If you’re a regular at the gym and take sports nutrition supplements, then you’re probably aware of creatine. But do you know what creatine is, and how it works? Maybe you’re new to sports supplements, and you’re keen to find out more. Either way, here’s the lowdown on creatine and how this popular supplement can benefit you.
Creatine boosts athletic performance
If high intensity training is your thing, then creatine could be your best friend. ATP is the energy currency of our cells, in particular, our muscle cells. As ATP molecules are broken down, they produce energy, and during exercise, especially high intensity exercise, we need as much ATP as possible, to power our workout.
The problem is, we only have so much ATP readily available, and the rate at which we re-synthesis it varies. Once we’ve used all available supplies, and before we’ve had a chance to make more, we reach exhaustion, signalling the end of our session and recovery for the next one.
But this is where creatine comes in – creatine has the ability to create more ATP during exercise, thus allowing us to demand more from our bodies and train harder and for longer.
This ability to produce more energy in our cells makes creatine one of the most popular sports supplements on the market. And that’s why I decided to provide a high quality, bona fide, effective creatine supplement in the form of my refreshing, sugar-free creatine mints, Creamint.
Exercise and Creamint
In addition to its energy currency boosting prowess, studies have also shown creatine has the ability to increase muscle size more quickly, too. It works by increasing the volume of water that’s contained within the muscles. Known as cell volumisation, this has the effect of boosted muscle mass and appearance. It does this without negatively impacting the distribution of fluids within the body, too.
Also, creatine has shown in scientific studies, that it can raise levels of insulin-like growth factor 1, or IGF1. IGF1 is a hormone that supports muscle growth, and boosting it can therefore boost muscle mass.
There is also emerging evidence that creatine supplements can benefit muscle mass by lowering levels of a substance called myostatin. Myostatin has the reverse effect on muscle cells, effectively stunting it. So reducing levels of myostatin with creatine can help to increase the rate of muscle growth.
What does the science say?
It’s a win-win for creatine and boosted muscle mass. In fact, creatine is the “most effective nutritional supplement currently available to athletes in terms of increasing high intensity exercise capacity and lean body mass during training” according to respected studies.
These studies also conclude that there are no known side effects to taking creatine supplements in the short and long term.
Other research papers back up these trends, with one finding that over six weeks of taking creatine supplements, training subjects gained on average 2kg more lean muscle mass than those not taking creatine. Another concluded that creatine “significantly increases net lean mass and strength gains”.
Which leads me to conclude, if you’re not taking creatine, you’re really missing out!