Creatine is is a molecule found in meat, fish and eggs. It provides
energy during activity and can aid brain function. Most athletes use
it during strength training as it has been shown in multiple studies
to increase power output.
In the late 90’s there were polarizing views on the safety and
efficacy of creatine. After over 20 years of research it has been
agreed upon by researches that creatine is extremely safe and
effective. In fact it is given to kids and senior citizens to help
them recover from concussions, brain conditions like dementia or
muscle conditions like ALS. My 10 year old son takes 2g per day when
he is training for football in the summer.
Creatine is most commonly used by trainees during shorter duration
activity like heavy weight training, Weightlifting, Powerlifting or
On the market there are my forms of creatine but plain creatine
monohydrate is the best and is the cheapest. It has a mild metallic
taste and dissolves well in water. Most people do fine with 3-5 grams
per day. If you eat a high meat diet (2 lbs of beef per day), you’d
fall somewhere in that range. Creatine is cheap and can even be found
at Wal Mart.
It doesn’t matter what time of day you take creatine, but for
convenience, you can mix it with a protein shake after your workout.
Personally, I mix 5 grams in a preworkout mix and 5 grams in my
protein shake that I drink right after my workout. If you want maximum
results, you should take it every day or at least 4-5 days per week.
Your body stores creatine and loses about 1.6% of your stored creatine
per day. If you stop taking creatine, however, there has been shown to
be side effects at all and you should be able to maintain strength
gained while taking it.
Initially you may gain a little bit of weight. Creatine helps your
cells hold onto water and has a protective effect on the cell membrane
(which is a good thing). This goes beyond just muscle cells Creatine
has a positive effect on brain health, including improving dizziness,
depression and reducing fatigue during sleep deprivation.
The only population to take caution is those with kidney disease. In
short studies there has been shown to be no negative effects on these
individuals with supplementation but there has been no long term
To wrap up. Creatine is very safe, inexpensive and is well researched.
It has been shown to improve power output during strength training and
sprinting. It can also help the brain recover from traumatic injury.
Norman K, et al. Effects of creatine supplementation on nutritional
status, muscle function and quality of life in patients with
colorectal cancer–a double blind randomised controlled trial. Clin
Intake of 13C-4 creatine enables simultaneous assessment of creatine
and phosphocreatine pools in human skeletal muscle by 13C MR
Wyss M, Kaddurah-Daouk R. Creatine and creatinine metabolism. Physiol
Lyoo IK, et al. A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trial of
Oral Creatine Monohydrate Augmentation for Enhanced Response to a
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor in Women With Major Depressive
Disorder. Am J Psychiatry. (2012)
Sullivan PG, et al. Dietary supplement creatine protects against
traumatic brain injury. Ann Neurol. (2000)
Sakellaris G, et al. Prevention of traumatic headache, dizziness and
fatigue with creatine administration. A pilot study. Acta Paediatr.
Vandenberghe K, et al. Long-term creatine intake is beneficial to
muscle performance during resistance training. J Appl Physiol. (1997)
Dempsey RL, Mazzone MF, Meurer LN. Does oral creatine supplementation
improve strength? A meta-analysis. J Fam Pract. (2002)