Creatine monohydrate, just one of the few creatine supplements available, is the most widely studied and researched. It is found to be a performance enhancer, a muscle builder and nootropic.
Creatine is a molecule that can rapidly produce energy to support cellular function. It is found naturally occurring in humans and other vertebrae as well. In a sport supplement sense, creatine monohydrate accomplishes quite a bit. However, some are reluctant to try it because of the feared “water bloat”. Users should not fear this and understand how creatine works. Creatine draws water into your muscles and retains it. If a user consumes too much creatine, the kidneys will eventually flush it out of your body through urine. In order to keep a balance of creatine in your body, water intake is key. Constantly staying hydrated will keep your muscles fuller longer, while also flushing out excess creatine. The excess creatine could temporarily cause your midsection to seem to “bloated”, however your body will eventually normalize the amounts if you consume adequate water. Let’s move on to the multiple benefits of this supplement.
In a performance enhancing sense, creatine has been found to rapidly replenish ATP in the body. ATP is a form of energy your body uses. We have several different forms of energy currencies within our body. ATP is used for quick, short surges of maximal output (power) into the body. Activities like sprinting, powerlifting, and jiu jitsu primarily utilize ATP levels in the body. Multiple studies show that using creatine monohydrate in accordance with a training regimen will increase strength 8% and power by 13%.
This supplement is also found to be a muscle builder. Taking between 5-15 grams daily has been shown to increase muscular creatine content. This increases the volume of water held in muscles while also increasing the potential of lean body mass. Most studies are confounded with water weight gains, however creatine does possess inherent lean mass building properties.
Lastly, there is a convincing amount of studies that prove creatine is a powerful nootropic. Several studies have shown that taking creatine alleviates many symptoms linked with depression. Cognitive function - long term memory and spatial learning were shown to be improved significantly when either eating creatine rich foods or as a supplement. The results, however favor vegetarians (those who may not be eating creatine rich foods) over omnivores. Additionally, cognitive function is improved in the elderly and possibly in the sleep deprived.
Creatine rich foods: Meats, Poultry, Seafood, Eggs.
Recommended Creatine Monohydrate Supplements:
- Benton D, Donohoe R. The influence of creatine supplementation on the cognitive functioning of vegetarians and omnivores. Br J Nutr. (2011)
- Branch JD. Effect of creatine supplementation on body composition and performance: a meta-analysis. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. (2003)
- Delanghe J, et al. Normal reference values for creatine, creatinine, and carnitine are lower in vegetarians. Clin Chem. (1989)
- Dempsey RL, Mazzone MF, Meurer LN. Does oral creatine supplementation improve strength? A meta-analysis. J Fam Pract. (2002)
- McMorris T, et al. Creatine supplementation and cognitive performance in elderly individuals. Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn. (2007)