— Diet Wiki Selected excerpts from the best websites –
Creatine is the number-one supplement for improving performance in the gym.
You might even know that it can improve your effectiveness in absorbing and utilising carbohydrates – because that’s pretty cool, too. However, does any of this make it an effective dieting supplement?
Well, sort of.
These benefits are performance-based so they’re not really the result of whether you’re gaining or losing weight. After all, being stronger is good for you whether you’re on a cut or adding lean mass. When you’re on a diet, you’re already going to feel weak so creatine boosting strength-endurance and improving recovery is a good place to start.
When you exercise, you use muscle. This helps build muscle mass, and muscle tissue burns more calories — even when you’re at rest — than body fat. According to Wharton, 10 pounds of muscle would burn 50 calories in a day spent at rest, while 10 pounds of fat would burn 20 calories.
Creatine is a naturally occurring substance made from amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Creatine is produced in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas; 95 percent of it is found in muscles, with the rest located in the brain, heart, and testes. Besides occurring naturally, small amounts of creatine are also found in foods, such as red meat and seafood. Synthetic versions are also sold as supplements.
According to the 2017 review article, a large number of studies shows that creatine supplementation leads to greater gains in strength and muscle mass.
Here’s how that happens: Creatine supplementation increases muscle stores of a substance called phosphocreatine (PC), and during very short-duration high-intensity exercise (also known as anaerobic exercise), PC helps to replenish the muscle’s energy supply. The upshot is that the increased amount of creatine in your muscles replenishes energy more rapidly, so you can train at higher intensities and with higher weights without getting tired as quickly—and that can help you build more muscle.
Benefits from creatine have been reported in men and women, although the majority of studies have been conducted on men and some studies suggest that women may not see as much gain in strength and/or muscle mass during training in response to creatine supplementation.
Creatine supplements increase phosphocreatine stores in muscles, which in turn boost the production of new ATP energy molecules. All cells in your body use ATP as a source of energy but creatine will mainly fuel your muscles and increase your performance during short, high-intensity exercise bouts [1, 2].
Creatine supplementation improves strength and performance during high-intensity, short-duration resistance training according to a large review of 22 studies. According to this review, creatine with resistance training increases [7, 8, 9, 10]:
- Muscle strength by 20% (8% greater than placebo)
- Weightlifting performance (maximal repetitions at a given percent of maximal strength) by 26% (14% greater than placebo)
- Bench press weightlifting performance by up to 43%
Strength/resistance training specifically amplifies its muscle-building benefits. In a study of 32 healthy men during 16 weeks of heavy-resistance training, creatine (6 – 24 g/day) increased muscle growth better than taking 20 g/day of proteins .
In a study of 19 men, creatine enhanced free-fat mass, weight-lifting capacity and overall physical performance, and muscle appearance in response to heavy resistance training. The training regime was periodized over 12 weeks and higher creatine doses are given over the first week (25 g/day) followed by a lower maintenance dose (5 g/day) .
While dieting, you’re at risk of deficiency. Your dietary intake of creatine-rich foods (such as red meat) is likely to decline and you’re at risk of dropping below essential levels. The more calories you’re cutting, the more likely you are to be missing optimal creatine intake.
Creatine supplementation has also been shown to be anti-catabolic7, adjusting the nitrogen balance of muscles and reducing the breakdown of muscle tissue for scavenging processes.
It actively increases the stimulation of a host of neuromuscular signalling processes8. If you’re worried about losing muscle on a cut, this is a great way to protect yourself and improve your health.
Supplementation has also been shown to be (theoretically) safer than a dietary or endogenous conversion process. During conversion or production in the body, producing creatine from other sources can result in damaging compounds like Homocysteine and SAMe.11
When producing excess homocysteine or SAMe (more than you can break down with the appropriate enzymes), the risk of heart and nervous system disease increases markedly. Fortunately, it looks like supplementing your creatine orally avoids some of these problems12 since you don’t have to produce it in your body.
- Neuroprotective properties (may help protect the brain).
- Cognitive enhancement, such as improved alertness, concentration and attention.
- May help reduce severity of depression symptoms, according to animal studies and small pilot studies in humans.
- Cardioprotective properties, as it may help protect the heart and blood vessels. It has also been shown to support increased endurance and anaerobic cardiovascular capacity.
- May potentially reduce fatigue.
- Potentially helps improve bone density when combined with resistance training.
Creatine supplementation in the elderly may delay muscle wasting, improve endurance, and increase strength .
Combined with resistance training, creatine increased lean tissue mass, leg strength, endurance, and power in a trial of 30 older men. Higher creatine doses were used over the first 5 days (loading phase) followed by lower maintenance doses .
Beyond athletic performance, clinicians have begun experimenting with creatine to treat various disorders. Creatine has been used to treat a condition called gyrate atrophy, which affects the eye. It’s been used to help people with Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and some types of muscular dystrophy. Creatine is also being tested in the treatment of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and the genetic disorder McArdle’s syndrome.
Creatine supplements are sometimes touted as a treatment for bipolar disorder and depression. Some claim creatine can help rheumatoid arthritis and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
One of the most comprehensive studies measured 52 blood markers and observed no adverse effects following 21 months of supplementing (8Trusted Source).
There is also no evidence that creatine harms the liver and kidneys in healthy people who take normal doses. That said, those with preexisting liver or kidney problems should consult with a doctor before supplementing (8Trusted Source, 51Trusted Source, 52Trusted Source).
Although people associate creatine with dehydration and cramps, research doesn’t support this link. In fact, studies suggest it can reduce cramps and dehydration during endurance exercise in high heat (53Trusted Source, 54Trusted Source).
Creatine is an unproven treatment. There is no established dose. Many different dosages of creatine supplements have been used in studies. For athletic performance, some people start with 10 grams to 20 grams of creatine a day. This is followed by a maintenance dose of 2 grams to 5 grams of creatine a day.