What is creatine?
Creatine is a naturally produced body acid found within the skeletal muscle of the vertebrates. It is produced predominantly within the liver and kidneys from amino acids L-arginine, glycine and L-methionine.
Generally, the creatine found in our bodies is derived from the foods we consume, although it can also be acquired from specific supplementation.
Due to creatine’s capacity to deliver energy when required, it is predominantly used by sportsmen to increase their ability to rapidly generate energy, therefore enhancing performance and allowing an even higher intensity of training.
What are the benefits of taking creatine?
Creatine is commonly used amongst sportspeople due to the results produced during high-intensity training. When used in supplementation, the chemical promotes energy production within the body; with more energy, the greater ability to perform during intense training leading to increased muscle strength and size. The increase in muscle size ‘fullness’ and strength is caused by creatine drawing water from within the muscle cells. This increase further promotes the muscle cells to increase the proficiency with which protein is utilised by the body.
Creatine can also cushion lactic acid; the build-up or ‘burn’ felt during intense training may be dulled, potentially assisting with more reps of the activity or exercise.
There are several benefits of creatine to training, including training for elderly athletes too. Below are a few of the main benefits of supplementing with creatine:
- An increase in muscle fibre size (hypertrophy)
- Improves maximal strength and power
- Enhances brain power and activity
- Enhances bone regeneration
- Improves recovery post endurance training
- Promotes greater muscle gains in increasing fat-free mass
Should I be using creatine?
Creatine has been the controversial subject of many tests, studies and research. If you're after an effective supplement to assist in extra power/ reps – creatine is it! Just remember, like all supplements, it should be combined with a healthy diet and training. If you’re in doubt about whether creatine is right for you, speak to a certified trainer or fitness professional.