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Creatine: A Comprehensive Guide to Its Extensive Benefits


Creatine: A comprehensive guide to health benefits

Creatine has made a significant impact on the health and fitness industry, primarily known for its ability to enhance sports performance and muscle health. But could there be more to this substance than just boosting muscular capabilities?


This blog post will explore the various aspects of creatine, including its benefits, usage, and safety profile, while also highlighting the increasing interest in its broader contributions to health and wellbeing.

What is Creatine?

Creatine is an amino acid derivative produced by the liver, kidneys, and pancreas, and it's stored mainly in muscles, with smaller amounts in the brain. It can also be obtained through dietary sources, primarily meat and fish. In the body, creatine is primarily used to replenish ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the primary energy currency of the cell, particularly during short bursts of intense physical activity. This function allows athletes to sustain longer bouts of strenuous activities like sprinting and weightlifting, directly enhancing athletic performance.

Benefits of Creatine

Enhances Physical Performance

Creatine significantly enhances high-intensity exercise performance, increasing strength, power, and explosive performance by 10-20%, depending on the individual. It also promotes muscle cell expansion by improving water content, which aids in protein synthesis and reduces protein breakdown. This not only leads to strength and muscle mass gains but also decreases recovery times and fatigue, allowing for more effective workouts.


How Creatine Could Support Immune System Health

Beyond its muscle-enhancing capabilities, creatine supports the high energy demands of the immune system cells. It plays a fundamental role in optimising the bioenergetics of immune cells, supporting efficient responses to infection and regulating inflammation.

Creatine's antioxidant properties also protect against oxidative damage and help preserve the integrity of immune cells. It has been shown to moderate inflammatory responses in chronic conditions and may offer therapeutic benefits for those recovering from long-Covid

 

May Benefit Brain Health

Emerging research suggests that creatine could have potential benefits beyond muscle health. It may support cognitive function, particularly in situations of sleep deprivation or mental fatigue. This is thought to be due to the role of creatine in maintaining ATP levels in the brain.

 

The Anti-Ageing Effects of Creatine

One of the lesser-known yet significant roles of creatine is its ability to reduce the accumulation of lipofuscin, commonly known as "the aging pigment." This compound contributes to the aging process through oxidative stress and inflammation. Research involving mice indicates that creatine supplementation can extend lifespan by about 9%, equating to approximately seven additional years in human terms.

How to Use Creatine

Creatine is primarily available as creatine monohydrate powder, recommended at a daily intake of 3-5 grams. Typically, it is mixed into water or smoothies; it may not dissolve completely, but this does not compromise its effectiveness. For improved absorption, taking creatine with meals is beneficial, as the insulin spike from food helps transport it into the muscles more efficiently.

Safety and Side Effects

Creatine is one of the most extensively studied supplements in the fitness and health industry and is generally considered safe for most people. The International Society of Sports Nutrition deems it safe and effective, suggesting it is one of the most beneficial sports supplements available.


Common side effects can include weight gain (from increased muscle mass and water retention), stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhoea if too much is taken at once. It's important to stay well hydrated when taking creatine. .


Conclusion


As we age, the varied benefits of creatine become crucial in enhancing aspects like energy, immune function, inflammatory response, brain health, and cognitive abilities. Considering its significant role, creatine should be evaluated by anyone interested in slowing the aging process, improving energy levels, and combating age-related diseases as one part of their overall health regime.


Always consult a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen, especially to ensure it aligns with your specific health needs and conditions.



 

Rakhi Lad | Registered Nutritional Therapist London

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Hi! I'm Rakhi and I am a registered nutritional therapist and lifestyle medicine practitioner based in Ealing, London.


Rather than plastering over your symptoms, I help you to deal with your health issues by addressing the root causes and supporting you towards improved health from the inside-out.


Feel free to take a look around my website or start your journey towards better wellbeing & vitality by getting in touch for a free consultation.

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