptake into fat and muscle cells, and ends up in a significant reduction in blood glucose levels. 6
5. Improve muscle function and quality of life in older adults
Sarcopenia i.e. degradation of muscle mass and physical strength after the age of 65 is a part of the natural aging process. Muscle strength tends to decline even at a rate of 1.2–1.5% every year even after the age of 50.7 Likewise, muscle mass also declines at a rate of 0.8% every year.
However, creatine supplementation with and without resistance training is reported to have a positive effect on aging and restore muscle strength and mass.8
6. Manage heart disease and recover fatty liver
Adequate levels of Creatine and phosphocreatine in the blood can lower cholesterol levels, triglycerides, and blood lipid levels and prevent blockage in your heart’s arteries may reduce the risk of heart stroke.
Creatine decreases homocysteine levels in blood thereby reducing the risk of heart disease and fatty liver.11
Research has found that creatine supplementation can improve energy availability to the heart, reduce irregular heartbeats, and improve your heart rate.10
It also reduces the homocysteine production in the liver, declining fat accumulation and exhibiting positive effects in improving fatty liver and non-alcoholic liver disease. 12
7. Maintain muscle mass during weight loss
Dieting among adult-onset obese is very common to shed pounds.
If you lose weight too fast by restricting your diet, you’ll end up losing muscle mass and strength.
However, Creatine supplementation while following an energy-restricted diet can be an effective strategy to maintain muscle mass, prevent them from damage, promote fat loss, and help manage adult-onset obesity.
Besides, drinking gallons of water during weight loss becomes imperative. It prevents muscles from breakdown or injury from dehydration during your weight loss.
8. Improves neurological functioning
Low levels of creatine in the brain can cause impairment of neurological functioning. However, Creatine supplementation is reported to reduce or slow down the progression of neurological disorders including Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in both children, and adults.13
9. Safe during pregnancy
Creatine needs of the mother are reported to increase during pregnancy.
Creatine supplementation during pregnancy can promote healthy fetal growth and reduces complications.
10. Skin benefits
Creatine Supplementation can rebuild facial muscles and prevents skin from premature aging. It is also known to exhibit an antioxidant effect and its application on skin can protect skin against a variety of cellular stress conditions, like oxidative and UV damage, which cause premature skin aging, skin sagging and skin damage. 13
Creatine is a very effective supplement to enhance muscle strength with multiple health benefits.
It can Improve muscle function and quality of life in older adults, manage diabetes, reduce heart risk, improve lipid profile, enhance your memory, possess antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties, and even boost your immunity.
What’s best about it is that it is absolutely safe and recommended during pregnancy for healthy fetal growth.
Try adding creatine to your diet regimen to avail of its maximum health benefits.