Creatine is one of the most well known supplements in the industry, however, there is a stigma surrounding creatine, suggesting that it’s a supplement for only athletic men. Why? Well, creatine in the past has been associated with bodybuilding; it became the supplement that could guarantee the results of a ‘built’ male. This led to many misconceptions of creatine, ultimately making people believe that it’s a steroid supplement.
Creatine is now widely used by athletes and fitness enthusiasts of all levels and backgrounds. However, it is important to realise that the benefits of creatine apply to all gender and age ranges. Increased muscle strength, improved exercise performance, and enhanced recovery are the results you can expect for everyone.
Creatine is actually one of the most well-researched supplements in the world. Multiple studies have shown a significant improvement in exercise performance by quickly producing energy during intense activity1.
Creatine can be really helpful in converting energy and assisting you to ‘give it all you’ve got’. The research shows that creatine improves high-intensity exercise performance by up to 15%, by improving factors such as strength, ability, muscle endurance, resistance to fatigue, muscle mass, recovery and brain performance2. Additional research highlights how creatine may also provide cognitive benefits1.
Creatine is a compound made up of three amino acids, a tripeptide. It is a naturally occurring tripeptide made up of L-glycine, L-methionine, and L-arginine. Creatine is naturally produced in the liver; it is also present in many foods, including milk, fish, and both red and white meat1. Supplementing creatine for vegetarians is therefore crucial for increasing muscular and neuropsychological performance3. When there is more creatine in your bloodstream, you will have greater energy (ATP) in your muscle cells. The more energy there is in your muscle cells, the better your performance will be and thus less chance of injury.
The overall benefits of supplementing creatine:
- Increased performance when training
- Supports post-exercise recovery
- Decreases the risk of injury and supports injury prevention
- Increases focus and cognition
- Heightened sensory organs
- Muscular endurance & increase growth
- Resistance to fatigue
- Improves the performance of activities of daily living in the elderly3.
Misconceptions of Creatine:
Over the years, creatine has been put into a category that is recognised as a ‘bulking’ aid. Misconceptions of creatine have led many to think it’s a steroid, which is completely false2. Creatine is a chemical formed naturally in the body, supplementing it will only enhance a natural process. Similar to supplementing collagen, aminos and/or protein.
Another misconception about creatine is surrounding weight gain. Ladies, creatine will not make you bulky, fat, masculine, or retain water. These claims on the internet are completely false and have no research to prove accuracy. What research HAS proven:
- Females cannot store or naturally produce creatine at the rate males can, around 70-80% less3. Meaning women naturally have lower levels running through their bodies when compared to males3.
- The menstrual cycle may influence creatine homeostasis due to the cyclical nature of sex hormone regulation; decreasing the natural levels of creatine for women3.
- Creatine supplementation among premenopausal females appears to be significantly effective for improving mobility, exercise performance and strength3.
Creatine is a safe supplement to use daily. However, like most supplements, in moderation. It is recommended to have 3-5 grams daily to guarantee longlong-term noticeable results1. When creatine is taken at high doses, there is the potential for kidney damage and more. If you struggle with kidney, liver or high blood pressure, it is recommended to not supplement creatine1. For safety, make sure you research what’s best for you or check with your primary healthcare provider.
Another benefit of creatine is its accessibility in the market. Being one of the most popular supplements today, it can be found in most health food, nutritional and supplement stores.
It’s time to challenge the stereotypes of creatine; creatine is not only for men & muscles, it is for everyone!
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Disclaimer: The above article is merely a guide and is in no way a recommendation or a treatment protocol for any health conditions or diseases. You should always consult with a qualified healthcare provider before changing your supplement, training or nutritional strategy. Supplementation should not be attempted by pregnant or breastfeeding women, anyone on prescription medication or children under the age of 15 unless advised by your qualified healthcare provider.
1 Mawer, R. (2019) 10 health and performance benefits of Creatine, Healthline. Healthline Media. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-benefits-of-creatine (Accessed: March 14, 2023).
2 Irlbeck, W. (2021) Creatine, not just for men or muscle, Breaking Muscle. Available at: https://breakingmuscle.com/creatine-not-just-for-men-or-muscle/#:~:text=Studies%20are%20demonstrating%20short%20and,build%20muscle%20and%20facilitate%20recovery. (Accessed: March 14, 2023).
3 Smith-Ryan, A.E. et al. (2021) Creatine supplementation in women’s Health: A Lifespan Perspective, Nutrients. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7998865/ (Accessed: 29 May 2023).