Everything About Creatine: Definition, Mechanism and Benefits

Creatine is a naturally-occurring compound that’s usually found in muscle fibers. The primary role of creatine is to generate energy and mediate muscle contraction.

Today, thousands of professional athletes and gym-goers regularly take creatine supplementation to improve their performance and promote muscle growth.

Creatine takes part in numerous biochemical reactions to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This molecule is the main form of energy used by our cells.

In this article, we will discuss creatine’s mechanism of action and the benefits you can expect from taking its supplements.

How does creatine work?

When you take creatine supplements, your cell’s storage of phosphocreatine (the form of creatine stored in the muscles) increases. As a result, the mitochondria (i.e., the cell’s powerhouse) becomes more efficient at producing ATP.

Clinically, creatine supplements will make you feel more energized, which eventually optimizes your performance. Besides energy production, creatine improves your performance by boosting the capacity of the workload. In other words, you will be able to lift more weights for a longer period of time.

According to studies, creatine also signals the secretion of anabolic hormones (e.g., growth factors, IGF-1) that promote muscle fiber repair and growth.

Finally, creatine slows down the process of proteolysis (i.e., protein degradation) and reduces the concentrations of myostatin*.

*Myostatin: this is a protein that inhibits the biochemical reactions responsible for muscle hypertrophy.

The benefits of creatine

  1. Muscle hypertrophy

    Similar to whey protein, creatine is effective at promoting muscle growth. In fact, your muscles could grow even if you are not performing high-intensity workouts. In one study, participants (older adults) took creatine supplementation for 14 weeks while exercising regularly. A second group did not receive supplements but had an identical workout routine compared to the first group.

    At the end of the study, the group that took creatine supplements noted a huge difference in muscle growth relative to the control group.

  2. Performance optimization

    By optimizing the process of ATP production, creatine improves strength, flexibility, and performance. In a 2003 review, scientists concluded that adding creatine supplements to your workout increases strength by up to 8% and weightlifting performance by 14%.

    These results emphasize the vitality of creatine in the fields of fitness and athletics.

Other benefits

Other benefits of taking creatine supplements include:
  • Improves cognitive function
  • Enhances blood sugar control
  • Decreases fatty deposition in the liver
  • Promotes better life for older people

Before taking creatine supplements, you may want to speak with your primary care physician to make sure that it’s safe.

Takeaway message

Creatine is an excellent compound that provides the body with a myriad of health benefits. The intake of creatine supplements is particularly beneficial for athletes and fitness gurus who want to optimize their performance.

We hope that this article managed to shed some light on creatine’s mechanisms of actions and benefits.

If you still have questions, concerns, or a story that you want to share with us, please don’t hesitate to do so in the comment section below.

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