To begin, it’s important to note that creatine’s uses extend beyond the scope of professional athletes. Oftentimes, when advised on best practice for consumption, it’s use is promoted for athletes who partake in ‘high intensity’ exercise. This is often imagined as competitive weight training or elite sprinting, but it’s so much more than that. In fact, “fast-twitch” muscle fibres, which can be reinforced through creatine consumption, are used regularly by the recreational cyclist challenging their partner to a sprint up the hill that used to leave them gasping, the twice weekly tennis player wanting to improve their serve in the latter part of a game, and the basketballer spinning on their heel to make another fast break on a Friday evening after work.
Creatine is a naturally occurring compound, made by the kidneys, liver, and pancreas, which can also be consumed through diet in foods like red meat and seafood(1). It plays an important role in enhancing a muscle’s response to high intensity exercise and is produced as a by-product of the breakdown of amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein.
Creatine assists in regenerating muscle energy quickly, allowing you to carry out the activity repeatedly over a short period of time. This allows for increased fuel regeneration which is essential in maintaining muscle power output and contraction. It is vastly useful for females and males, young and old, who want to take their training to the next level.
Several well-controlled studies have also shown clear-cut data for creatine’s strength and lean muscle gains in healthy people.(2) The compound assists the body in promoting healthy muscle fibres which can function more efficiently as a result. For those of us who like to invest in our physical wellbeing, creatine promotes value for muscle.
How should creatine be consumed?
Creatine is a flavourless and versatile powder than can be added to any liquid or used as an ingredient in food. A typical omnivorous diet contains approximately 1 gram per day. In general, additional benefits occur with intakes of 3-5g per day.(3)
The light servings can be added to breakfast cereals or porridge, your lunchtime smoothie, your reusable water bottle at work, or mixed in with your pre/post-workout shake. Creatine should be used as a supplement, not a replacement for other foods, so it is important to maintain a balanced diet whilst using the product for maximum results.
The supplement is therefore highly rated by many athletes and weekend warriors who push their limits for enjoyment, improvement, and a competitive edge. Creatine gives you the opportunity to have more of those days where you can push for your PB (personal best) at the end of your monthly 5km road race or feel the ability to squeeze out an extra rep at the gym before hitting the office.
Does creatine have more than performance benefits?
Furthermore, there is emerging health benefit evidence associated with creatine consumption outside the limits of sport and exercise. Supplementation has been shown to enhance recovery in adolescents with mild traumatic brain injury (concussion)(4), increase bone mineral density in older consumers(5), and offset side effects of sleep deprivation in students, multi-day event athletes, and shift workers(6). Studies have shown numerous health benefits for the general population such as those at risk of a heart attack or stroke, users with neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease, and consumers with musculoskeletal disorders like age-related muscle wastage (sarcopenia).
Why is creatine so misunderstood?
Many consumers are turned off by the initial reactive phase which can lead to gaining water weight in the body. Whilst this causes bloating for some and is a justifiable reason to think this product isn’t what you’re looking for, what many consumers don’t know, is that this will pass and is only an initial response that is closely linked with the “loading phase”. In order to gain fat tissue in the body, one must consume more calories. Creatine has a very low calorific content and its contribution to gaining fat tissue is negligible.
The loading phase might therefore be something that a proportion of users wish to avoid. Creatine stores build up over time and reach their maximum potential between 3 and 4 weeks after starting the 3-5g per day regime. The loading phase is used by athletes who may be under time constraints or who wish to peak for a competition or event coming up soon. This would involve having two 10g or four 5g servings daily. These higher quantities can result in a temporary increase in body weight due to water retention as mentioned. Sticking to the recommended creatine dosage of 3.4g daily will minimise any fluid retention so you can forget about the scales.
A common misconception around dehydration in creatine users is often quoted as reasons for avoidance in both professionals and weekend warriors. Whilst important to maintain sufficient fluid intake for daily living and exercise during creatine use, consumers have actually shown reduced incidence of dehydration, muscle cramping, muscle strain, non-contact injuries, and missed training sessions.(7) We’ve all had that feeling on the morning after a tough training day of being glued to the bed. Creatine monohydrate gives us the opportunity to wake up feeling a hunger to hop back on the bike, pull on running shoes, or grab the gym bag for more. It has also been shown to increase exercise tolerance in hot environments, which is especially useful for training camps abroad, Saturday afternoon sessions in summer, and those days when sun cream is our greatest friend.
So, is creatine safe to consume? 🤔
The simple answer is yes.(3) The only consistently reported side effect of creatine monohydrate in the literature is weight gain as discussed. Short and long-term studies in in both healthy and diseased populations, at dosages ranging from 0.3 to 0.8g/kg/day for up to 5 years have demonstrated that the supplement poses no adverse health risks and may provide many well-being and performance benefits. Just like all sports nutrition products, anecdotal associations and online superstitions are continuously investigated extensively. Following thousands of studies, there is no scientific evidence for creatine monohydrate at the recommended doses causing harm.
Why should I choose Kinetica Creatine?
At Kinetica, we take the necessary steps to ensure consumers can trust the quality of our range. Each and every batch of Kinetica Creatine is made using Creapure® Creatine Monohydrate and is tested to comply to World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) exacting standards under the Informed Sport testing regime to ensure we offer our customers a safe and dependable sports nutrition product. Product safety is always our number one priority.
Kinetica. You know why. We know how.
- Harris R. Creatine in health, medicine and sport: an introduction to a meeting held at Downing College, University of Cambridge, July 2010. Amino Acids. 2011;40(5):1267-70.
- Nissen SL, Sharp RL. Effect of dietary supplements on lean mass and strength gains with resistance exercise: a meta-analysis. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2003;94(2):651-9.
- Kreider RB, Kalman DS, Antonio J, Ziegenfuss TN, Wildman R, Collins R, et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017;14:18.
- Sakellaris G, Nasis G, Kotsiou M, Tamiolaki M, Charissis G, Evangeliou A. Prevention of traumatic headache, dizziness and fatigue with creatine administration. A pilot study. Acta Paediatr. 2008;97(1):31-4.
- Chilibeck PD, Chrusch MJ, Chad KE, Shawn Davison K, Burke DG. Creatine monohydrate and resistance training increase bone mineral content and density in older men. J Nutr Health Aging. 2005;9(5):352-3.
- Dolan E, Gualano B, Rawson ES. Beyond muscle: the effects of creatine supplementation on brain creatine, cognitive processing, and traumatic brain injury. Eur J Sport Sci. 2019;19(1):1-14.
- Greenwood M, Kreider RB, Melton C, Rasmussen C, Lancaster S, Cantler E, et al. Creatine supplementation during college football training does not increase the incidence of cramping or injury. Mol Cell Biochem. 2003;244(1-2):83-8.