The Scoop on Creatine: Everything You Need to Know

athletes benefits bodybuilding senior citizens side of effects of creatine Oct 04, 2022

Creatine is a hot topic in the world of fitness and sports, but it can also help the everyday person as well as the senior population.

Whether you're a professional athlete or a weekend warrior, or someone who wants to improve cognitive abilities, you've probably heard of creatine and may be wondering if it's right for you. In this blog post, I'll give you the scoop on everything you need to know about creatine, including what it is, its benefits and side effects, how it affects athletes, and how it can benefit others.

What Is Creatine?

Creatine is a compound that is naturally produced in the body from amino acids. It is stored in the muscles and used for energy during high-intensity activity. Supplementing with creatine can increase muscle stores of creatine, resulting in improved performance during short bouts of high-intensity activity.

Creatine has been shown to improve muscle mass and strength in the elderly. A study in 2012 showed that creatine supplementation increased muscle mass and improved strength in a group of elderly women. The women who were supplemented with creatine also had a higher quality of life, as measured by physical activity and self-reported fatigue.

In a study of healthy young adults, it was found that those who were supplemented with creatine had improved performance on a cognitive test and increased brain activity during the test. The results of this study suggest that creatine may improve cognitive function in healthy young adults.

Creatine has also been shown to improve exercise performance and increase muscle mass in people who are not athletes. A study in 2006 found that creatine supplementation improved exercise performance and increased muscle mass in a group of sedentary men. The men who were supplemented with creatine also had a slight decrease in body fat.

How Does Creatine Affect You?

Benefits vs. Side Effects

Creatine supplementation has been shown to improve exercise performance and increase muscle mass. However, there are also some potential side effects to be aware of, such as weight gain, bloating, gut distress, and kidney damage. While these side effects are rare and mostly occur at very high doses, it's important to consult with a doctor before starting any supplementation regimen, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition.

How Does Creatine Affect Athletes?

Athletes tend to respond better to creatine supplementation than sedentary individuals because they have more room for improvement. In one study, rugby players who were supplemented with creatine for eight weeks increased their bench press one-repetition max by an average of 15 kg (33 lb) compared to those who did not supplement (1). This highlights the fact that athletes can potentially see greater benefits from creatine supplementation than sedentary people. However, more research is needed to determine the long-term effects of creatine supplementation in athletes.

How Can Creatine Benefit Elderly and Everyday People?

In addition to its well-known effects on muscle mass and exercise performance, creatine has also been shown to improve cognitive function in elderly populations (2). As we age, our brains naturally shrink and lose function. This process can be accelerated in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's disease. Supplementing with creatine has been shown to help offset some of this cognitive decline by preserving brain tissue (3). So far, these effects have only been observed in elderly populations but they suggest that everyday people might also benefit from creatine supplementation.

 

In conclusion, there's a lot to consider when deciding whether or not to take creatine supplements. But ultimately, the decision comes down to your individual goals and needs. If you're looking for an edge in your next competition or want to maximize your gains in the gym, then creatine might be right for you. On the other hand, if you're just looking for general health benefits or are concerned about potential side effects, then creatine might not be worth it. Speak with a doctor or registered dietitian before starting any supplement regimen to ensure that it's safe for you.