The Best Supplement For Strength & Performance
Updated: Jul 14
Creatine is one of the sports supplement industry's most widely studied ergogenic aids. It has decades of evidence supporting its efficacy. It is safe for most healthy people and has very few side effects. It has even been shown to be safe at high doses for long periods. It is the best legal and safe exercise supplement on the market. Primarily it improves high-intensity exercise performance and resistance training outcomes, including strength and hypertrophy. It has an essential role in powering exercise and movement while it also enhances the brain, skeletal system, and hormone regulation.
NOTE: We can seriously debate whether creatine monohydrate is truly the 'best' supplement for strength and performance. The other two top contenders (legal) are caffeine and whey protein. Most people looking for exercise and performance benefits can't go wrong with any or all three. Personally, I mix creatine in my coffee in the morning; and if I can't get sufficient protein from food sources during the day, I will supplement with whey protein (either in shake form or in yogurt).
Creatine is a naturally occurring substance produced by the body in small amounts. It is also found naturally in meat and some fish. Chevreul discovered creatine in 1832, and nearly 100 years later, it was determined that creatine plays a central role in energy production during muscle contraction. In humans, the majority of creatine is stored in skeletal muscle where creatine, phosphocreatine and the enzyme creatine kinase react with adenosine diphosphate, to resynthesize adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
Evidence-based benefits of creatine supplementation:
Helps muscle cells produce more energy - providing more ATP
Increases lean muscle mass
Assists the muscle cells to retain water (muscle cell volumizing effect)
Raises insulin growth factor (IGF-1)
Improves high-intensity exercise performance (weight training & sprint-like activities)
Speeds muscle growth
Creatine may also aid brain function by increasing dopamine levels and mitochondrial function.
Creatine can reduce symptoms of fatigue and tiredness
Creatine is one of the safest sports supplements available
Assists in exercise recovery and faster adaptations
Creatine supplementation might help counteract age-related declines in skeletal muscle and bone mineral density
Helps stimulate muscle protein synthesis
For more info check out: Examine.com clearinghouse of peer-reviewed data and the magnitude of effect of creatine supplementation.
NOTE: Creatine supplementation does have some side effects. The most common side effect is weight gain because creatine causes water retention in the skeletal muscles. Not all people experience this side effect, though it is common to gain 2-7 lbs. Some people also complain about stomach discomfort after taking the supplement. Both of these side effects will disappear once you cease supplementation.
"Creatine plays a pivotal role in brain energy homeostasis, being a temporal and spatial buffer for cytosolic and mitochondrial pools of the cellular energy currency, adenosine triphosphate and its regulator, adenosine diphosphate." Research undertaken by scientists at the University of Sydney and Macquarie University in Australia has shown that taking creatine as a dietary supplement can significantly boost working memory and general intelligence. It is far from being a magic bullet but data is becoming compelling. New research suggests that creatine monohydrate supplementation may positively impact brain function, including improved cognitive processing and better recovery from brain injury. As per usual more human research needs to be done.
Based on an evidence-based scientific evaluation of the literature - Here are answers to concerns about supplementation:
Creatine is not an anabolic steroid and is safe when taken at recommended doses.
Creatine supplementation does not result in kidney damage and/or renal dysfunction in healthy individuals.
There is no link between creatine supplementation and hair loss/baldness.
Creatine supplementation does not cause dehydration or muscle cramping.
Creatine supplementation appears to be generally safe and potentially beneficial for children and adolescents - although more research needs to be done.
Creatine supplementation does not increase fat mass.
Creatine' loading' phase is not required.
Creatine supplementation and resistance training produce considerable musculoskeletal and performance benefits in older adults.
Creatine supplementation can be beneficial for a variety of athletic and sporting activities.
Creatine supplementation provides a variety of benefits for females.
Creatine monohydrate is the most effective creatine supplement.
It is flavorless and easily mixes with water or other beverages.
Creatine is not a compelling performance aid for most endurance-based activities, like marathon running.
Take 3-5g grams daily
Mix in water or other beverage
Do not bother 'loading' creatine
Use creatine monohydrate
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