Creatine is one of the most popular nutritional supplements, widely used by bodybuilders and athletes alike. Many claim that they feel better after they include it in their diets, and believe it helps them get fit and build muscle.
While some feel these supplements may be controversial, there’s quite a lot of scientific evidence behind taking creatine, especially for exercise. Studies suggest creatine can help boost your performance during workouts, which, in turn, may help you get in shape.
Creatine is a natural substance produced by the body. It’s also found in foods such as red meat and seafood. Creatine also plays an essential role in cell regulation and helps rapidly regenerate adenosine triphosphate (ATP), an organic compound in our bodies that gives cells the energy they need to function.
In humans, most of our body’s creatine (around 95%) is stored in our muscles. As such, it helps give our muscles on-demand energy when needed.
The more creatine stored in our muscles, the more energy we can draw on when exercising. This may explain why taking creatine supplements may translate into better-quality workouts with less fatigue.
But although creatine may aid your workouts and energy available for the working muscles, it will not suddenly make you fitter, especially if you already have naturally high stores of it to begin with.
That said, a wealth of research indicates that taking creatine alongside exercise can benefit your training). In some cases, it can improve the amount of weight you’re able to lift by up to 32% and increase muscle mass by 7.2%, particularly in the upper body, when compared with those who don’t take creatine. More recently, there’s evidence that water uptake into cells as a result of creatine supplementation may trigger genes associated with muscle growth, leading to greater lean muscle gains.