The most common question about this supplement is “What does Creatine do?”.
It is, in fact, one of the most researched sports nutrition supplements in the world, with numerous Creatine benefits proven by over two hundred different scientific studies conducted by various universities and research centers around the world.
Whether you are someone who’s just getting into the fitness lifestyle or if you have been going at it for a long time – the chances are that you’ve already heard about this white chemical powder.
Before we explain exactly what it does – the most important fact you need to know about it is that it’s completely safe when consumed by healthy adults, at proper doses, and with proper hydration, even for very extended periods of time.
The other things that you need to know about it are what we’re going to discuss in this article: all of the benefits of Creatine powder, what it does to your body, the results that it provides and the various safety facts that you should know before consuming it.
This supplement has proven to be an indispensable addition to any serious weightlifter’s and bodybuilder’s dietary arsenal, and you are going to find out exactly why that is.
What Does Creatine Do – The Explanation
The short and compact version is that it provides your muscles with extra energy, making them stronger.
The long version is much more complex than that:
First of all, you need to know what it is, before you can learn what it does.
This may get a little bit technical, so bear with us.
Creatine is a natural substance that is present in the skeletal muscles of almost all vertebras.
It is a small peptide, meaning that it’s a structure which is composed of amino acids. These amino acids are L-Arginine, Methionine, and Glycine.
These three make up a molecule which can rapidly produce energy that fuels the primary energy machines in your muscles called Adenosine Triphosphates (ATP).
Adenosine Triphosphates are high energy molecules that have three bound phosphates, which release massive amounts of energy when broken.
That energy is used to fuel burst muscle contractions in the body and to support various cellular functions.
This means that in order to have more energy, those phosphates bound to ATPs must be replenished!
Creatine’s job in the body is exactly that – to replenish those phosphates to keep ATP running for longer, thus providing you with all of the energy that you need to finish your workout!
So what does Creatine do to your body? In layman’s terms, it is basically used for increasing the available fuel to power your muscles
The logic is pretty simple: if you use this supplement – your body will have more Creatine phosphate, meaning that the ATPs will be able to provide more energy.
Those who don’t want to get more technical can skip directly to the next headline – the main benefits of Creatine powder!
Otherwise, here’s the whole Creatine-ATP energy cycle:
When your body undergoes intense physical activity, there is an increasing demand for energy.
According to the University of California, Santa Barbara – When the third phosphate is removed from ATP, you get ADP, which stands for Adenosine Di Phosphate. With just 2 phosphates left, the molecule has much less chemical energy, because the high-energy bond between the last 2 phosphates has been broken.
When you then introduce Creatine Phosphate (CP) into the mix, it reforms the bond by adding another phosphate molecule onto adenosine diphosphate(ADP) to form adenosine triphosphate(ATP), thus turning ADP back to ATP.
That way the energy cycle can continue again, as long as the body has a sustained source of Creatine Phosphate.
There is an even more complex and in-depth explanation, but we don’t want to bore our readers to death.
The 6 Main Benefits of Taking Creatine
So now that we know what this white supplement powder is used for and what it does to your body, let’s talk about the Creatine Monohydrate benefits specifically.
1 – It Increases Overall Strength, Muscle Volume and Growth
According to the scientific study titled “Effect of Creatine loading on anaerobic performance and skeletal muscle volume in NCAA Division I athletes” this supplement has been proven to increase both muscle strength and volume in athletes who have used consumed it during their exercise sessions.
It also indirectly increases overall muscle growth.
The reason it is indirect is that the chemical itself does nothing for muscle growth. But because a person who’s using this supplement can perform for much longer than normal and as a result have more powerful and intensive workout sessions – increased muscle growth becomes the outcome.
2 – It Increases the Body’s Resting Testosterone Levels
Not only does it increase the resting testosterone levels in the body, but it also converts it into a more bio-available form called Dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This form has approximately 5 to 10 times more potency than regular testosterone form!
According to this study about Creatine results – After taking the supplement for a week, men who were resistance training had substantially higher testosterone levels than they did at baseline and also when compared to those who did similar weightlifting training, but took a placebo.
And not only that, the levels of cortisol hormone (catabolic stress hormone) in men who were taking Creatine powder were also significantly reduced!
3 – It Improves Mental Acuity and Enhances Brain Function
According to this study, which was a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial, Creatine Monohydrate significantly improved the brain function and performance of people who took it for longer than a week.
That is entirely unsurprising because one of the main components that makes up this white powder is the amino acid called Glycine.
Glycine is famous for its nootropic effects which improve blood flow to the brain, improve memory, sleep, mood and overall brain function. It also helps regulate certain hormones, blood sugar levels, and is even used in the treatment of several neurobehavioral disorders!
However, it’s not just Glycine that does the job. The study above also shows that the brain requires a large amount of ATP energy when performing challenging and complex tasks, just like a muscle!
4 – It Provides you with Greater Productivity and Performance
This particular one of all the Creatine benefits is pretty self-explanatory since we have already explained what this substance does to your body.
Since you are fueling ATPs in your muscles and getting more energy to fuel your various activities – be they physical or mental – you will be able to do more work than usual.
It is especially useful when performing short bursts of high-intensity exercises, for example weight-lifting, because the primary energy system that being used during this type of activity is the phosphocreatine system.
5 – It Improves Your Explosive Strength Capability
This study shows that Creatine powder supplementation can improve high-intensity exercise performance by 5 to 15%!
This happens due to the improved strength and ballistic power capabilities of the muscles, meaning that short contractions over minuscule periods of time become much more powerful than usual.
Another study shows that this substance also improves a person’s sprint ability – letting you sprint for longer!
This makes the fabled white supplement powder the world’s best supplement specifically for high-intensity interval training.
And the best part is – you will get these benefits regardless of your fitness level and athletic ability!
6 – It Reduces Fatigue and aids in Recovery
So what more is Creatine good for? Well, yet another study shows that when taken orally, it reduces exercise-induced fatigue and improves muscle recovery in various athletes.
It does so by helping your body’s cells preserve glucose for later use, staving off the effects fatigue for much longer than usual.
And as mentioned above, Creatine is partly made up of the amino acid Glycine, which is also known to help fight off fatigue, especially in sleep-deprived individuals.
It also helps with muscle and injury recovery, especially after strenuous physical workouts.
According to the Journal of Physiology:
“Research at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium showed that when creatine was consumed in doses ranging from 20 grams per day to 5 grams per day during a 10-week rehabilitation program of a broken leg, when compared to a placebo it aided in faster recovery of muscle mass and fitness.”
So now you can see that the benefits of Creatine Monohydrate are enormous when it comes to your health and your training!
And these are just the main ones! There are many others such as water retention for bigger mass, better pump and vasodilation, and so on!
So if you’re still interested in finding out about all the other health benefits and uses of Creatine, especially the various reasons to take it, you can read about it further at What is Creatine and The 6 Main Reasons to Take it.
We also have an article which explains the dosage in detail, as well as the best times to take this amazing supplement, at How and When to Take Creatine Powder Supplements. You gain the best Creatine results when you take it at a proper dose!
The benefits of taking Creatine Monohydrate and all its other forms are enormous! However, if you feel that some of your questions were left unanswered, we urge you to read a more complete article on it at Creatine Supplements Guide: Advice, Side Effects, Benefits.
That guide will show you more facts about it, will tell you about all of the seven different types, the potential side effects if you misuse it, the proper dosage and best time to take it, plus a couple of other very useful to know things.
So we hope we’ve answered all your questions, such as “What is Creatine used for and what is it good for?” as well as given you an informative explanation about all of its benefits.
If you want to find out which supplements are currently the best in the world, check out the 10 Best Creatine Supplements: The Top List and The Top 5 Creatine Supplements For Women. There you will be able to see what the best manufacturers in the business have to offer and choose the one that suits you and your goals best!
So what do you personally think about this supplement and all of the benefits that it can provide you with?
The fact is that there are many other health and training benefits when it comes to supplementing yourself with Creatine, apart from the six that we’ve mentioned.
That’s because each and every amino acid that comprise this molecule – L-Arginine, Methionine, and Glycine – have their own sets of effects and benefits, meaning that we could go on and on, but only choose to present the most relevant ones.
Since this supplement is so prevalent in the industry and the diets of most weightlifters, many people have already tried it and used it, and are enjoying the excellent Creatine benefits – but what about you?
Let’s meet in the comment section below where we can start a discussion and see what you think about this white powder!
Train hard and get stronger!