Clearing Up Creatine Confusion – The Truth About Creatine Supplementation!

Author: Nicole Adler   Date Posted: 27 July 2016 

Even though creatine is a supplement that is used by many athletes worldwide, there are still myths and untruths surrounding the supplement. In order to understand how this supplement really works, we need to look closer at how it works! To find out how this supplement works, and what benefits it can deliver, please read our information below.

How Does Creatine Create Energy and More Muscle Mass?

Creatine is able to boost our energy levels as well as our muscle mass thank to its component phosphocreatine. When your metabolism kicks in and demands more energy, phosphocreatine will provide a phosphate to a substance called adenosine diphosphate. The extra phosphate will form a bond with adenosine diphosphate and turn the substance into adenosine triphosphate.

Adenosine triphosphate is directly responsible for our body’s energy supply. When the bond between adenosine triphosphate and the extra phosphate is broken up, energy will be released in the body. This energy can then be used to fulfil important cell functions, which include processes such as muscle contraction.

Given the effect of phosphocreatine on our energy supply and the operation of our muscles, we can state that creatine provides us with the building blocks to create more energy. However, adenosine triphosphate can also be created through other processes, including glycolysis and beta oxidation. These processes are a lot slower than the process involving phosphocreatine, which means that phosphocreatine will give you quicker energy during your workouts.

Creatine Supplementation

Is There Scientific Evidence to Support the Workings of Creatine?

Creatine supplements are not only interesting to athletes, because scientists have shown interest in the supplement as well. There have been thousands of studies and research projects on this particular supplement, so there is plenty of scientific evidence to support the claims supplement providers deliver.

One of the best known studies in regard to the supplement was executed over a period of twelve weeks. After the use of the supplement, the supplement group showed 2-5 pounds more muscle mass than the control group. This was a strong indication of the benefits the supplement could provide.

Additional studies have also shown the benefits of the supplement in regard to protein synthesis. When combining a creatine supplement with Whey protein, users experienced improved protein synthesis. The process of protein synthesis is basically the process responsible for muscle growth. During this process, nitrogen from amino acids is divided into structural proteins with the help of RNA and enzymes. The more protein synthesis, the more muscle growth an athlete can experience. This is why the supplement in combination with Whey protein has proven so effective.

Muscle growth is not the only benefit that has been proven through scientific studies, since there is also ample proof that creatine can boost your strength levels. A study executed in 2001 reported on a 40% increase in strength for test subjects consuming the supplement for a period of four weeks. Another study in 2003 supported this claim, stating that strength and lifting performance is 8-14% higher in people using the supplement than people who are not using the supplement.

What Is the Recommended Dose According to Scientists?

Not only the benefits of the supplement have been researched, because scientists have also examined the effect of certain doses of the supplement. However, we do need to mention that there are different versions of the supplement on the market, so you will have to look at your specific product to obtain the recommended dose.

Creatine Supplementation

Are There Any Reported Side-Effects?

Side-effects with the supplement are extremely rare, but do depend on how you use the supplement. For example, athletes who take more than the recommended dose may experience side-effects such as muscle cramps, or in extreme cases kidney problems.

There has been extensive research into these reported side-effects. However, researchers could not find any evidence of these side-effects on the recommended dose. During their studies, researchers did come across some cases of cramping. After some additional testing, researchers found that the cramping was actually caused by an existing state of dehydration. For that reason, it is important to stay hydrated during intensive workouts. If you intend to train in hot weather, ensure that you always have sufficient water on your person to stay hydrated.

Can the Supplement Provide Benefits for Illness?

Scientists and researchers are currently very interested in some additional benefits this substance may provide. After a series of studies, the supplement has been showing great promise for conditions such as Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Huntington’s disease is a neurological disorder. A person suffering from this particular illness will struggle with involuntary movements as well as a reduced mental ability. Huntington’s disease can also change the behaviour of the patient in question. Scientists are currently researching if the supplement could be a part of treatment for patients struggling with this disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the central nervous system and unfortunately quite common in our society. Patients who suffer from Parkinson’s disease often experience impairment of their motor skills, speech and other everyday functions. Researchers believe that some supplements could have a positive impact on the central nervous system and even reverse damage over time.

Alzheimer’s disease is also a common phenomenon in our society and is mainly diagnosed in people aged over 65. Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia and is currently not curable. At the moment, physicians are able to slow the condition down, but not stop it all together. Scientists hope that new technologies and the use of certain supplements can reverse the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is not that widely known. It is a life-threatening neurodegenerative disease, which is caused by the degeneration of motor neurons. Motor neurons are responsible for sending the signals from the muscles to the brain. A lack of these motor neurons can lead to involuntary muscle movement. Considering the positive effect some supplements have on the brain, scientists are curious to see how these supplements could potentially benefit people with conditions such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.


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